Feeling limited by the same old cappuccinos or lattes you order every day? Try one of these five coffee-and-milk drinks you might not know about, and expand your caffeinated horizons, one morning at a time.
Cafe Miel (French), or Cafe con Miel (Spanish)
Whether you're lounging in Paris or exploring coffee in Barcelona, nothing will beat this sweetly warm, comforting espresso drink featuring steamed milk and miel, or a healthy dash of honey. Sometimes finished with a sprinkle of cinnamon, the drink is basically the liquid version of the world's best graham cracker: Honey is a much more delicate and floral sweetener than sugar, which allows the coffee's flavor to shine through a bit more, and the warm honey and milk combo is a essentially a nap in a mug.
Germans know how to live: Meat and bread for breakfast, meat and bread for lunch, meat and bread for dinner, beer at every meal, and cold coffee with milk, sugar, ice cream, and whipped cream—the latter delight known as an eiskaffee. Not the only culture to have an iced cream coffee specialty (Australians are known for their "iced coffee" which is essentially the perfect unblended espresso milkshake), Germany kicks it up a notch with the necessary Schlagsahne—fresh whipped cream. Don't mind wenn Ich das tun.
This Portuguese take on milky coffee is something like a café latte, and tends to be heavy on the milk: A three-to-one steamed milk to coffee ratio typifies the warm and lovely drink, which is typically served in a glass, espresso cortado style (but larger). If you like a bit more coffee in your cup, order a meia de leite, or "half milk" instead; the result is closer to a one-to-one ratio.
Snicker all you want, but there are places in Asia where folks practically live on this stuff: Japan, China, and Taiwan in particular are known for their love of canned coffee drinks, many of which are smoothed out with milk and are eye-poppingly sweet. Boss and Mr. Brown are two of the most popular brands, but honestly on a hot summer day in the Taipei sun we wouldn't say no to any of these things.
This Italian combination of espresso, cocoa, and foam is kind of like a cappuccino but, well, arguably kind of better. I mean, come on: There's chocolate in it! Cocoa powder is sometimes simply shaken into the espresso before mixing the coffee with frothy milk, but it certain parts of the boot-shaped country a thicker type of chocolate syrup is added, making something more like a "mocha" as we know in the States. Heck, sprinkle a bit of cocoa on top of the thing while you're at it—live a little!
Any other favorite milky coffee drinks? Lay 'em on us in the comments.
About the author: Erin Meister trains baristas and inspires coffee-driven people for Counter Culture Coffee. She's a confident barista, and an audacious eater, but she remains a Nervous Cook. You can call her just Meister.