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Caffè Misto vs. Latte: A Comprehensive Comparison

Caffè Misto vs. Latte

Coffee culture is rich and diverse, offering numerous ways to enjoy this beloved beverage. Among the popular choices are the Caffè Misto and Latte. These two drinks, while similar in some aspects, cater to different taste preferences and offer unique drinking experiences. This detailed comparison will help you understand the nuances between Caffè Misto vs. Latte, guiding you to choose your perfect cup.

Caffè Misto vs. Latte

Both Caffè Misto and Latte are coffee-based drinks that include milk, but the way they are prepared and the ingredients they use make a significant difference in their flavor and texture. Let’s explore each drink in detail to know which one is better between Caffè Misto vs. Latte.

What is a Caffè Misto?

A Caffè Misto, also known as Café au Lait, is a simple yet delightful coffee drink that combines equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk. This drink is popular for its straightforward preparation and the robust coffee flavor it delivers, balanced by the smoothness of milk.

Ingredients and Preparation:

  • Coffee: Typically brewed using methods like drip coffee, French press, or pour-over.
  • Milk: Steamed milk is added in equal proportion to the brewed coffee.

What is a Latte?

A Latte, or Caffè Latte, is an Italian coffee drink that has gained immense popularity worldwide. It consists of a shot of espresso mixed with steamed milk and topped with a small amount of milk foam. The higher milk content in a Latte gives it a creamier texture and a more mellow coffee flavor.

Ingredients and Preparation:

  • Espresso: Made using an espresso machine, which forces hot water through finely-ground coffee beans.
  • Milk: Steamed milk with a small layer of foam on top.

Caffè Misto vs. Latte – Key Differences

Coffee Base

  • Caffè Misto: Uses brewed coffee, which can be made with various methods such as drip brewing or French press.
  • Latte: Uses espresso, brewed by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure.

Milk Ratio

  • Caffè Misto: Has a 1:1 ratio of coffee to steamed milk.
  • Latte: Typically has a 1:2 ratio of espresso to steamed milk, with a thin layer of milk foam.

Flavor and Texture

  • Caffè Misto: Offers a stronger coffee flavor with a smoother texture, depending on the coffee roast used.
  • Latte: Provides a creamier texture and a milder coffee taste due to the higher milk content and milk foam.

Caffè Misto vs. Latte – Caffeine Content

  • Caffè Misto: Generally contains more caffeine because brewed coffee usually has more caffeine than a single shot of espresso.
  • Latte: Contains less caffeine per serving compared to Caffè Misto.

Customization Options

Both Caffè Misto and Latte can be customized to suit individual preferences. Here are some common modifications:

For Caffè Misto:

  • Flavored Syrups: Add vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut syrup for an extra flavor boost.
  • Milk Alternatives: Use almond, soy, or oat milk for a dairy-free option.
  • Temperature: Enjoy it hot with steamed milk or cold with chilled milk.

For Latte:

  • Flavored Variants: Try popular flavored lattes like caramel, vanilla, pumpkin spice, or mocha.
  • Non-Dairy Milk: Substitute cow’s milk with almond, soy, or oat milk. Note that the texture of the foam may vary with different milk types.
  • Iced Latte: Pour the espresso over ice, add flavored syrup if desired, and top with cold milk.

Comparison Table: Caffè Misto vs. Latte

Feature Caffè MistoLatte       
Coffee BaseBrewed CoffeeEspresso
Milk Ratio1:1 (coffee to steamed milk)1:2 (espresso to steamed milk)
Foam Not typically usedThin layer of milk foam
Flavor Strong coffee flavorCreamier and milder
Caffeine ContentGenerally higherGenerally lower
CustomizationFlavored syrups, milk alternativesFlavored syrups, milk alternatives, iced

Popular Coffee Shops’ Versions

At Starbucks, for instance, a Caffè Misto is made with equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk, providing a straightforward and strong coffee experience. A Latte at Starbucks includes one or two shots of espresso, a significant amount of steamed milk, and a light layer of foam on top, offering a creamy and smooth texture.

Health and Nutritional Aspects : Caffè Misto vs. Latte

The nutritional content of these drinks can vary significantly based on the ingredients and proportions used.

Calories and Fat

  • Caffè Misto: Generally lower in calories compared to a Latte, as it contains a higher proportion of brewed coffee to milk. The calorie content can vary based on the type of milk used. For example, using whole milk will increase the calorie and fat content, while opting for skim or plant-based milk can reduce it.
  • Latte: Typically higher in calories due to the larger amount of milk. Whole milk adds more calories and fat, whereas skim or non-dairy alternatives can make it a lighter option.


