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Café au Lait Day

"🎶 If I can't take
My coffee break,
Somehow the soul no longer tries,
Gone is the sense of enterprise,
Somehow I can't metabolize,
Something within me dies."

~ "Coffee Break", How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, 1961

For all those needing a pick me up at your place of business or just to get going in the morning, grab another cup of coffee or channel the creamy and rich colours of this caffeinated tartan for a visual jolt, perfect for the coffee connoisseur! There was a time when coffee came in one basic style, black, and you added the cream or milk yourself. Today it is easy to be flummoxed by the seemingly infinite coffee variations on the menu at trendy coffee bars. not to mention confounding coffee customs that vary regionally! In the US, a traditional café au lait is made of brewed coffee and steamed milk with a 1:1 ratio, while in Europe, café au lait is made of espresso instead. And American café au lait is often made using scalded, rather than steamed milk, though it is not clear if that is done on purpose. And in France, café au lait is served in a white porcelain cup, while Italian style requires clear glass. Definitely time for a coffee break! ☕☕☕

By designer Carol A.L. Martin, this tartan are the colours of a morning wake up call.  


Supposedly, a French doctor in the 1600s suggested adding milk to coffee to strengthen his patients' constitutions, beginning a tradition with many regional variants:

  • In Europe, “café au lait” stems from the same continental tradition as “café con leche” in Spain.

  • In Poland it is referred to as “kawa biała” (“white coffee”).

  • In Germany it is referred to as “Milchkaffee” (“milk coffee”).

  • And in the Netherlands it is referred to as “koffie verkeerd” (“incorrect coffee”)!

  • In the French-speaking areas of Switzerland, a popular variation is the “café renversé” (“reverse coffee”), made by using the milk as a base and adding espresso, in reversal of the normal method of making a “café au lait”.

  • In the United States, a New Orleans-style café au lait is made with scalded milk, rather than with steamed milk, often with the addition roasted chicory root.   

For some amusing infographics on coffee and coffee drinkers, click the café au lait.

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