Starbucks Caffe Misto Recipe & Money-Saving Hack

Starbucks Caffe Misto is a popular menu item at the coffee chain. It is often confused with standard milk coffees and cappuccinos

In this article, I talk about the components of the Misto in greater depth. I’ll also reveal a few money-saving hacks and give you a copycat recipe to try at home. 

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Topics Explored

  1. What Is Caffe Misto?
  2. Money Saving Hack
  3. Recipe Tools & Ingredients
  4. Copycat Caffe Misto Recipe
  5. Caffè Misto Taste
  6. Commonly Confused Drinks
  7. More Questions

Starbucks Caffe Misto 101

The Caffe Misto is half a cup of brewed coffee topped with half a cup of steamed milk

If you’re new to Starbucks, the flavor of this coffee drink will vary, depending on what type of coffee you use. 

A darker roast will give off an intense and toasty flavor. On the other hand, a medium roast gives off a sweeter and more mellow note. 

Starbucks Caffe Misto Copycat

The Caffè Misto was invented in France. Its French name is cafe au lait, which basically means coffee with milk. 

The drink was originally served in larger cups, so drinkers could dip their pastries into the coffee. 

This drink is also popular in Germany and Poland. 

Starbucks Misto Hack

A Caffe Misto costs $3.65 until you realize you can get it for way cheaper!

Here’s a loophole I’ve used to get this drink for a lower price. 

Stir Milk Brew

Step 1

A lot of people don’t realize that Starbucks will give you 4 ounces of milk with every coffee order for no extra charge.

When it’s your turn to order, ask your barista for a grande drip coffee with steamed milk.  

Step 2

If your Barista tries to clarify your order, affirm that you would like a grande drip coffee with steamed milk and not the Misto

Step 3

You can also use the above hack with the Tea Misto by ordering tea with steamed milk.

Tools & Ingredients

You can easily make a Caffè Misto at home. All you need is some brewed coffee, milk, and the right tools. 

Here are the tools and ingredients you’ll need to make it at home. 

Steamed Milk Into Breve

Steam Wand

A steam wand heats up milk by gently warming it up with steam. This allows the milk to expand and form a creamy texture. 

If you don’t have a steam wand, you can gently heat your milk over a stove and use a milk frother. This will result in a lighter and more watery texture. 

Medium To Dark Roast

A Caffe Misto is usually made with medium or dark roast coffee. This is because a light roast tends to be more bright and generally doesn’t pair well with milk.  

Any coffee brand will work, but for similarity, I recommend any dark roast from Starbucks or the popular Pike Place medium roast


The original recipe for the Starbucks version calls for 2% milk. However, you can swap this for another type of milk you prefer

At this stage, keep in mind that plant milk is much harder to steam and foam, so stay away from lighter variations such as nut or rice milk. I find that Oatly’s Barista Blend is the easiest plant-based option to use. 

Starbucks Caffe Misto Recipe

Now that the important equipment is covered, here is a good copycat Caffè Misto recipe. 

Although the drink is easy to make, it takes practice to perfect. So don’t be discouraged if your coffee doesn’t taste right the first time.

Starbucks Caffe Misto Recipe

Copycat Starbucks Misto Recipe

Yield: 1 serving (~10 oz)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

The Starbucks Caffè Misto recipe only requires two main ingredients and a sweetener of your choice. 


  • Brewed Coffee: ½ cup
  • 2% Milk: ½ cup
  • Sweetener (optional)


  1. First brew ½ a cup of coffee using a method of your choice (you can use a coffee maker, Aeropress, Hario or even a French Press).Brewed Coffee
  2. While the coffee is brewing, start prepping your espresso machine’s steam wand. Remember to purge it before use.Steam Wand Purging
  3. Grab cold milk from the fridge. Measure out about ½ cup or 4 fluid oz of milk and empty it into a frothing pitcher.Cold Milk Fridge
  4. Begin the steaming process to produce nicely textured milk with microfoam. Remember, we are trying to replicate Starbucks’ quality! Milk & Steam Wand
  5. Turn off the steam wand and pour the brewed coffee into your favorite glass or mug. If you prefer it sweet, now is the time to add your sweetener.Add Milk To Misto
  6. Lastly, top off the brewed coffee with freshly steamed milk (there should be a thin layer of microfoam on top). Your Caffe Misto is now ready.Caffe Misto


I recommend splurging a little on the beans, since quality and type of coffee will dictate how your drink tastes.

