Are you a coffee lover who wants to know the key differences between two popular coffee drinks - Milchkaffee and Latte? In this ultimate coffee guide, we're breaking down the milk, espresso, and foam used, the brewing methods, and the taste profiles of these two drinks. Get ready to discover your new favorite coffee drink and become an expert in coffee choices!

Milchkaffee vs Latte: Origins and Basic Differences

In this section, we will explore the origins and differences between two popular coffee beverages, Milchkaffee and Latte. We will dive into their historical roots, characteristics, and how they relate to each other.

Milchkaffee Origin and Overview

Milchkaffee, a German coffee drink, translates literally to "milk coffee". It is similar to the French Café au Lait, meaning "coffee with milk", and shares many similarities with its counterpart. Both beverages consist of coffee and milk, where the milk is typically steamed or heated.

The Milchkaffee is most commonly consumed in Germany and enjoys a longstanding history within the country's coffee culture. While its exact origins may not be well documented, it has sustained its popularity in Germany to this day. The typical ratio of coffee to milk in a Milchkaffee is roughly 1:1, thus producing a creamy, milder taste.

Latte Origin and Overview

The Latte, or Caffè Latte, originated in Italy and has become a globally popular coffee choice, with major chains like Starbucks playing a role in its widespread accessibility. The word Latte means "milk" in Italian, and Caffè Latte translates to "milk coffee".

The Latte is made up of one or two shots of espresso, steamed milk, and a thin layer of frothed milk on top. Lattes can be customized with various milk alternatives such as soy, oat, or coconut milk. The typical ratio of coffee to milk in a Latte is 1:3, which gives it a smooth, rich texture and enhances the espresso flavor.

When comparing Milchkaffee and Latte, the most notable difference lies in their coffee-to-milk ratios, creating variance in taste and texture. While Milchkaffee utilizes a 1:1 ratio, the Latte follows a 1:3 or 1:4 ratio depending on preference. This difference in ratios results in a creamier, milder taste for Milchkaffee and a richer, bolder taste for Lattes. Additionally, Lattes use espresso shots, while Milchkaffee traditionally uses brewed coffee.

In summary, both Milchkaffee and Latte are cherished coffee beverages with deep historical roots in their respective countries, Germany and Italy. While they share similarities in their basic components of coffee and milk, their differences in ratios and preparation techniques create unique experiences for coffee enthusiasts around the world. If you're looking to replicate the authentic taste of these beverages at a larger scale or for your business, consider checking out our commercial espresso machine collection. Whether you're in the market to buy a commercial grade espresso maker or are simply curious about what's available, you'll find premium options that can deliver the precision and quality these drinks deserve.

Key Components in Milchkaffee and Latte


In both Milchkaffee and Latte, espresso serves as the foundation. The key difference between the two lies in the strength and concentration of coffee used. While a latte consists of a strong espresso shot, a Milchkaffee uses a milder and less concentrated coffee. As a result, the flavor and caffeine content in a latte are usually more potent than in a Milchkaffee.


Milk plays a crucial role in differentiating Milchkaffee and latte. In a latte, generally 2/3 of the drink is made up of steamed milk. This creates a creamy texture that mellows out the strong espresso flavor. Lattes can be made using whole milk, 2% milk, oat milk, or other alternatives, depending on individual preferences.

In contrast, Milchkaffee incorporates scalded milk. The milk is heated until it reaches a steaming point and small bubbles form at the edges. This technique prevents the milk from becoming overly frothy. The proportions used in a Milchkaffee are different than in a latte, with double the amount of brewed coffee and less milk being used. This results in a stronger and less creamy coffee flavor compared to a latte.

Milk Foam

While both drinks have milk foam, the texture and quantity differ. A latte contains a thin layer of microfoam, which is essential for latte art. Baristas often use a steam wand to steam the milk and create the desired level of frothiness. The velvety microfoam in a latte adds a smooth and creamy texture to the drink.

Milchkaffee, on the other hand, does not have a significant amount of milk foam. As the milk is only scalded, there is minimal frothing. The minimal foam results in a more pronounced coffee flavor and a slightly less creamy beverage compared to a latte.

In summary, Milchkaffee and latte are both espresso-based drinks but differ in their coffee strength, milk proportion, and foam consistency. Their unique milk treatments and ratios contribute to distinct tastes and textures, catering to different preferences.

Variations and Similarities

Cappuccino and Macchiato

Cappuccinos are similar to lattes but have a thicker layer of foam, with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam. Lattes, on the other hand, have a ratio of 1/3 espresso to 2/3 steamed milk with a layer of foam. Macchiatos are espresso-based drinks with a small amount of steamed milk and foam, resulting in a stronger coffee taste compared to lattes and cappuccinos.

