Caffè Misto vs Latte – Delicious Coffee Drinks with Differences!

What can be different between a Caffe Misto and a Latte? They are made with coffee and hot milk so they should be the same or at least close?

Well, not so fast! A Latte is brewed with espresso while the Cafe Misto is simply a drip coffee with milk. The Latte contains a lot more warm milk compared to the Misto of Café au Lait. That does make it taste smoother even though the caffeine content is similar!

If you want to find out other differences then go read on. You’ll find them below. But first, let’s check out what each of these coffee drinks is!

What is Caffè Misto?

Caffé Misto is a coffee drink that can be made easily at home with a drip coffee maker. Simply brew a pot of coffee and add half the amount of milk. This mixture will have a slightly weaker flavor than regular coffee but still tastes delicious. Caffe Misto is a great way to indulge in a special treat without breaking the bank.

Caffe’ Misto is an espresso drink that is made with one half brewed coffee and one half steamed milk. The proportion of coffee and milk is usually one-to-one, but you can alter the proportions by selecting a different roast level. The drink is also commonly referred to as Café au Lait outside of Starbucks.

The Caffé Misto is similar to a latte in appearance and taste, but unlike an espresso, the coffee will not have the same bitter taste. The steamed milk helps to balance the coffee’s strong aroma. The milk will give it a smoother and more refreshing taste compared to a drip coffee.

Caffe Misto is the same thing as a Café au Lait. Starbucks introduced the Caffe Misto to be able to brand the Café au Lait for themselves.

Caffe Misto is often confused with Latte, an espresso-based drink. While it has the same basic ingredients (coffee and steamed milk), it does have a distinctively different taste. The espresso in the Latte provides a much stronger coffee aroma which makes the Caffe Misto taste a little smoother and less coffee-like.

What is a Café Latte?

A Café Latte starts with a base of espresso. Steamed milk is then added on top. This coffee beverage comes with a thin layer of milk foam at the top, which many latte lovers love. Therefore, a latte is usually a hot beverage that features a classic espresso flavor and milk for added texture and creaminess.

That being said, lattes can come in various preparations. You can order a latte iced, and you can even add different flavors to it, including hazelnut, cinnamon, caramel, and more.

How to prepare a Latte

A latte is a combination of three things.

  1. The desired amount of espresso shots is poured into a mug.
  2. Steamed milk is added (typically 4 to 6 ounces).
  3. A thin layer of milk foam gets added on top.

Because of the steamed milk, the drink produces a thick, textured, and creamy end result.

The actual term “latte” is a shortened version of an Italian term known as Caffe Latte. This term in Italian means “milk coffee.” It is a very appropriate term considering what the drink constitutes.

Usually, a latte is served in a cup of coffee that holds 8 ounces or more. It is for those looking for an enjoyable and smooth coffee beverage that is not having an overpowering coffee taste.

Typically, a barista will showcase his or her skills by adding their own intricate designs using the foam found on top, which is referred to as “latte art.” Therefore, if you are someone who enjoys taking pictures of your coffee, you will be able to get Instagram-worthy shots of your latte’s art.

Caffè Misto vs Latte

You think that coffee mixed with milk should be the same all the time? Not quite… There are quite a few differences when you compare a Café Latte with a Caffe Misto.

Not only do they result in very different ways on how to prepare those two drinks, but more importantly, in how they taste. Let’s dive in!

Caffè Misto is brewed with Filter Coffee

The biggest difference is how these two beverages are brewed. The Caffe Misto can simply be started by using a drip coffee maker. It’s the same coffee you use when you brew your cup in the morning at home.

You can also use single-serve coffee makers like a Keurig or a Nespresso machine to get your regular cup going. There’s also no rule that would prevent you from brewing a cup of pour-over coffee to use for your Caffe Misto!

The Latte on the other hand is made with Espresso. You need a Moka pot or Espresso maker to pull one or two shots of espresso. Technically, there are some ways to brew Espresso in a drip coffee maker but the result is not the same! That’s where a Cappuccino and a Caffé Misto are also quite different.

A Café Latte has more Milk

Another major difference between a Latte and a Misto is the amount of milk used. A Caffe Misto traditionally has a one to one milk to coffee ratio. That’s similar to a Cortado but not at all what you see in a Latte.

The Café Latte is typically made with a 1:2 coffee to milk ratio. Yet, that’s a little vague. If you, for example, order a Grande Latte at Starbucks, then you’ll get two espresso shots and the rest of the 16 oz drink is milk. Yet, when you order a Venti Latte you still only have two shots of espresso and the rest of the 20 oz Starbucks cup size is filled with milk! That results in quite a different ratio compared to the traditional one.

Having said that, there’s no rule or law that would stop you from making a Caffe Misto with a lot more milk compared to coffee. The drip coffee usually has less of a coffee taste compared to the espresso so you get a beverage that doesn’t taste much like coffee at all when you go overboard adding too much steamed and frothed milk to the coffee part of the Misto!

Does a Caffe Misto have more Caffeine?

That might be a surprise. You would think that the espresso in the Latte has more caffeine as it has typically a stronger coffee flavor. Yet, that’s not the case!

You’ll typically have a Latte (or any other espresso drink like cappuccino, etc) with one or two shots of espresso. A shot of espresso contains around 75 mg of caffeine at Starbucks. So, two shots are around 150 mg.

A cup of coffee in comparison comes with around 150 mg of caffeine if we take an 8 oz cup of Starbucks Veranda blend. While the amount of caffeine per ounce is lower in drip coffee that is used for a Misto, you consume more and therefore take in at least the same amount of caffeine compared to drinking a Latte.

If we follow Starbucks Caffe Misto ingredients then you end up with 150 mg of caffeine for a Grande Misto while you do end up with the same amount of caffeine for a Grande Caffe Latte with two espresso shots.

No Latte Art on a Caffè Misto

Well, this might not really be a big problem but when you get a Latte at a fancier coffee shop then you typically get some nice or amusing latte art on top of your cup.

That’s not happening when you order a Caffe Misto. It has steamed milk like the Latte but the layer of foamed milk on top is missing which is required to do some Latte art.

Luckily, whether there’s Latte art on top of any beverage does not impact the flavor and taste. Well, that might not be true in all cases. You might simply feel happier when you have a delicious Caffe Latte in front of you with some beautiful latte art on top. The presentation can impact how you feel about a beverage even though it technically does not change the flavor at all!

Starbucks Misto vs. Latte: Final Thoughts

In short, you have the same ingredients, yet very different beverages. In my opinion, the Caffe Latte is more of a pleasurable beverage that is kind of like a treat.

The Caffe Misto in comparison is simply a fancy cup of coffee that can be consumed anytime. It’s a little more decadent compared to a black coffee but not quite as fancy as a Caffe Latte.

However, it’s a personal preference whether you agree with me or whether you simply like to have your Latte at any time of the day and then a Caffe Misto as a treat in the afternoon.

One thing is for certain – You will like either one if you do like coffee drinks that contain a lot of milk! You certainly could also check out how a Flat White is different from a Misto!

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