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MarkEsq
10-16-2008, 12:22 AM
If you are in a cafe in Paris and want to order coffee, with milk, what do you ask for? I've heard "cafe creme," "cafe au lait," and "cafe avec lait."

Thanks!

Sarpedon
10-16-2008, 01:24 AM
In France, a cafe au lait is a very different drink than one would expect. basically, it has a lot of milk in it. its like coffee made with milk rather than water.

what you would say specifically is unknown to me, not being a coffee drinker.

And if you order a hot chocolate in Russia, you get a cup filled with melted chocolate. (:D)

And if you order a 'dry' martini in Germany, they will give you three of them.

Ms Hollands
10-16-2008, 03:53 PM
I don't drink espresso coffee with milk, so I'm not entirely sure what the difference is, but I think a café au lait (café latté maybe a term you're more used to it being called) is just a bigger version of a café créme. I'll check in the next few days with someone who knows, but I'm not sure if the French know themselves: sometimes, you get milk on the side, sometimes it's hot, sometimes it's not.

You also have a grand créme, which is a bigger version of a café créme. So, how would this differ from a café au lait? Who knows. I'll find out for you.

A café avec lait is just like saying "coffee with milk" without being a typical menu item. The person serving you is likely to hear your accent and expect you to want milk even if you don't ask for it: I've been given café au lait more than once when asking for a café (this normally signifies an espresso if a French person asks for it).

qwerty
10-16-2008, 04:02 PM
As Sarpedon says, cafe au lait is made with milk. It's actually more an American thing than French.

If you order cafe creme, it would usually come as a black coffee and, in a cafe, you'd most likely get a mini plastic carton of creme (or a jug of creme in a posh joint). It's not actually cream or milk, but it's what the French put in their coffee. Some places may serve a small jug of steamed milk instead.

Café Noisette is served with some milk or cream in it, which gives it the colour of a nut.

Coffee is usually served in a tiny cup and is very strong. If you want a big cup with watered down coffee, you'd ask for cafe longe.

qwerty
10-16-2008, 04:10 PM
Just found this.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A883497

Ms Hollands
10-16-2008, 07:53 PM
Okay, I just asked French person #1. Her response:

Café créme is with cold cream.
Café au lait is with milk, normally hot, but sometimes cold.

That is the only difference according to her.

ManyAk
10-16-2008, 09:59 PM
Usually, the milk is already on the table when you're about to order something. If not, someone will bring some to you WITH the coffee.

I've never ever had to mention the milk when I ordered coffee.

Ms Hollands
10-17-2008, 01:23 AM
Two more French explanations, exactly the same as the last: one has milk, one has cream, how they're served depends where you are.

ideagirl
10-17-2008, 05:05 AM
If you are in a cafe in Paris and want to order coffee, with milk, what do you ask for? I've heard "cafe creme," "cafe au lait," and "cafe avec lait."


"Cafe avec lait" is incorrect. Doesn't exist. People will understand what you mean if you order that, but it's not actually the name of anything.

Folks have already weighed in on what the difference between the other two is. But just based on the time I lived in France (in three different regions, so this is probably not a regional thing), it's basically the same thing; the difference is that what people order in cafes is a "cafe creme," while what they make themselves at home is a "cafe au lait."

The fine distinctions between milk vs. cream, steamed milk vs. not steamed, etc., depend on the cafe you go to rather than on what term you use. A posh cafe will probably make a cafe creme with hot cream. A less-posh cafe will use milk, because it's cheaper. At home, people use milk; the coffee they make themselves for breakfast--which, by the way, they usually drink out of bowls, unlike cafes, which use cups--is thus a cafe au lait.

BTW, people don't generally order "un cafe noir" or "un cafe creme"; they just say "un petit noir/un grand noir" or "un petit creme/un grand creme." The word "coffee" is understood; no need to say it. But you do need to specify the size--petit is a little espresso-sized cup, while grand is a size that looks more normal to Americans.

And for the record, I never saw little single-serving milk containers served with coffee in France, and the first year I was there I was REALLY poor, so if they were typical of low-end cafes I certainly would've seen them... I spent most of my time nursing one petit creme in the least expensive cafes I could find. Maybe if you go to some takeout place late at night, and they happen to sell coffee in addition to gyros or whatever their main fare is, they might have milk in packets. But generally, to serve milk that way in France... sacrilege! Even at the mini-cafes in some university buildings, where they sometimes serve hot coffee in plastic cups (?!), they put the milk in the coffee behind the counter and then hand it to you. As opposed to giving you packets of milk.

FYI, the accent on the first e in "creme" is an accent grave (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grave_accent), the backwards one.

ideagirl
10-17-2008, 05:08 AM
Usually, the milk is already on the table when you're about to order something. If not, someone will bring some to you WITH the coffee.

I've never ever had to mention the milk when I ordered coffee.

Where are you talking about? American diners and similar establishments often have milk on the table, but French places don't. I suppose there's always room for exceptions, but I don't ever recall seeing milk on the table. They bring what you order, including the milk; most of the time there's not even sugar on the table--they bring you sugarcubes wrapped in paper with your coffee.

Sarita
10-17-2008, 05:11 AM
I always order mine as "Cafe creme" and it's most like what I have here everyday, which is a latte. It's served with milk in it and it comes to my table very hot, no foam. This leads me to believe the milk is warmed and not steamed/frothed. Not sure if it makes a difference, but I tend to haunt the Montreuil neighborhood when I visit and that's where I take my coffee in the am.

And I'm with Ideagirl. I've never had milk or sugar on the table. They bring it out, if necessary.

Ms Hollands
10-17-2008, 02:12 PM
Oh, also, they don't have bowls of sugar. Sugar cubes are all the rage, or single-serve paper-covered 'shots' of sugar is what you get with your coffee.

I've seen little jugs of milk served up for friends who have ordered some sort of white coffee, but never those little disposable pots.

And judging by what everyone else has said, it's back to my original idea that even the French don't differentiate and all have their own standards when it comes to what they serve and how they serve it.

ManyAk
10-17-2008, 06:25 PM
Where are you talking about? American diners and similar establishments often have milk on the table, but French places don't. I suppose there's always room for exceptions, but I don't ever recall seeing milk on the table. They bring what you order, including the milk; most of the time there's not even sugar on the table--they bring you sugarcubes wrapped in paper with your coffee.

I live in Quebec and the VAST majority of the places where you can order coffee already have the milk for it on the tables.

IceCreamEmpress
10-17-2008, 11:46 PM
I live in Quebec and the VAST majority of the places where you can order coffee already have the milk for it on the tables.

The first poster was asking about cafes in Paris, though.

ideagirl
10-18-2008, 09:23 PM
I live in Quebec and the VAST majority of the places where you can order coffee already have the milk for it on the tables.

Oh, ok. I was talking about France. No milk (or sugar) on the tables there.

ManyAk
10-19-2008, 07:02 AM
I thought it would be the same thing over there. Sorry all, my mistake.

:Shrug:

Mike Martyn
10-19-2008, 07:23 PM
Here's another question for the French. Why do you like Gerry Lewis?


"Hey Lady!!!!"

Ms Hollands
10-19-2008, 10:36 PM
Okay, and for the Survey Says for French person #4:

"I don't know. I would say they're the same thing".