  • Caffè Misto: Contains more caffeine due to the brewed coffee base. An 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine.
  • Latte: Contains less caffeine as it uses espresso. A single shot of espresso has about 63 mg of caffeine.

Sugar Content

The sugar content in both drinks depends on whether any additional sweeteners or flavored syrups are added. Plain versions of both drinks without added sugar or flavorings will have similar natural sugar content from the milk.

Variations and Customizations

Both drinks offer a range of customizations to suit various tastes and dietary needs.

For Caffè Misto:

  • Different Roasts: Experiment with different coffee roasts to find the perfect flavor balance. Dark roasts will provide a bolder flavor, while lighter roasts offer a more subtle taste.
  • Milk Types: Try different types of milk, including non-dairy options like almond, soy, oat, and coconut milk.
  • Sweeteners and Flavors: Add flavored syrups or natural sweeteners like honey or agave nectar to enhance the taste.

For Latte:

  • Flavored Syrups: Popular options include vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, and seasonal favorites like pumpkin spice.
  • Milk Alternatives: Non-dairy milk options are widely available and can change the texture and flavor profile of the drink.
  • Iced Variants: Iced lattes are a refreshing option, especially during warmer months. Simply pour the espresso over ice and add cold milk.

Brewing Methods at Home : Caffè Misto vs. Latte

Making these drinks at home can be both fun and cost-effective. Here’s how you can prepare each one:

Caffè Misto:

  1. Brew Coffee: Use your preferred brewing method to make a strong cup of coffee.
  2. Steam Milk: Heat milk in a saucepan or use a milk frother to steam it.
  3. Combine: Pour equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk into a cup.


How to Make latte at Home

  1. Brew Espresso: Use an espresso machine to brew a shot of espresso.
  2. Steam Milk: Steam milk using a milk frother or steam wand until you have a creamy consistency with a small amount of foam.
  3. Combine: Pour the steamed milk into the espresso, holding back the foam with a spoon. Finally, spoon the foam on top.

Specialty Equipment

To make a perfect Latte or Caffè Misto at home, consider investing in some essential coffee equipment:

  1. Espresso Machine: A good-quality espresso machine is crucial for making a Latte. Look for one with a built-in steam wand.
  2. Milk Frother: For frothing milk, a standalone milk frother can be very useful.
  3. Coffee Maker: A reliable coffee maker is necessary for brewing the coffee base for a Caffè Misto.
  4. Grinder: Freshly ground coffee beans make a significant difference in flavor, so a quality coffee grinder is a worthwhile investment.


Choosing between a Caffè Misto vs. Latte ultimately comes down to your personal preference for coffee strength and texture. If you enjoy a stronger coffee flavor with the smoothness of steamed milk, a Caffè Misto might be your go-to. However, if you prefer a creamier, less intense coffee experience with the option for intricate milk foam designs, a Latte is likely the better choice.

Both drinks can be tailored to your taste with various milk types, syrups, and preparation methods, ensuring you can enjoy your coffee just the way you like it.


1. Is a Misto stronger than a Latte?

The strength of a coffee drink depends on the coffee-to-milk ratio. In the case of a Caffè Misto, it’s typically milder than a Latte. A Misto has equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk, resulting in a balanced flavor. On the other hand, a Latte has more milk, making it creamier but less intense in terms of coffee flavor.

2. Is Caffè Misto sweet?

Not inherently. A Caffè Misto is more about the harmonious blend of coffee and milk. If you prefer sweetness, you can add sugar or a flavored syrup. But by default, it’s not as sweet as some other coffee drinks.

3. Is Caffè Misto similar to a Flat White?

While both drinks involve coffee and milk, they differ in preparation. A Flat White is made with espresso shots and microfoam (steamed milk with fine bubbles), resulting in a velvety texture. A Caffè Misto, as mentioned earlier, combines brewed coffee with steamed milk. So, they’re not quite the same, but they share the comforting warmth of milk and coffee.

4. How much caffeine is in Starbucks Caffè Misto?

The caffeine content varies based on the size and coffee-to-milk ratio. Generally, a Tall (12 oz) Caffè Misto contains about 75 mg of caffeine, a Grande (16 oz) has around 150 mg, and a Venti (20 oz) has approximately 225 mg. Remember, these values are approximate and can vary based on the coffee shop and specific coffee blend used.

5. Can I customize my Caffè Misto with flavored syrups?

Absolutely! Feel free to add vanilla, caramel, or any other syrup to your Caffè Misto for a personalized touch. It’s your coffee canvas—paint it with flavor!


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