French Coffee Drinks - The Most Popular Coffee In France

French Coffee Drinks – The Most Popular Coffee In France!

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 22:25

If you want to know about French coffee drinks or simply what the names of coffee drinks are on a menu in a coffee shop in France this is the article for you.

In this article I list the most popular coffee drinks that you will see in French coffee culture and what it is and a lovely stand-out drink that you really ought to order when you are in the European nation that is known for its style, cuisine and culinary skills.

(It’s a café gourmand!)

Keep reading to find out about French coffee beverages! 

French Coffee DrinksFrench Coffee Culture

Getting to the heart of French coffee culture and its history. Coffee culture in France dates back centuries when the café in Paris would be a gathering place for gentlemen to discuss news, business, gossip and later a place where revolutionists would discuss politics.

It was during the restoration period that brought around the relaxed coffee drinking experience that we see on the streets of France today.

Let’s talk about the most popular French coffee drinks in French coffee culture that you will see today.

  • Café: When you request “un café” anywhere in France you will be served a shot of espresso. It’s the most popular coffee drink in France.
  • Café Americain: This is a shot of espresso with hot water added, we all know this espresso coffee drink with a slightly different spelling and pronunciation. It is indeed a caffe Americano. 
  • Café Noisette: This type of coffee is one that you will know as the popular Italian coffee drink, a macchiato. Noisette is French for hazelnut, and when made correctly in the French way, the color of this drink is close to that of a hazelnut
  • Café Crème: This type of coffee drink in France is similar to a latte, but made with cream, and in a certain sense it is also similar to a cappuccino. It’s an espresso based drink made with shot of espresso and 2 parts cream. 
  • Café Au Lait: While the direct translation is coffee with milk, this is exactly what it is: brewed coffee with milk. The brewed coffee is often drip coffee, French press coffee or moka pot coffee. Often referred to as a latte, it is closer to a misto than a latte. This coffee drink is often very milky with 2 parts and even 3 parts milk to 1 part brewed coffee.
  • Un Deca: This is a very common abbreviation, so common it has literally made its way into the French language as word in its own right. Un deca is a cool way of keeping your caffeine intake to a minimum. It’s a decaffeinated coffee.
  • Café Viennois: This is what I like to describe as a decadent latte. It’s made with an espresso shot, whipped cream and chocolate powder. It’s closer to a Viennese cappuccino than a latte.
  • Café Filtré: These two words should tell you exactly what this drink is: It’s filter coffee, drip coffee. The French and Continental Europeans are not really into filter coffee at all. You’ll find this in lower end coffee shops in small towns in France, restaurants and expat homes.
  • Café Serré: This is a unique coffee drink that you will only find in a French café. A café serré is strong and bitter and not quite a ristretto, it’s a shot of espresso made with half the water as an espresso. A ristretto is made with 2/3 of the water. A short 15 ml (1/2 Oz) shot of espresso.
  • Café Gourmand: If you are ever in France, even for a short holiday, or a weekend away, order a café gourmand. You will get a cup of coffee with a little dessert to go with it. The dessert or desserts vary from coffee shop to coffee shop.
  • Café Renversé: This is more of Swiss drink than a French coffee drink. Some coffee lovers confuse a café renversé as a café au lait. This is not true. As it, a café renversé, has more milk and is notably a shade lighter than a café noisette.
  • Café Liégeois: A café liégeois is much more of a cold dessert than it is a coffee drink. It’s a lightly sweetened coffee, delicious coffee-flavored ice cream and a little Chantilly cream.
  • Café Glacé: Iced coffee, iced coffee in France is the same as you would expect anywhere else.
French Coffee Drinks
French Coffee Drink Cafe Au Lait

Read: Cafe noisette

French Coffee With Milk

In France, one of the epicenters for stylish and classic European cultures drink served with a strong hot coffee and steamed milk, either in equal parts or, as I have experienced in many homes over the years, 2 parts milk and 1 part coffee is affectionately called a café au lait.