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What Does A Caffe Misto Taste Like?

Caffe Misto


The Caffe Misto is one of Starbucks’ lower calorie items, with a grande being only 110 calories. This could be lowered even further by opting for skim or almond milk. 

Each grande cup also contains 10 grams of sugar and 4 grams of fat, with no additional hidden calories. 


Its appearance isn’t anything special, since the drink is just coffee and milk.

Contrary to regular coffee the drink has a velvety texture. This is due to the steamed milk and microfoam. 

Unlike many of the other drinks at Starbucks, the Misto doesn’t have a physical feature that stands out.


As mentioned above, its flavor will largely depend on the type of coffee you use. I usually ask for a medium roast, which, when combined with milk, makes a smooth taste with a hint of sweetness. 

Caffe Misto is also a popular breakfast coffee. I recommend pairing it with a hearty homemade breakfast.

The drink isn’t as milky as a latte, so skip this drink if you prefer your coffee creamy. 

Commonly Confused With The Misto

Since the Caffè Misto is just coffee and milk, it is commonly confused with other milk coffees such as the latte, cappuccino, and flat white. 

Here, I highlight the differences between each drink. 

1. Coffee With Milk

Coffee With Milk

How Mistos Are Different:

All Caffe Mistos are coffees with milk, but not all coffees with milk are Caffe Mistos. 

This is because a Caffè Misto requires a specific one-to-one ratio of brewed coffee and milk. 

The milk in a Caffè Misto must also be steamed, which isn’t the case for many milk coffees. 


  • One-to-one ratio of brewed coffee and milk
  • Must use steamed milk

2. Caffè Latte

Piccolo Latte

How Mistos Are Different:

Unlike the Caffè Misto, a latte is an espresso-based drink. Both coffee drinks have different textures and tastes. 

When compared to the creamier and more potent latte, the Caffè Misto has a lighter and less viscous mouthfeel. 


  • Uses brewed coffee, not espresso
  • Lighter mouthfeel

3. Flat White

Flat White

How Mistos Are Different:

The flat white and Caffè Misto contain very similar ingredients – coffee, steamed milk, and milk foam. 

The only difference between the two is that the flat white is espresso-based. The drink is prepared with at least a strong espresso shot, steamed milk, and milk foam. 


  • Uses brewed coffee, not espresso

4. Cappuccino


How Mistos Are Different:

The cappuccino is also espresso-based, so by default, it is much thicker than the Misto. 

Also, since a cappuccino is generally made with two espresso shots, it contains a lot more caffeine than its brewed coffee counterpart. 


  • Uses brewed coffee, not espresso
  • Less milk froth
  • Tastes less strong


Starbucks Caffe Misto

Although the Starbucks Caffe Misto is one of the simplest menu items, it is also one of the most specific. 

The 1-1 ratio is the secret sauce to the coffee’s taste and mouthfeel.

If you don’t mind how your coffee is made but want a Caffe Misto, don’t forget to use the hack above to save some money. 

More Questions

What Is In A Starbucks Misto?

The drink is simple and easily customized by your choice of coffee, milk, and additional flavors. (1)

If you enjoy a thick, smoky and bitter mouthfeel, go for the darker roast such as the Sumatra with whole milk.

Otherwise, stick to the medium roast for a well-balanced taste. 

Is Starbucks Caffe Misto healthy?

Since the Misto contains only two ingredients,  it’s one of the healthiest drinks offered by Starbucks. 

The drink contains only 110 calories and contains a fairly low sugar and fat content. This only applies if you don’t add any additional sugar or pumps of flavored syrup to your Misto. 

Is Starbucks Caffe Misto good?

A Caffè Misto has a very plain and predictable taste. You’ll be able to taste milk and coffee without any bells and whistles of additional ingredients or toppings.

I don’t think you can ever go wrong with simple, since you do end up with what you expect. 

The secret to making a good Caffè Misto is to use good quality brewed coffee. So when DIYing, be sure to use beans from a reputable roaster. 

What coffee is in Caffè Misto?

A Caffè Misto is made with brewed coffee. The brewing method isn’t important, so you can use a standard coffee machine, Chemex, V60, or even a French press! 

While any type of brewed coffee works, I recommend using a medium to dark roast to reduce the drink’s acidity. 

Verified Sources

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