How To Make Cafe Con Leche Like A Pro Barista

How To Make Cafe Con Leche Like A Pro Barista

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 17:41

Learning how to make cafe con leche in the authentic way in which a Spaniard or Latino would is easy as this classic Spanish coffee beverage is very easy to make.

Unfortunately it is often mistaken as a latte or called a Spanish latte, neither of these are true. A latte is made with a different type of milk and in different ratios.

Keep reading and get a really great recipe for making cafe con leche.

How To Make Cafe Con Leche – What Is A Cafe Con Leche?

The translation of cafe con leche is simple, coffee with milk. It’s a popular drink with the origins in Spain and is popular all over central and south America.

In Latin America there are variations of how the drink is made. In Cuba and Puerto Rica it is made with strong coffee, scalded whole milk and sugar and is often made with Cuban coffee and Puerto Rican coffee respectively.

A lighter cafe con leche has more milk and is called a cafe con leche clarito. A darker cafe con leche has less milk and is called a cafe con leche oscurito.

How To Make Cafe Con Leche
A Cafe Con Leche

Read: Cafe con leche recipe

Equipment Needed To Make A Cafe Con Leche

To make a cafe con leche you need an espresso maker. If you don’t have an espresso machine, use a moka pot, Aeropress or your French press.

With a moka pot espresso maker, preheat your water to 70C (158F) and add it to the water chamber. This will help you to brew better moka pot coffee. At Latte Love Brew we encourage you to get an espresso machine as they make much better and more authentic coffee shop style coffee at home.

How To Make Your Cafe Con Leche

This is one of the easiest coffee beverages to make. There is nothing at all complicated in making it.

Step 1: Make Your Espresso

If you are using an espresso machine, simply pull a shot of espresso. With a moka pot use a stronger coffee to water ratio than you normally would. 1:10 is a good starting point, as it 1:8.

For 60 ml (2 Oz) of coffee, use 6 grams of coffee, a 1:10 ratio. With a 1:8 ratio, use 7.5 grams of coffee. This is the same ratio to use for a French press.

Step 2: Make Your Scalded Milk

If you have an espresso machine, don’t go into your automatic mode and make steamed milk or frothed milk the way that you normally would. Simply put your milk in your milk jug and steam it to a point in which it is boiling.

If you don’t have a steaming wand, heat your milk in a saucepan until it is almost boiling.

Step 3: Pour Your Scalded Milk Into Your Coffee

Pour your scalded milk in an equal amount as you have coffee. Serve and enjoy.

Cafe Con Leche Recipe Variations

A Cuban and Puerto Rican cafe con leche a teaspoon or two of sugar is added to the coffee and mixed well before the scalded milk is added.

In Spain, long life UHT milk is used with fresh milk being very rare and almost never used to make the coffee drink.

Optional and you love cinnamon in your coffee, you can add a dusting of ground cinnamon to your finished beverage. You can also add ¾ of a teaspoon of cinnamon or a quarter of a teaspoon of ground nutmeg to your coffee grounds before you start brewing.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Make Café Con Leche

What Does Café Con Leche Consist Of?

A café con leche consists of a shot of espresso, and whole UHT dairy milk. Make the espresso shot as you normally would. The milk is scalded and not steamed or simply heated. Scalding is simply heating your milk to the boiling point using your steaming wand.

A café con leche translates to coffee with milk, which is an over simplification of what the drink is. It’s a coffee drink with an espresso base or a very strong coffee and an equal amount of scalded milk.

It’s often called a Spanish latte, which is not exactly accurate as a latte has twice as much milk as coffee and uses steamed milk. It, a latte, also has a fine cap of microfoam.

The closest drink that you can get to a café con leche at Starbucks is a latte. You can get a double cafe con leche by ordering a latte and a shot of espresso and then adding the extra shot of espresso to your latte by yourself. This way you’ll have the coffee and espresso shots in equal ratios.

You end up with a cafe con leche that is made with two shots of espresso instead of one.

No, a macchiato is a shot of espresso with a dash of hot milk added. Typically, only a teaspoon of hot milk is added. A café con leche is an espresso with an equal amount of scalded milk.

Does Café Con Leche Have More Caffeine?

Yes, a 6 oz (180 ml) cup has a total of 154 mg of caffeine, and a short 8 ounce (240 ml) caffe latte at Starbucks has 75 mg of caffeine.

What Does Café Con Leche Taste Like?

This coffee drink is tasty, with a more dominant taste from the espresso shot and intensely aromatic, creamy and rich. The scalded milk brings a different, smoother and less silky texture than what you would with a latte.

Final Thoughts – How To Make Cafe Con Leche

Now that you know how to make cafe con leche you can go right ahead and make this delightful and tasty cup of coffee and try out the variations.

You can even go all in and enjoy it with a little slice of Spanish tortilla.

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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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