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What Is Coffee De Leche?

There are several types of coffee-based drinks available today. One such drink is coffee de leche. But what is coffee de leche? Coffee de leche is a Spanish term that means coffee with milk. It is commonly known as café con leche in Spanish. This Spanish-style brew originated in Spain. It is popularly drunk in Spain and Latin America.

coffee de leche

Coffee de leche is made of espresso or very strong coffee and steamed milk in equal parts. It is closely related to a French coffee drink known as café au lait. The difference is that coffee de leche is served sweetened. The blend of strong coffee and steamed or frothed milk gives the drink a bittersweet and rich taste. It is typically served in a glass.


How to Make Coffee De Leche

Now that you know what coffee de leche is, it will help to know how to make it.

Ingredients Required:

  • 1 part whole milk
  • 1 part espresso or strong coffee
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of Sugar


Step 1- Make the Espresso or Strong Coffee

The typical ratio for making coffee de leche is mixing equal parts of strong coffee and milk. For instance, if you want to make 1 cup of coffee de leche, you will mix ½ cup coffee and ½ cup steamed or frothed milk.

For the coffee, you can use an Espresso machine to make enough espresso coffee. If you do not have an Espresso maker, use a Moka pot or French press to make strong coffee. Preferably, use dark roast coffee beans to make strong coffee.

Step 2- Make Steamed or Frothed Milk

The best milk to make coffee de leche is steamed or frothed whole milk. It gives the ideal richness to pair with bittersweet coffee. Alternatively, you can make dairy-free coffee de leche by using oat milk. It froths the best and makes a delicious brew.

For coffee de leche, the quality of the frothed milk is not as important as in a latte. Thus, you can froth or steam the milk using any preferred method. Some of the options you can try are frothing the milk with the help of a whisk, French press, or hand-held frother.

To froth milk with a hand-held milk frother, you will start by heating the whole milk to scalding. Then add the milk into a tall container. Carefully hold the container at an angle. Turn on the frother and move it up and down in the milk until you notice foamy bubbles. Break down larger bubbles by tapping the container on your kitchen countertop.

If you do not have a frother, you can use your French press to froth milk. To do this, heat at least 1 cup of milk to scalding. Using less than a cup of milk will not froth well in a French press. Add the milk to your French press. Pump the plunger using quick, short plunges until you notice foamy bubbles. Pour the milk into a pitcher. Tap the pitcher on the kitchen countertop to break down any larger bubbles.

Step 3- Add Sugar 

Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sugar to a mug depending on your taste preference. Traditionally, coffee de leche is pretty sweet. Sweetening the drink balances the strong coffee taste. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar for a subtly sweet drink that still offers a balanced flavor. If you want a pretty sweet drink with a traditional coffee de leche taste, use 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Step 4- Add the Coffee and Frothed Milk

Next, add hot coffee or espresso over the sugar until the cup is half full. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Add the hot, frothed milk and stir. Serve while hot.


What does Coffee de Leche Taste Like?

The coffee has an intensely aromatic, strong, and rich taste upon mixing strong coffee with sugar and frothed scalded milk.


How do you Differentiate Coffee de Leche from Lattes and Cappuccinos?

While these coffees are all made using foamed milk and espresso, the difference is that coffee de leche is made using equal parts of foamed milk and espresso or strong coffee. On the other hand, cappuccinos and lattes are prepared using espresso and foamed milk in a ratio of 1:2 and 1:3 respectively.


Is Coffee de Leche an Espresso?

What is coffee de leche? It is a Spanish espresso-based drink made by combing espresso with steamed milk. However, you can also make it with any other strong coffee.