Café au Lait and Flat White

Milchkaffee, or German Café au Lait, is a 50/50 ratio of strong coffee and scalded milk. It's similar to a latte but uses brewed coffee instead of espresso. The Flat White, which originated in Australia, is another close relative of the latte, made with a double shot of espresso and steamed milk, but with less foam than a latte or cappuccino, providing a smoother and creamier texture.

Americano and Mocha

Americano is a coffee drink made with a shot of espresso and hot water, resulting in a taste similar to brewed coffee but with the richness of espresso. Mocha, on the other hand, is a mixture of espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate syrup, making it a sweet and creamy option for those who enjoy coffee with a touch of chocolate flavor.

Latte Macchiato and Other Lattes

The Latte Macchiato differs from a traditional latte by the way it's prepared. Espresso is slowly poured on top of frothed milk, creating a distinct layer of espresso between the milk and foam. This technique results in a more intense coffee flavor compared to a regular latte. Lattes can also be customized with various flavor shots like vanilla or pumpkin spice, offering a wide range of taste options for coffee lovers.

In summary, while there are numerous variations of coffee drinks, such as cappuccinos, macchiatos, café au lait, flat whites, americanos, mochas, latte macchiatos, and flavored lattes, they all share similarities in their use of espresso, steamed milk, and foam in different ratios and with varying flavor add-ons. Understanding these differences can help coffee enthusiasts discover and enjoy new drink options tailored to their taste preferences.

The Coffee-Milk Ratio and Taste Differences

When comparing Milchkaffee and Latte, it's important to consider the coffee-milk ratio and the taste differences between these two popular beverages.

Milchkaffee, also known as Café au Lait, is typically prepared by combining equal parts coffee and steamed milk, resulting in a balanced flavor that allows the taste of the coffee to shine through. The coffee used in a Milchkaffee is usually a strong, dark roast, giving it a bold, robust taste.

On the other hand, a Latte is primarily made with espresso, steamed milk, and a small layer of milk froth on top. The coffee-milk ratio in a traditional Latte is 1:2, or one part espresso to two parts steamed milk, creating a creamier and smoother taste. As opposed to Milchkaffee, Lattes have a milder overall flavor, with the espresso notes present but intertwined with the rich, velvety milk.

The following table provides a summary of the coffee-milk ratio and taste differences between Milchkaffee and Latte:

Beverage Coffee-Milk Ratio Coffee Type Taste Characteristics
Milchkaffee 1:1 Strong, dark roast Bold, robust, balanced
Latte 1:2 Espresso Creamy, smooth, milder

The strength of each drink also contributes to the taste differences. Milchkaffee's equal parts coffee and milk make it assertive and impactful, while the Latte, with its higher milk ratio to espresso, is less intense and more approachable for those who prefer a gentler coffee experience.

In summary, the coffee-milk ratio is a key factor in distinguishing between Milchkaffee and Latte. The equal parts in Milchkaffee create a bold and robust taste, whereas the higher milk-to-espresso ratio in a Latte results in a smoother and creamier beverage. With this in mind, preferences for one drink over the other will come down to individual taste and desired strength.

Coffee Beans, Blends, and Flavor Profiles

When discussing differences between Milchkaffee and Latte, it's important to consider the coffee beans, blends, and flavor profiles that may impact the ultimate taste of these coffee drinks.

There are two main types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica beans are known for their smoother, less acidic taste compared to the more bitter and higher caffeinated Robusta beans. Robusta beans, on the other hand, are commonly used in instant coffee and espresso blends. The choice of beans can significantly influence the flavor of your Milchkaffee or Latte.

The origin of the beans also plays a role in the flavor profile of your coffee. For instance, Sumatra beans are famous for their spicy, woody, and earthy flavors. Single-origin beans, which come from a single region or farm, tend to offer a more unique, specific taste representing their production process and growing environment. In contrast, multiple-origin blends combine beans from various regions, creating a more balanced flavor profile.

When it comes to Milchkaffee and Latte, the choice of beans and blends will affect the overall taste, body, and acidity of these drinks:

  • Milchkaffee: This coffee beverage, often associated with German-speaking countries, consists of black coffee mixed with milk. To get a wide range of flavors, it's common to use medium or dark roasted beans, with Arabica beans potentially providing a smoother, less bitter brew.

  • Latte: Known for its creamy texture, a Latte consists of espresso mixed with steamed milk and topped with milk foam. The use of espresso in this drink highlights the importance of choosing the right beans for a bold and robust flavor. Espresso blends often include a mix of Arabica and Robusta beans to achieve a balanced taste.

In conclusion, the selection of coffee beans, their origins, and blends play a crucial role in defining the flavors and profiles of both Milchkaffee and Latte. Understanding these factors will help you appreciate these beverages and assist you in selecting the right combination of beans to create the perfect coffee experience.

