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Café au Lait Day

"🎶 If I can't take
My coffee break,
My coffee break,
My coffee break...
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

Do you find yourself sometimes In deperate need for a simple cup of coffee but are sneered at by snobby barristas or are confounded by confusing coffee rules and trendy trends? You have our caffeinated sympathy. All "no foam soy lattés" aside, things can be a bit confusing, but a traditional café au lait is made of brewed coffee and steamed milk with a 1:1 ratio, instead of espresso and milk (also, no foam as in a latté). This distinction, however, exists only in the US; in Europe, café au lait is made of espresso instead. And American café au lait is often made using scalded, rather than steamed milk. And in France, a distinction is made in serving style as well, with café au lait served French style in a white porcelain cup or bow, or Italian style in a 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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