What is Starbucks Caffé Misto? Read and Find Out!

what is Starbucks caffe misto
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A few years ago, Starbucks added the Caffé Misto to their lineup of coffee beverages. Have you been thinking about adding it to your Starbucks coffee routine?

If so, you’re probably wondering what exactly is this coffee-based drink. Is it some version of latte? Or perhaps cappuccino?

Caffé Misto is a warm, milky coffee drink unlike anything else on the Starbucks menu. Since the name of this drink is Starbucks-specific, you may have never heard of it before. However, this drink is simply the Starbucks version of another trendy coffee beverage.

Below, we will go over everything you need to know so you can decide if the Caffé Misto sounds like something you want to try!

What is a Caffè Misto?

The Starbucks Caffé Misto is different from a latte, breve, or cappuccino. It is actually the Starbucks version of café au lait.

Caffè Mistos are made with a one-to-one combo of freshly brewed coffee and steamed milk. Then, it may be topped with frothy foam.

a cup of caffe misto
A homemade Caffè Misto — read on for the recipe at the end of this article!

With equal parts steamed milk and drip coffee, it has a distinctive flavor. This drink comes available in Short, Tall, Grande, or Venti.

Ingredients of Caffè Misto:

  • 50% Brewed coffee
  • 50% Steamed milk

It can be as simple as that!

But remember that you can always customize your Caffè Misto by choosing from different types of roasts or adding toppings like whipped cream or mocha drizzle.

One thing that you can also change is the kind of milk to be used. The default is 2% milk but you can also choose nonfat or whole milk.

Non-dairy milk substitutes are available for this drink as well. If you are interested in reading more about the plant-based drink in Starbucks, check out our guides with Starbucks soy milk drinks and almond milk drinks.

Caffè Misto History

The Starbucks Caffè Misto came out sometime around 2016. It is based on the popular French café au lait drink.

Café au lait is the French way to say “coffee with milk”. Any coffee drink made with hot milk is technically a café au lait beverage. In America, the café au lait became popular in coffee houses throughout the late 1990s.

The original café au lait likely came from France in the 1600s. However, some argue that the fancy, frothy beverage was invented by a Polish coffee shop owner living in Vienna.

Either way, combining milk and coffee has been done since Dutch Traders first entered China.

In New Orleans, a café au lait drink is sometimes made with steamed milk and chicory coffee. Additionally, in the United States, this beverage implements hot steamed milk that is near the point of scalding, at approximately 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit.

American café au lait drinks also usually have frothed milk foam on top. This adds an additional flavor note and helps to keep the coffee beneath hotter for longer.

What does the Caffè Misto taste like?

Many find the Caffè Misto to be a remarkably mixed and distinctively delicious drink. The drip-grind coffee in this beverage tends to be stronger than what you’d get in a standard cup of coffee. This makes for a strong coffee flavor enhanced by creamy, steamy milk.

Baristas often implement a dark roast that is extra strong to make the watery mouthfeel of the Caffé Misto less apparent. Then, they mix it with steamed 2% milk or the dairy milk substitute of your choosing.

Finally, the beverage can be topped with frothed milk, giving it a fancy vibe and adding additional complexity to the mouthfeel.

Caffè Misto Caffeine and Calories

A Grande Caffè Misto contains 150 milligrams of caffeine that is about the same amount as in two espresso shots.

With the deafault 2 percent cows milk, it has 110 calories, which consists of 7 grams of protein, 10 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat. The calories differ if you choose whole milk or a dairy milk substitute such as almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk.

Caffè Misto vs. Latte – Let’s Compare!

Caffè Misto is often compared to another milky drink — the famous caffè latte. So what are the main differences between these two popular drinks?

Below is and infographic that will give you a quick overview:

Caffè Misto vs Latte

A latte is crafted using espresso, steamed milk, foam, and occasionally, whipped cream. On the other hand, a Starbucks Caffè Misto is made using half strong brewed coffee and half steamed milk with a little bit of foam on the top.

In a Caffè Misto, the coffee is in a drip grind format, meaning it was brewed using a coffee pot. In a latte, the coffee is in espresso shot format, meaning they make it using an espresso machine.

How to Make Caffè Misto at Home?

Making a Caffè Misto from home isn’t terribly difficult. All you need is a way to steam milk and brew coffee.

You should brew your coffee strong and use a high-quality dark roasted blend with strong flavors. Or, you can make a French New Orleans-style café au lait using New Orleans Chicory Coffee.

Also, you will need a way to steam your milk. Steamed milk can be made on the stove, though we recommend having an actual milk-steaming device or an espresso machine with a milk steaming attachment.

Recipe for a Homemade Caffè Misto:

  • Step 1: Use your favorite brewing method and make strong coffee.
  • Step 2: Steam the milk. If steaming milk on the stove, remember to stir constantly until the milk reaches a temperature of 175-190 degrees. You can use a food thermometer to check the temperature periodically.
  • Step 3: Pour your coffee into a large enough cup and fill it halfway. Now, fill the other half with steamed milk.
  • Step 4: If you have a milk steaming device, you can prepare some frothed foam to add on top.

Final Thoughts on the Starbucks Caffè Misto

So now you know!

Next time you go to Starbucks, you will be fully informed and can decide whether you want to order a Caffè Misto of your own. Or, you can make this creamy coffee drink at home.

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