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How to Make French Coffee with Milk?

Are you a coffee addict? Someone who takes about 4 or 5 cups of coffee a day. Then you must love the taste of coffee and the different types you can drink.

Apart from sampling coffee made from coffee beans from different regions such as South America, Ethiopia, and Kenya; you could also try brewing coffee the way people in different countries make it. There’s Spanish coffee, Turkish coffee, Italian coffee, and the popular French coffee.

French coffee with milk

French coffee is quite interesting because of show imple it is to make and because of the French coffee-drinking culture.

The French have a reputation for making exceptional food and beverages. The habit of drinking French coffee dates back to when men gathered in cafes to discuss the latest happenings.

Today, drinking coffee continues to be a pleasant pastime in France, popularising their signature French coffees. You’ll find men and women sitting outside cafes watching passers-by, reading a paper, or chatting as they have a cup of coffee with a croissant, pain au chocolat, Éclair, or any other pastry.

That culture inspires coffee drinkers in other countries to appreciate French coffee over other brews. That’s why recipes for brewing French-inspired coffee, especially French coffee with milk, are so popular.


What is French coffee?

You may think French coffee is what you get when you brew coffee in a French Press or use a specific type of coffee beans, but it’s not. It’s actually a simple cup of coffee that the French refer to as Café.

French Café is traditionally served as a shot of Espresso and taken in the afternoon or after a meal. It is usually brewed using French roast coffee beans, which are dark roast coffee beans that are dark brown in color.

These coffee beans have a bold smoky flavor ideal for brewing Espresso, the base coffee drink in most French coffee recipes. Dark roast coffee beans give any French brew a distinct strong flavor that some say is more intense than what you get from Italian coffee.

It may surprise you to know that French coffee is usually served in a bowl. That mirrors the historical way of drinking coffee in many European countries.

Serving coffee in a bowl allows coffee drinkers to cool their beverages fast and dip pastries easily. It also gives them a comforting experience while drinking coffee as they wrap their hands around warm bowls of coffee.

Some of the French coffees you’ll find in French cafes are;

  • Café Noisette
  • Café Crème
  • Café au Lait
  • Café Viennois
  • Café Serré, and
  • Café Gourmand.

Most people prefer French coffee made with milk over those made using Espresso and water such as Café Serré and café Americain.

Steamed milk and milk foam gives coffee brewed using dark roasts such as those used to brew French coffee, a pleasant mouth – feel. It masks any bitterness while bringing out the authentic taste of individual flavor notes in the coffee beans.


Different Types of French Coffee Made With Milk

While there are a few French coffees such as the ones we’ve mentioned above that are brewed using milk and Espresso, most tasty French coffee beverages are made using French Café, steamed milk, foam, or water.

Although an Espresso machine will ease the process of brewing French coffee, you can also use a drip coffee machine.

One of the most popular milky French coffees is Café au Lait, a coffee beverage similar to the American latte that’s made with more milk. Another one is Café Crème which is similar to the Italian Cappuccino. Café Crème is made using a shot of Espresso and topped with milk foam.

There is also the Café Noisette, a hazelnut-colored beverage made with Espresso and a splash or two of hot milk with foam. Some people also add cream to it.

These French coffee beverages with milk are usually served in the morning hours. They are served strong and hot with pastries such as croissants, tartines, or baguettes.


How to Prepare Milky French Coffees

You need milk, water, or milk foam to prepare French coffee with milk and strong black coffee or Espresso.

Use an Espresso machine for the coffee-making process or prepare everything on the stovetop. Another option is a French press which you can use for coffee brewing and milk frothing.

An Espresso machine is perfect for French coffee making because you can pull an Espresso shot, steam milk, and prepare foam for your coffee using it.

You can also brew strong coffee using coffee grounds on the stovetop and heat up milk as well.

And if you are worried about how to create milk foam without a machine, don’t worry.  It’s easy to create milk foam by shaking milk in a mason jar for a minute and then warming it gently over the stove.

These basic tips will help you to make any milky French coffee you desire. A simple one you can try is Café au Lait.


How to Make Café au Lait

Café au Lait is made using equal amounts of strong black coffee and warmed steamed milk. That’s not to be confused with a café latte made using 1 part coffee and 2 parts steamed milk.

You may warm milk over the stove to make steamed milk for Café au Lait or use an Espresso machine to steam the milk.

The coffee used to brew Café au Lait can be strong drip coffee or Espresso, but a shot or two of Espresso is preferred.

Here’s a simple recipe for making Café au Lait.


2  Tbsps of French Roast coffee grounds

300 ml water

1 Cup whole milk


  1. Brew Espresso or a strong cup of black coffee using a French press/ drip coffee machine and set it aside.
  2. Use the milk frother on your Espresso machine to steam and froth your milk.
  3. Pour half of the steamed milk into a tall coffee glass, follow it with hot coffee, and spoon some milk foam on top.
  4. You can add some vanilla syrup to your Café au Lait to make a French vanilla latte. Dipping a cinnamon stick into the coffee can also enhance its flavor.



Now you know a bit about French coffee culture and how they take their coffee. We’ve given you a recipe you can use to make Café au Lait if you are interested in how to make French coffee with milk.

If you find that Café au Lait tastes great you can also try brewing a Café Crème or Café Noisette. These two other popular French coffees are just as easy to make, and they taste amazing.

Remember to drink your coffee the French way with some pastries on your porch, patio, or balcony like the French. You may enjoy the experience better than having coffee at a coffee shop.


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