All over Europe there are variations, in Spain, café con leche, in Germany, Milchkaffee. It’s not quite a latte, but pretty close, and is very easy to make at home.

All you need is two key ingredients: strong hot black coffee and steamed milk. The strong black coffee is not an espresso.

Brew a strong coffee using the French press method, drip coffee or a moka pot, steam some milk and viola you have a café au lait.

Simply gather the ingredients together and brew a hot coffee, using your Moka pot, the referred method for a good strong coffee is to fill the water chamber to the max fill line with water that is pre-heated to 70C (158F) and fill the coffee chamber with fine coffee grounds.

While your coffee is brewing, heat your milk.

When both are ready, pour your coffee into a wide brimmed mug, and transfer your milk to your French press. Fill your French press to no more than 1/3 full. Pump your French press to create frothy milk.

Pour your liquid milk into your brewed coffee and top with the foam you have created. You may need to spoon it on to your drink.

French Coffee With Alcohol

Coffee cocktails are pretty much the norm in Europe, from France, to Spain, Italy and beyond. A classic French coffee with alcohol, is the French connection, also known as Café Amore.

  • Café Amore (French Connection): 1 Oz (30 ml) cognac, 1 Oz (30 ml) Amaretto and 2 Oz (60 ml) freshly brewed coffee. Whipped almonds and shaved amaretto.
  • French Coffee With Alcohol: 5 Oz (150 ml) Hot brewed black coffee, 1/2 Oz (15 ml) Kahlua coffee liqueur, 1 Oz (30 ml) Cointreau, Whipped cream, sugar.
French Coffee Culture
French Coffee Culture May Include Coffee Cocktails

Read: French coffee

French Coffee Brands

France is well known for their culinary expertise and great cuisine, It should be no surprise that this extends to coffee as it was the French that introduced coffee to Vietnam and other parts of their colonial empire as a cash crop.

They even have their own brewing method, the French press.

Let’s get listing the Top 10 French coffee brands:

  • 1. Caret Noire.
  • 2. Enjoué
  • 3. Leroux.
  • 4. Jacques Vabre.
  • 5. Albert.
  • 6. Legal Le Gout.
  • 7. Folliet.
  • 8. Cafés Charles Danican.
  • 9. Chapuis.
  • 10. Café Legal.

Frequently Asked Questions About French Coffee Drinks

 In France, they are not like the British, Americans or Australians and are not really into adding syrups or whipped cream or any of the Starbucks style of coffee drinks. Heck, whipped cream is frowned upon in the most stylish of all cities, Paris. They enjoy coffee. that is espresso, or an espresso with some hot water added, what we would call caffè Americano, but they have another name for it.

In the morning, the French love a café au lait. Although we would translate this to a latte, it is not the same as a latte. It’s a large coffee with milk served in a large bowl. These large bowls of coffee are an at home kind of coffee drink.

In France a café latte (with one “f”) originates from caffé latte and is what you expect it to be, a shot of well-brewed espresso with twice as much steamed milk as there is espresso. The French language equivalent is grande crème, although in modern coffee shops and with younger staff simply asking for a latte is well understood.

Do The French Put Milk In Their Coffee?


naturally it varies from person to person, but generally speaking French people love a milky coffee for breakfast. The coffee breakfast, a caffé au lait is different from a latte. It is more milky, made at home and contains neither a shot of espresso nor steamed milk.

Often the strong black coffee is brewed using a French press or a moka pot. Depending on the personal preference, the milk may or may not be heated.

What Is A Macchiato Called In France?

The classic Italian macchiato, a shot of espresso with a dollop of steamed milk or cream in France, is called a café noisette.

Café Americano, literally translated to American coffee, an espresso shot with hot water added, in French is a café allongé. You will see it on many menus as café Americain

Final Thoughts – French Coffee Drinks

Know you know about French coffee drinks you will have no trouble blending in (pun intended!) and ordering the drink that you want and most of all understanding the French coffee menu and how the French love their coffee. 

Join our active, fun, fab and highly informative coffee community on Facebook/Meta and share your French coffee experience and tips!

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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