What is a Starbucks Caffè Misto? Don’t Overlook This One

what is a starbucks Caffè Misto

Are you looking to shake up your coffee routine? Then the Starbucks Caffè Misto may have caught your attention. It’s one of Starbucks’ signature drinks, with a lot of customizability available. So you’re probably wondering, what is a Starbucks Caffè Misto?

The Caffè Misto is essentially the Starbucks version of a cafe au lait. It’s a drip-brewed coffee that consists of half brewed coffee and half steamed milk. It’s generally cheaper and has fewer calories than other specialty drinks. It also offers customizability through different roasts of coffee. 

That sums up the basics of the Caffè Misto. But there’s a lot more to break down here. The rest of this article will cover:

  • Additional details about the Caffè Misto
  • How to customize it
  • How it compares to other Starbucks drinks
  • Tips for ordering it

You’ll want to stick around to get all the details on these topics. Keep reading to learn more. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Caffè Misto creates a great middle ground between different types of coffee. 
  • Adding different types of milk or using different strengths of coffee changes the flavor. 
  • You can order a Caffè Misto at Starbucks or make a great version at home. 

What is a Starbucks Caffè Misto?

As mentioned, a Caffè Misto at Starbucks is equal parts drip-brewed coffee and steamed milk. It’s less dense and sweet than something like a lattè or cappuccino. It also manages to cut out a lot of the calories and cost, which many will appreciate. 

How Starbucks’ Version Differs from a Traditional Caffe Au Lait?

The Starbucks Caffè Misto differs slightly from the traditional cafe au lait. The main difference is the customizability. Like the traditional cafe au lait, you can change the strength of coffee in the Misto for flavor preferences. This can range from a strong dark roast to a light blonde roast in your drink. 

However, the Caffè Misto can be customized further with different types of milk. Starbucks offers a great variety of milk alternatives for your choosing. These are options like soy, oat, hemp, almond, and coconut milk. Each of these options is dairy-free and vegan-friendly. It makes the Caffè Misto more accessible to a wider range of people. 

Starbucks’ Caffè Misto also has a frothier texture than regular au lait. This is designed to give it a higher-quality feel. Many coffee shops that make an au lait simply heat the milk. So the frothiness from Starbucks’ version will make it taste better. 

Why Does Starbucks Call it a Misto?

Starbucks hasn’t said any specific reasons why they chose the name “Misto.” The best guess is they wanted to make it sound fancier and differentiate it from the traditional cafe au lait. So the name Misto simply defines that it’s the Starbucks version of this drink. 

Where Does the Caffè Misto Come From?

This drink, traditionally called cafe au lait, originated in France in the 1600s. The term “cafe au lait” is a very literal description of the drink. It stands for “coffee with milk.” Over the years, the cafe au lait has been refined and adapted to modern consumers. Now we have the Starbucks take on this classic drink. 

Does Caffè Misto Have a Lot of Caffeine?

If you order a tall or grande size of the Misto, it’ll have about the same amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee. Since it’s half milk and half coffee, a 16-ounce grande would contain 8 ounces of brewed coffee. In that case, you can expect a grande size to have around 95mg of caffeine. A tall would have around 60mg of caffeine. 

Is a Caffè Misto Sweet?

A Caffè Misto is a little bit sweet, but it’s mostly a creamy flavor. It’s relatively low in sugar compared to other Starbucks drinks, so it cuts down on the sweetness a lot. I personally prefer less sweetness in my daily coffee. So the Caffè Misto from Starbucks is something I order regularly. 

How the Caffè Misto Compares to Similar Drinks?

You may also wonder how the Caffè Misto compares to other options on the Starbucks menu. Other similar drinks include:

  • Flat White
  • Cappuccino
  • Lattè
  • Americano
  • Macchiato

The next sections will give a brief breakdown of how the Caffè Misto compares to these options. 

Flat White vs. Caffè Misto

The main difference is that flat white is an espresso beverage. Whereas the Caffè Misto is a drip-brewed coffee. Both of these options combine steamed milk with coffee. The espresso-based flat white will have a stronger taste and higher caffeine content. 

Cappuccino vs. Caffè Misto

Like the previous one, the cappuccino is espresso-based compared to the drip-brewed Misto. The cappuccino will have a much stronger taste that is foamy and frothy. Cappuccinos are also much sweeter and higher in calories. 

Lattè vs. Caffè Misto

Again, the lattè is espresso-based, so it has a stronger flavor and caffeine content. That said, the lattè is a bit milder in flavor than the previously mentioned cappuccino. The other main difference between the lattè and Misto is the lattè uses foam, making it creamier. 

