What Is a Caffe Misto?

While we as coffee lovers prefer to order the drinks that we are familiar with most of the time, it’s possible to grow tired of ordering the same drink over and over, day after day. While going for a drink that we haven’t tried before sounds enticing, having absolutely no idea about how the drink will turn out usually causes us to shy away.

If you are someone who frequently visits Starbucks, you most likely have plenty of drinks in mind that you haven’t tried so far. We feel like Caffe Misto is a drink that is on a lot of people’s lists as it’s relatively unknown despite being on the Starbucks menu for quite some time now.

So, what is a Caffe Misto?

Caffe Misto, also known as cafe au lait, is a warm coffee drink prepared by combining equal parts of brewed coffee and hot milk. While cafe au lait is a quite popular coffee drink, the name Caffe Misto may not ring a bell for many coffee lovers due to it being a Starbucks-specific name.

How Does Caffe Misto Taste?

So, what sort of flavor should you be expecting from your cup of Caffe Misto?

As a cup of Caffe Misto contains equal parts of coffee and milk, you should expect a flavor profile where the flavor of coffee mostly dominates the drink, with milk slightly cutting the acidity of the coffee. Due to coffee being the dominant taste in a cup of Caffe Misto, you can adjust the flavor by choosing different roasts and find out what you like the most.

In terms of mouthfeel, a Caffe Misto is quite smooth and slightly creamy due to the addition of milk. Since the milk that is used in Caffe Misto is steamed, it has the texture you would associate with drinks such as a latte or a cappuccino which also contains steamed milk.

Bottom line, we feel like Caffe Misto is a drink that can be enjoyed by both black coffee lovers and those who enjoy milk in their cup of coffee. While the coffee-heavy flavor of this drink will certainly please black coffee lovers, those who love the texture that milk brings to a cup of coffee won’t be disappointed either.

What is the Difference Between Caffe Misto and Latte?

Even though a Caffe Misto and a Latte may look similar at first, there are quite a few differences between these two drinks.

While a Caffe Misto is made by combining equal parts of brewed coffee and steamed milk, a latte consists of a shot of espresso, a lot of steamed milk, and a thin layer of milk froth.

The most obvious difference between these two drinks is the type of coffee used. Even though a Caffe Misto looks similar to a lot of espresso-based drinks, it’s actually prepared with drip coffee, whereas the recipe for a latte calls for an espresso shot.

In a latte, you will often find the milk-to-coffee ratio to be around 3 to 1, whereas, in the case of Caffe Misto, this ratio is 1 to 1. While espresso is indeed stronger than drip coffee, the fact that a cup of Caffe Misto contains a lot more coffee than a latte makes up for the difference in coffee strength.

While a latte contains a thin layer of milk foam on top, a Caffe Misto is purely made with steamed milk and no milk foam.


In terms of flavor, we feel like a Caffe Misto is more suitable for those who enjoy black coffee as it fully provides the flavor of coffee with a smooth texture. On the other hand, the high amount of milk contained in a latte suppresses the taste of coffee quite a bit, making it a great drink for those who would like to enjoy a creamy cup without tasting the bitterness of coffee.

With that, let’s get down to comparing the Starbucks versions of these two drinks to see where they stand in terms of calories and caffeine content.

Calories & Caffeine Content

Assuming that you order the default version of both of these drinks in grande size with 2% milk, you’ll find that a Caffe Misto has only 110 calories, whereas a latte contains 190 calories. As expected, a cup of latte containing more milk gives it a few extra calories despite not containing any flavored syrups.

You’ll be surprised to hear that both of these drinks actually contain exactly the same amount of caffeine even though the type and the amount of coffee they contain are completely different from each other. Whether you order a Caffe Misto or a latte, you will be intaking 150 milligrams of caffeine at the end of the day.

What Is the Difference Between Caffe Misto and Cafe au Lait?

Even though we have been using Caffe Misto and cafe au lait interchangeably due to both of these drinks essentially being the same, it’s possible to find a slight difference between the two depending on where you order your cafe au lait.

As Caffe Misto is a Starbucks-specific drink, it’s always prepared the same way with equal parts of drip coffee and steamed milk.

On the other hand, as cafe au lait is something you can find in almost every coffee shop, it’s possible to see a difference in the way it’s prepared now and then. As the original cafe au lait contains regular hot milk that isn’t steamed, you’ll find that while certain coffee shops serve it steamed milk as Starbucks does, some coffee shops opt to go for milk that is not steamed.

Besides this slight difference, there isn’t anything to separate these two drinks.

How to Make Caffe Misto at Home?

Time to get down to how you can make your own Caffe Misto at home. 

  1. Start by brewing a cup of coffee. You can use your favorite coffee brewing method as long as it’s not espresso, with any type of coffee beans you wish to.
  2. Pour an amount of milk that is equal to the amount of coffee you’re brewing into a container, and start steaming it. If you don’t have access to a steamer, you can also just warm it up on the stovetop, which is what the original cafe au lait recipe calls for, anyway.
  3. Simply pour the milk on top of your cup of coffee, ensuring that the amount of coffee and the amount of milk is equal.
  4. Enjoy!

While the recipe calls for equal parts of milk and coffee, you can feel free to adjust these ratios slightly to cater to your preferences. 

Adding Flavor to Your Caffe Misto

While adding flavored syrups is quite common for espresso-based drinks, it’s not something that is preferred often in the realm of black coffee.

While Caffe Misto definitely has its similarities to a cup of black coffee, it shouldn’t be stopping you from enhancing the flavor of your cup with flavored syrups if you’re looking for an extra bit of sweetness.

We feel like toffee nut syrup works brilliantly with a Caffe Misto, so if you aren’t sure about the flavor you would like to add, we can highly recommend it. As you will also be able to find this syrup at Starbucks, you can try it out first before buying a bottle for yourself.


With that, you have just learned everything there is to know about Caffe Misto, meaning that nothing is stopping you from ordering it, or even making it at home, if you feel like you would enjoy such a drink.

That being said, you most likely heard of cafe au lait before, which probably made you wonder why Starbucks decided to change the name of a drink that already exists. Truth be told, we don’t know either.

Have a great day, and enjoy your coffee!