How much milk should you add to your coffee?

Photo: iStock/amenic181

The ideal amount of milk to add to your coffee is influenced by individual preferences and the specific characteristics of the coffee drink being prepared. Factors such as the strength of the coffee, its flavour profile, and whether it's served hot or cold all play a role in determining the perfect milk-to-coffee ratio.

TasteAtlas, known for cataloguing traditional dishes, local ingredients, and authentic restaurants, recently sparked a debate with an Instagram post listing the coffee-to-milk ratios of popular caffeinated beverages. Some coffee aficionados were particularly offended by the inclusion of 'Latte', arguing that it should be referred to as 'Cafe Latte'. They pointed out that 'latte' simply means milk in Italian, and the correct term for the drink should be 'cafe latte', consisting of one part coffee to three parts milk.

Now, let's delve into some common general guidelines for adding milk to popular coffee beverages:

Coffee types
Photo: iStock/Sonya_illustration
  • Traditional coffee: A common ratio is 1/3 milk to 2/3 coffee.
  • Stronger coffee flavour: Use less milk, approximately 1/5 to 1/6 of the total volume.
  • Milder flavour: Use more milk, about 1/2 to 3/5 of the total volume.

Specific coffee drinks have their own milk ratios:

  1. Espresso: Little to no milk, usually topped with a thin layer of crema.
  2. Cappuccino: Equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk (1/3 each).
  3. Cafe Latte: One part espresso, three parts steamed milk, and a small amount of frothed milk (1/5 espresso, 3/5 steamed milk, 1/5 frothed milk).
  4. Macchiato: One or two shots of espresso "marked" with a small amount of milk.
  5. Cortado: Equal parts espresso and steamed milk (1:1 ratio).
  6. Mocha: Similar to a latte but with chocolate syrup or cocoa powder added (1/5 espresso, 3/5 steamed milk, 1/5 chocolate syrup).
  7. Flat White: One-third espresso and two-thirds steamed milk, minimal froth.
  8. Breve: One-third espresso and two-thirds steamed half-and-half (or milk and cream).
  9. Cafe au Lait: Equal parts coffee and scalded milk (1/2 coffee, 1/2 scalded milk).
  10. Vienna: Half coffee, half steamed milk topped with whipped cream, cinnamon, or cocoa powder.

For a regular cup of coffee with milk, start with a splash or a few tablespoons of milk and adjust according to your taste preference.

These are guidelines, and you can always adjust the amount of milk based on your personal taste and desired level of creaminess.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.