Content Summary

For some of us, the thought of starting the day without a warm cup of coffee is unbearable. It's like trying to run a marathon without shoes. We all have our ways of drinking coffee, but if you're feeling adventurous and want to try something new, then this coffee drink is for you.

We're walking through cafe con leche. This drink is now loved by many people all around the world. Grab your apron, and let's get started!

What Is Cafe Con Leche?

Cafe con leche is a popular coffee drink in Spain and Latin America such as Cuba, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. It's made with strong-brewed espresso, steamed milk, sugar, and can come both hot or cold. This coffee is often served in the morning, as a way to start the day.

The Differences

1. A Cafe Con Leche vs A Cafecito

A cafecito and a cafe con leche might sound similar, but they have some distinct differences.

A cafe con leche is made with equal parts of espresso and steamed milk.

A cafecito, also known as a Cuban espresso, is a strong and sweet espresso-style coffee. It is typically served small (hence the name) and is made with finely ground dark roast coffee beans, sugar syrup, and steamed milk.

A cafecito contains no milk at all. The lack of dairy gives it a stronger flavor profile than its counterpart. Since there is no milk, the cafecito has little sweetness, and a much thinner consistency than the cafe con leche.

2. A Cafe Con Leche vs An Espresso

Cafe con leche is made with espresso, while a traditional espresso shot is made without any milk. A cafe con leche has a light to medium-bodied flavor and twice the amount of coffee compared to an espresso shot. This means it will give you twice the caffeine boost!

The difference between these two coffee drinks lies in their creamy, milky texture and taste. The espresso shot will have a more intense flavor due to its lack of milk, while the cafe con leche has a milder and slightly sweeter taste profile.

3. A Cafe Con Leche vs A Latte

A latte is made with espresso, steamed milk and foam on top. Cafe con leche is similar to a latte as it contains both espresso and steamed milk; however, this coffee drink does not have the thick layer of foam and milk as a latte.

Cafe con leche has a stronger flavor due to the higher ratio of coffee to milk compared to what you'd find in a latte.

4. A Cafe Con Leche vs Cafe Au Lait

They are different in brewing methods, as cafe au lait is brewed in a French press or drip machine, while cafe con leche is brewed in a stovetop espresso maker or an espresso machine.

Cafe au lait is a French coffee drink that combines brewed, full-bodied dark-roast coffee with an equal part of steamed milk.

The flavor difference lies in the milk's creaminess. Cafe con leche is richer and creamier due to its use of steamed milk, while cafe au lait contains more foam and has a lighter flavor.

How To Make Cafe Con Leche

To make the perfect cafe con leche, you'll need a few essential tools: a stovetop espresso maker or an electric espresso machine, and a whisk (or a steam wand).


  • 1 tablespoon of fresh dark-roasted espresso coffee ground
  • 2/3 cup of milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of sugar


  1. To make an authentic cafe con leche, you'll need to use equal parts (1:1 ratio) espresso and milk.
  2. Start by brewing your espresso in your preferred method (by a stovetop espresso maker or by an espresso machine).
  3. Heat the milk in a separate saucepan, add sugar. Heat it slowly to avoid scorching the milk.
  4. Once it's warm but not boiling, use a frother or whisk to create a creamy foam on top of the milk.
  5. Now comes the most crucial part of making a cafe con leche- the art of mixing!
  6. Grab your favorite cup (or tall glass) and pour the espresso into it.
  7. Slowly pour the milk into it, making sure to leave some foam behind.
  8. The foam will give your drink a creamy texture, so don't skip this step.
  9. Keep pouring until the coffee and milk are mixed evenly.

Tips & Tricks

  • You can add a sprinkle of cinnamon or cocoa powder on top of the foam for a hint of sweetness. You can also try adding vanilla extract or caramel to your milk to give it a unique flavor.
  • Brew with a strong coffee ground: As cafe con leche is a combination of coffee and milk, make sure to brew a strong coffee so that its flavor stands out.
  • Don't boil the milk: Make sure to heat the milk on low-medium heat. It should be steamed, not boiled. Otherwise, it will get burnt, ruining the taste of the coffee.
  • Use the right milk: Use whole milk or skim milk to make cafe con leche. Other kinds of milk won't work correctly.
  • Use flavored syrups instead of sugar to add some unique flavor to your drink.
  • Add some Irish cream or your favorite liqueur to your drink for an added kick.
Spanish Cafe Con Leche Recipe | Roasty Coffee

Overall, cafe con leche is a delicious and strong coffee drink that can be enjoyed any time of day. It makes for an excellent addition to your morning routine pick-me-up.

Need a stovetop espresso maker? Check out our picks of best Cuban coffee makers and find your gadget!

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With just the right amount of espresso and milk, plus some sugar or syrup, you’ll have a cup of steaming hot goodness in no time at all! Make yourself a cafe con leche today and enjoy its robust flavor.

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