Brewing Techniques and Machines

Espresso Machine

Espresso machines are a popular choice for brewing milchkaffee and lattes, as they produce a strong coffee base and can also create milk froth for the desired creamy texture. The Philips 3200 LatteGo is a notable example of an espresso machine that can create both milchkaffee and lattes easily 1. It is equipped with a ceramic burr grinder and automatic milk frothing system, ensuring a consistent and delicious beverage. Another advantage of espresso machines like the Philips 3200 is the ease of cleaning, as the milk components can be simply rinsed under hot water 2.

In terms of technique, espresso machines use high-pressure water to extract coffee from finely ground beans, creating an intense flavor and a thick, rich crema on top. The water temperature should be maintained between 195-205°F, and the coffee grounds should be evenly distributed to ensure optimal extraction.

French Press

The French press is another option for creating milchkaffee and latte-style beverages, although it is worth noting that the coffee produced by a French press is typically less concentrated than espresso. With this method, coffee grounds are steeped in hot water for 2-4 minutes 3 before being separated using a plunger. The result is a full-bodied coffee with a rich flavor profile.

To make a latte or milchkaffee using a French press, the brewed coffee can be combined with warm milk or milk froth created separately. Although this method may not produce the same creamy consistency as an espresso machine, it is a more affordable and accessible alternative for home brewing.

Coffee Maker

Drip coffee makers offer an alternative method for brewing milchkaffee and latte-style beverages, using a simpler and more accessible technique. In a drip coffee maker, water is heated and then poured over coffee grounds placed in a filter. The water slowly extracts the coffee's flavors before dripping into a carafe or cup.

The contact time between water and coffee grounds in a drip system should be around 5 minutes 4 to produce a balanced and flavorful beverage. While drip coffee makers cannot produce milk froth directly, a separate frother or steamed milk can be added to create the desired milchkaffee or latte consistency.

To conclude, there are a variety of brewing techniques and machines available for creating milchkaffee and latte beverages, each with their advantages and disadvantages. Experimenting with different methods and machines can help you find the perfect balance of flavor and convenience for your daily coffee routine.

Specialty Lattes and Milchkaffees

Milchkaffees, also known as Café au Lait, originated in Germany and are quite similar to lattes in their composition of coffee and milk but with a few distinct differences. Milchkaffees have a 50/50 ratio of strong or bold coffee and scalded whole milk, providing a rich and balanced flavor. You can further customize it by adding sugar or sweetener of your choice and dust it with cocoa powder for a delicate finish.

Lattes, on the other hand, are espresso-based beverages with a composition of approximately 1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk, and a small layer of microfoam on top. The acidity and bitterness of the espresso are cut by the milk, making it a perfect introductory coffee drink for those who might not yet appreciate espresso-forward flavors. To cater to a wide range of preferences, lattes can be tailored with flavored syrups, such as vanilla or pumpkin spice.

Now, let's discuss some of the key differences and similarities between Milchkaffees and lattes:

  • Cocoa Powder: This ingredient, commonly used in Milchkaffees, is optional and can be added on top to enhance its appearance and taste. However, cocoa powder is not as common in lattes, which usually rely on flavored syrups for added sweetness.
  • Caffeine: Since lattes are made with espresso, they typically contain higher caffeine content compared to Milchkaffe, which is made with strong or bold coffee. This makes lattes a popular choice for coffee enthusiasts who crave an energy boost.
  • Espresso-forward: Lattes are typically more espresso-forward, while Milchkaffees are milder in flavor and easier to consume for people who find the taste of espresso overpowering.
  • Coffee with Milk: Both of these delightful beverages consist of coffee mixed with milk, but the cafe au lait and the origin of Milchkaffee trace back to Germany, while lattes originated in Italy.
  • Texture: The thicker and creamier texture of lattes can be attributed to the steamed milk and microfoam, while Milchkaffees have a smoother consistency due to the scalded milk.

Whether you're a caffeine connoisseur, a coffee enthusiast, or just someone who enjoys trying new and different coffee drinks, there's always something to discover in the world of specialty lattes and Milchkaffees. Explore various flavor combinations, and don't hesitate to experiment to find the perfect balance that suits your taste buds best.


  1. "Philips 5400 LatteGo Review: Premium Espresso Machine - Craft Coffee Spot"

  2. "Espresso Machine LatteGo for Easy Lattes, Coffee and More - Philips"

  3. "How to Brew Coffee - National Coffee Association"

  4. "Brewing Time - National Coffee Association"

Latte information
Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

Featured products

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Espresso Machine - Majesty Coffee
Sale priceFrom $1,495.00 Regular price$1,750.00
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Espresso MachineNuova Simonelli
WMF 1100S Super Automatic Coffee Machine
Sale priceFrom $7,286.00
WMF 1100S Super Automatic Coffee MachineWMF