Cafe con Leche vs latte? What’s the difference?

Cafe con Leche vs latte: What’s the difference?

A Café con Leche and a Latte have the same ingredients to make. These coffee beverages are a combination of espresso shots and steamed milk.

That’s why if you’re confused about the difference between these two drinks, you’re not alone. Many ask that question too.

That’s why as a coffee geek, I came up with the topic of Cafe con Leche vs Latte. This article ought to help you differentiate these two types of coffee.

So if you’re ready, then let’s get started.

What is a Cafe con leche?

A Café con Leche is a coffee drink that originated in Spain. But that’s not the only place where it’s popular.

It also became popular with other Spanish-speaking countries and, later on, all over the world.

Cafe con Leche, just like what we all know, is a combination of espresso shot mixed with scalded milk (In some countries, you can get a Cafe con Leche with condensed milk, whole milk, or dairy milk instead).

It suits its name very much because Cafe con Leche literally translates to coffee with milk.

In addition to coffee and milk, Cafe con Leche can also have some sugar added to it, depending on the preference of the consumer.

It’s usually served hot, but it can also be iced.

A Cafe con leche is a combination of 1:1 espresso shot and scalded milk.

Cafe con Leche is still popular today. It’s a known coffee drink that’s perfect for breakfast because of the milk in it. It’s tasty, aromatic, and rich.

So if you’re now curious about what it feels like to drink this coffee, then you should give it a try.

What is a Latte?

A Cafe Latte is one of the most popular coffee drinks in the world.

It’s known by every coffee lover, and you’ve probably had it too. It’s also my personal favorite coffee.

A Cafe Latte is an Italian word that translates to coffee and milk, just like the Cafe con Leche.

Cafe Latte originated in Italy and was first invented in the 1950s.

It successfully made it all over the world and became one of the top menus in most coffee shops.

A Latte is a combination of a 1:3 espresso shot and steamed milk. 

Latte is also made of coffee and milk but has more milk than coffee. It’s creamy, rich, strong, and has a great aroma.

Cafe con Leche vs Latte: Key difference

As we saw in the previous sections, Cafe con Leche and Latte have a lot of similarities. In fact, many think that both drinks are just similar.

But some key differences lie here, which you can remember to differentiate the two coffee.

The Milk

Cafe con Leche vs latte: What’s the difference?

Milk is one of the main ingredients of both to make Cafe con Leche and Latte. Both of them have milk. The only difference is the kind of milk they use in the original ingredients.

It’s important to know because the type of milk used in a coffee has an impact on its taste and mouthfeel.

Scalded milk 

The Cafe con Leche uses scalded milk to combine in a strong espresso shot.

Scalded milk is milk that has been heated before reaching the boiling point and then allowed to cool to room temperature.

It usually reaches a temperature of 180-185 F (82-85 degree celsius).

It will then be cooled to 138 degrees Fahrenheit (58 degrees Celsius).

Scalded milk 

Heating milk makes it perfect for your cup of coffee as it has an ideal temperature great for your coffee. Additionally, heating milk will kill the bacteria and break down some protein.

It’s also creamy and rich to drink, even without the foam.

Steamed Milk

When it comes to Latte, use steamed milk in combination with the espresso shot.

Steamed milk is milk exposed to a steamed wand attached to an espresso maker, making it slightly aerated and having small air bubbles.

Steamed milk also makes it easier to make the popular latte art because of the micro-foams in it.

Steamed milk 

The amount of milk

Aside from the type of milk, the amount in each drink is also different. A Latte uses 1 part of espresso and 3 parts of milk.

This makes it milky and creamier and adds more sweetness to the milk.

Latte has more milk than Cafe con Leche.

When it comes to make Café con Leche, although it can be light with more milk, called “clarito,” or dark with less milk, called “oscurito,” based on your preference,  it normally uses a 1:1 ratio. It has less milk than the Latte.

What is a better choice to make Cafe con Leche vs Cafe Latte?

Café con Leche

Both Café con Leche and Caffe Latte have their own unique traits.

If you like something that has more milk, uses steamed milk and has a micro-foam for the best mouthfeel, then Cafe Latte will definitely work for you.

Homemade Latte

However, if you’re someone who likes a coffee with less milk than a Latte, then you can go with Cafe con Leche drinkers. Same with Latte, it’s also tasty, aromatic, and rich.

And although Cafe con Leche is not foamy, it’s also enjoyable to drink.


There you have the key differences between Latte and Café con Leche. Indeed, both drinks have more similarities than differences.

Those differences are actually just minor and may even be unnoticeable. So whatever coffee you choose, you are sure to enjoy any of it.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this article was able to help you differentiate the two and decide which beverage is right for you.


Is Cafe con Leche a latte or cappuccino?

Cafe con Leche is more similar to Latte than to a Cappuccino since a cappuccino is made with 1:1:1 of espresso, steamed milk, and foam milk. But search just what’s discussed above, Cafe con Leche and Latte have some differences.

What is a café con leche at Starbucks Cafe?

In many Starbucks cafes, Cafe con Leche beverage is not part of their menu. So if you want to have a Cafe con Leche, you can order a Latte or Cappuccino instead. Those are close and similar to the taste of Cafe con Leche.

Is cafe con leche same as café au lait?

No, Cafe con Leche is not similar to cafe au lait. The cafe au lait is made by combining equal parts of drip coffee and milk. Drip coffee and espresso have different flavors, so you can’t just say they’re similar.

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