At my shop (Java, Louisville KY) we have a couple of regulars whose drink is a cafe au lait with espresso added. I'm curious to see if there's a name for this drink, or even a precedent for making it,
We've experimented with a few different recipes behind the bar, mainly in the use of coffee and espresso versus espresso and water, withthe former being a standard au lait with two shots, the latter being 2oz espresso, 8oz hot water, and 6oz steamed milk. I'm thinking about making this a featured drink, but i'd like to hear from the community first.

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I'm not French, nor have I been to France, but my understanding of an "authentic" au lait is that it is made with double-strength coffee (likely from a press). Looking at it that way, your regulars are getting something that is closer to the real deal than the watered-down version you'd usually find here in the US.

I think your espresso-based version also sounds promising, though at that size with a double you're probably not going to get the strength you're looking for. I'd go smaller with the double - what about a 10-12 oz total volume drink where you add your double espresso to 4oz hot water and top with 4 oz steamed milk?

Give it a shot and let us know.

The Americ-au-lait, a time-honored tradition! 


Brady, that's also always been my understanding; coffee brewed double-strength, with about as much steamed milk added. It's a lovely drink for sure. I believe most cafes around here will do a ratio closer to 60% coffee, 40% milk, to compensate for regularly brewed drip. I am interested in trying a cup half-filled with coffee, a double espresso added, with steamed milk on top. That might come closer to the original brew, right?

We do a double strength 50/50 au-lait.  Not a fan of the espresso with drip personally. I'd offer them a shot with an au-lait back. Nothing like good espresso.

Yeah, red-eye only works if your espresso plays well with the coffee you add the shot too. Americano > red-eye.

I'd call the latter a "mezzo", as would many customers around here who'd order it, and most baristas who would make it. Though it tends to add up to 12oz total (as that is our largest hot drink), not 16.

Hmmm, that's a new one to me. Any idea what the origins are?

Evan Joseph-Pinero said:

I'd call the latter a "mezzo", as would many customers around here who'd order it, and most baristas who would make it. Though it tends to add up to 12oz total (as that is our largest hot drink), not 16.

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