Americano vs. Caffè Misto

The Americano is also an espresso drink. Other than the type of coffee, this one differs from the Misto quite a bit since it doesn’t use milk. The traditional Americano is usually diluted with hot water. It has a bold and rich coffee flavor compared to the mild Misto. 

Macchiato vs. Caffè Misto

The macchiato is espresso-based with a small drip of milk or foam. It has a much stronger coffee flavor than the Misto. It’s also lower in calories since it only has a small portion of milk. 

Full Comparison Table

To get a more in-depth view of how these options compare, here’s a full breakdown. 

Caffè MistoEqual parts brewed coffee and steamed milkCreamy, smoothMild
Flat WhiteDouble espresso with steamed milk and a thin layer of microfoamVelvety, balancedMedium
CappuccinoEqual parts espresso, steamed milk, and thick foamBold, frothyStrong
LattèEspresso with steamed milk and a thin layer of foamCreamy, mellowMedium
AmericanoEspresso diluted with hot waterRich, smoothMedium to strong
MacchiatoEspresso with a small dollop of milk or milk foamBold, slightly creamyStrong
Café au LaitEqual parts brewed coffee and hot milkCreamy, balancedMild

Nutritional Value of the Caffè Misto

I feel like the Caffè Misto creates a nice middle-ground nutritionally. It isn’t super high in calories, so you can fit it into most daily diets if you so choose. 

While I wouldn’t say it’s “good for you,” I will say it’s better than drinking a sugary cappuccino every day. 

Starbucks Caffè Misto Nutritional Value (Grande 16 fl oz size)

Nutritional ValueAmount
Total Fat4 g
Saturated Fat2 g
Cholesterol15 mg
Sodium100 mg
Total Carbohydrates10 g
Dietary Fiber0 g
Protein7 g
Caffeine150 mg

Tips for Ordering a Caffè Misto at Starbucks

Here are a few tips to answer common questions about ordering this drink. 

Can I Customize the Caffè Misto with Different Milk Options?

You can customize the Misto with different types of milk. Starbucks offers milk alternatives like almond, soy, coconut, oat, and hemp milk. I enjoy using almond milk instead of dairy milk because it lowers the calories in this drink. 

However, different types of milk will impact the flavor. For example, almond milk will add more almond flavor, and oat milk will make it taste oatier, etc. 

Can You Adjust the Milk-To-Coffee Ratio?

You can adjust the ratio if you like more coffee or more milk in your drink. For instance, you could ask for 2 parts coffee to 1 part milk in your drink. However, this does technically make it not a Misto. It would then just be considered drip-brewed coffee with milk in it. 

Can I Add Flavored Syrups to a Caffè Misto?

You can ask for flavored syrups to be added to it. Adding syrups will increase the price of your beverage. But if you want to add chocolate syrup or something along those lines, it is available upon request. 

However, once again, it does make it technically “not a Misto” by adding syrup. Really, only serious coffee connoisseurs will care about that technicality. So if you want to, customize away!

What are the Best Caffè Misto Customizations?

I’m a big fan of a dark roast. So I like mixing the Starbucks Sumatra dark roast with almond milk in my Misto. Other great combos could be:

  • Starbucks Blonde Roast with coconut milk
  • Starbucks Half-Caff House Blend with soy milk
  • Starbucks French Roast with Almond Milk

There are many great customizations you can make here. Try different types of coffee and milk combos to see what you like best!

How to Make a Starbucks Caffè Misto at Home

You can also make a Caffè Misto at home if you want to save money. It’s actually a pretty simple process. 

You only need a coffee maker and a stovetop with a pot to steam the milk. A normal drip-brew coffee maker works fine, or you can also use a French press for a stronger cup of coffee. Here’s an article on brewing the perfect cup of coffee with a French press if you’d like to go that route. 

To brew the coffee, I will use 1.5 tablespoons of coffee per cup of water. You can make it stronger by opting for 2 tablespoons of coffee or weaker by doing only 1 tablespoon. 

Once your coffee is just about finished brewing, you’ll want to steam the milk. Match the amount of milk to the amount of coffee. So if you’re brewing 8 ounces of coffee, steam 8 ounces of milk. 

Put the milk in a pot on the stovetop at high heat. Steam it until it reaches 175-190 degrees. You can measure this with a food thermometer. It typically takes about 2-3 minutes. 

Once it reaches that temperature, you can mix the milk and coffee together. 

All that’s left after that is to drink your delicious homemade Misto!


That wraps things up for this one. You should have everything you’ll ever need to know about the Caffè Misto. 

The Caffè Misto is a great signature beverage at Starbucks or that you can make at home. It’s relatively low in calories and not overly sweet. I find it to be a great middle-ground in the different types of coffee. 

Now, all you have left is to go out and try it for yourself! If you try it or have any thoughts on the Caffè Misto, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts in the comments section below.

Christopher Mize

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