If you’re looking for a new sweet and exotic hot coffee beverage to try, café con miel is an excellent choice, but what is café miel? Let’s learn more.
As a coffee connoisseur, I’m always on the lookout for new and delicious ways to enjoy my morning (or afternoon) brew. Recently, I was turned onto café con miel – a Spanish coffee beverage that blends espresso, honey, whole milk, and ground cinnamon.
Needless to say, I was hooked. As someone who typically enjoys a good latte or mocha with a little extra sweetness, café miel was a delight. So, I had to learn more about it and share my findings with you. Here’s what I discovered.
What Is Café Con Miel?
The literal translation of this drink is “coffee with honey,” which is pretty self-explanatory. However, there’s a bit more to the recipe than just adding a few ounces of raw honey to your favorite espresso and stirring it.
First of all, this drink is traditionally made and enjoyed after a meal, making it a non-alcoholic digestif. It’s unclear when café miel was first invented or when it became a mainstay of Spanish culture, but it’s definitely commonplace today.
Typically, each ingredient is layered and then mixed until all the honey dissolves. So, you would start with honey on the bottom, fresh-brewed espresso on top (one or two shots, depending on your tolerance), and then steamed milk. You can then add a dash of cinnamon to give it a little extra zest.
Stir slowly and deliberately, and once the honey is fully mixed, drink up!
What I like about this coffee recipe is that there’s room for customization without ruining the core components. Basically, as long as you have espresso, steamed milk, and honey, you can dress up this beverage as much as you like.
Compared to other coffee drinks, this one is much smoother and richer than what I’m used to. Plus, when you use different flavorings, like vanilla extract or cardamom, the tasting profile gets kicked up a couple of notches. You might also be wondering, what does a Spanish latte contain?
How To Make Café Con Miel At Home
I’ll start by providing a very basic recipe and then discussing alternatives and add-ons to spice up your beverage as much as you like. This way, you can taste the original and then decide how (or if) you want to make changes. Check out our guide on the best Spanish coffee brands to make your brew more authentic.
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 oz whole milk
- Cinnamon to taste
How To Make Café Con Miel
Ideally, you’ll have an espresso machine at home so you can brew the perfect blend of coffee for this recipe. However, even if you only have a French press or drip coffee maker, those can work too.
I also recommend using a milk steamer or an electric kettle that allows you to set the correct temperature. This way, you don’t risk burning the milk by cooking it too long on the stovetop. If you’ve ever had coffee with burnt milk, you know it’s not very appetizing.
The original recipe just calls for steamed milk, but you can froth it if you like having a bit of foam on top. In this case, you’ll mix the coffee and honey first and then add the frothed milk and cinnamon.
Step 1: Make The Coffee
Brew some fresh espresso, either in a dedicated machine or a drip coffee maker.
Step 2: Steam The Milk
If you don’t have a milk steamer or electric kettle, you can use a saucepan and a stovetop. Make sure to cook it on low heat so you don’t scorch the milkfat and create a bitter, acrid taste.
Step 3: Combine Coffee & Honey
Put the honey into a mug or heat-resistant glass. When it’s still hot, pour the coffee on top of the honey.
Step 4: Add The Milk
Once the milk reaches 165°F, you can pour it into the coffee and honey mixture.
Step 5: Garnish & Serve
Sprinkle in the cinnamon. You can add as much or as little as you like, depending on how much you enjoy cinnamon.
Make sure to stir slowly enough so that the honey can dissolve without sloshing everything around. The resulting mixture should look like a regular latte. Stirring also helps the coffee cool down, so you can drink it a little faster.
Once you’ve tried the original café miel recipe, you may want to upgrade your coffee in a few different ways. Here are my top recommendations:
Use Non-Dairy Milk
Oat milk and almond milk are excellent alternatives, although they don’t have the same fat content as whole milk. So, if you want to use a milk frother, you’ll have to work a little harder to get the same foam consistency.
Coconut milk can also work, but I find that it alters the flavor a bit more than I’d like. So, if you’re already a fan of coconut milk in your coffee, I’d say go for it. Otherwise, it may be too much of an acquired taste.
Use Simple Syrup Instead Of Honey
Honey is delicious, but it also has a very distinct flavor. So, if you want your coffee to stand out more, you can swap the honey with simple sugar syrup. This way, you get the same sweetness and smoothness but without the unique honey flavor.
Alternatively, you can try multiple flavors of syrup and honey for different taste combinations. For example, cinnamon honey can enhance the cinnamon flavoring. Similarly, maple syrup can give your coffee a richer and more robust taste.
Feel free to experiment until you find something you like. I don’t prefer fruity flavors in my coffee, but if you do, you have tons of options available.
Add Vanilla Extract
Vanilla and espresso go together pretty well, so you can enhance your café miel by adding a splash of vanilla extract. You don’t need much to get the flavor, so make sure you don’t go overboard.
Add Different Spices
Cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and even brown sugar can all impact the overall taste and texture of your coffee. As with anything else, moderation is crucial so no one flavor overpowers the rest and overwhelms your tastebuds.
If you’re not sure which spices you’ll like, try them individually. I also recommend removing the cinnamon so it’s easier to see how much one spice affects the overall taste.
How To Get Café Con Miel At Coffee Shops
Depending on the types of coffee shops you frequent, you may or may not be able to get a café miel off the menu. Because this beverage is mostly enjoyed in Spain, it’s not as easy to find in the US.
However, there are some ways to get your fix, even if the results are exactly the same as what you can do at home. Here are some of my tactics:
Ordering A Starbucks Café Con Miel
In this case, you’ll need to order a café misto, which is half steamed milk and half brewed coffee. From there, you’ll just ask to add honey, a pump of vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon. However, since the vanilla flavoring is not the same as vanilla extract, you may want to skip the extra sweetener.
Ordering Café Miel At An Independent Coffee Shop
Typically, local baristas are a bit more lenient about how they make their coffee as long as you’re calm and polite about asking for it. I’ve found that if you just order a macchiato with extra milk and a spoonful of honey, you can get pretty much the same experience. You’ll need to add the cinnamon and stir everything yourself, but it’s still a good drink.