Café Noisette: The Sweet and Nutty French Coffee Delight

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Coffee lovers are always in search of new and unique drinks to indulge their taste buds in. French coffee has always been at the top of the list for its richness and aroma. One of the most popular French coffee varieties is Café Noisette, which translates to “hazelnut coffee.”

In this article, we will explore the history, ingredients, brewing methods, and serving suggestions of this sweet and nutty coffee delight.

Café Noisette
Café Noisette | Photo by Andres Vera on Unsplash

Key Takeaways:

  • Café Noisette is a coffee variety that originated in France and is known for its nutty and creamy flavor.
  • It is made by adding a small amount of espresso to steamed milk, creating a unique balance of bitterness and sweetness.
  • Café Noisette is often served as a small, indulgent treat and contains around 40-60 calories per serving.
  • Café Noisette can be made vegan-friendly by using plant-based milk

What is a Café Noisette?

Café Noisette (pronounced ka-fey nwah-zet) is a French coffee drink that consists of a single espresso shot with a small amount of steamed milk added to it.

The word “noisette” means hazelnut in French, but in this context, it refers to the hazelnut color of the drink. The café noisette is sometimes referred to colloquially as an “une noisette,” which translates roughly to “an espresso shot with a dash of cream.”

This espresso drink is typically served in an espresso cup and is often accompanied by a croissant on the side, making it a classic French breakfast.

The Origin of Café Noisette

Café Noisette originated in Lyon, a city in the east-central part of France. It’s believed that Café Noisette originated in the early 19th century when French & American soldiers used to mix their coffee with hot milk to make it less bitter.

The addition of milk also gave the coffee a lighter color and a sweeter taste. Over time, the recipe evolved to become the Café Noisette that we know today.

Ingredients

To make Café Noisette, you will need two primary ingredients: espresso and milk. The espresso is made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans. The milk used in Café Noisette is usually steamed, giving it a creamy texture and a sweet taste.

The ratio of espresso to milk can vary depending on personal preference, but it is typically a one-to-one ratio.

Cafe Noisette Definition
Café noisette | Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

Café Noisette is milder and less intense than straight espresso, making it a perfect choice for those who want to experience the rich flavor of espresso without the intense bitterness. Café Noisette can be made vegan-friendly by using non-dairy milk such as soy, almond, or oat milk.

Understanding the Differences Between Café Noisette, Macchiato, and Cortado

Café Noisette can be compared to other espresso-based coffee drinks such as Latte Macchiato, Espresso con Panna, Espresso Macchiato, Cortado, and Caffe Americano.

However, the primary difference between Café Noisette and these drinks is the amount of milk used in the preparation.

  • Café Noisette: A shot of espresso with a small amount of steamed milk added to it, resulting in a light brown color. It is milder and less intense than straight espresso.
  • Espresso Macchiato: A shot of espresso with a small amount of foamed milk added to it, creating a layer of milk foam on top of the espresso. This drink is stronger than a Café Noisette and has a bolder espresso flavor.
  • Cortado: A shot of espresso with a roughly equal amount of steamed milk added to it, resulting in a 1:1 ratio of espresso to milk. This drink is similar to a flat white but with a smaller volume of milk. It has a smooth, balanced flavor with a slightly creamy texture.
Coffee DrinkEspressoMilkStrengthFlavor
Café NoisetteYesSmall amount of steamed milkMilderLess intense than straight espresso
MacchiatoYesSmall amount of foamed milkStrongerBolder espresso flavor
CortadoYesRoughly equal amount of steamed milkModerateSmooth, balanced with slightly creamy texture
Café Noisette vs. Macchiato vs. Cortado comparison table

Overall, the main differences between these drinks are the amount and texture of the steamed milk added to the espresso, as well as the resulting strength and flavor of the drink.

Brewing Method

Café Noisette is brewed using a traditional espresso machine. To make a Café Noisette, a shot of espresso is pulled into a demitasse cup, which is then topped up with steamed milk.

The ratio of espresso to milk varies, depending on personal preference, but it is typically a one-to-one ratio.

Pulling Espresso Shots
Pulling espresso shots | Photo by Andreas Behr on Unsplash

This is the Breville espresso machine my wife and I own. We bought it used on Facebook Marketplace for $500. Still a big investment but we use it multiple times per day, so it’s been worth every penny.

Serving Suggestions

Café Noisette is traditionally served in a small demitasse cup, which is designed to hold a shot of espresso. The cup is then filled with steamed milk, leaving a small layer of crema (a frothy layer of espresso) on top.

Café Noisette is typically enjoyed as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon treat, and it pairs well with sweet pastries and desserts.

Nutritional Value

Café Noisette is a relatively low-calorie coffee variety. A single shot of espresso contains only about two calories, while steamed milk adds a few more calories, depending on the amount used.

The total calorie count of a Café Noisette is around 20-30 calories, making it a guilt-free indulgence.

Health Benefits

Café Noisette has several health benefits that make it a great addition to a healthy diet. The caffeine in espresso can help improve alertness, focus, and mood1.

Studies have shown that doses of 200 to 250 mg of caffeine elevate mood (Lieberman et al., 1987b; Swift and Tiplady, 1988) and that these effects can last for up to 3 h. 

National Library of Medicine

It may also have a beneficial effect on cognitive function, memory, and reaction time. However, it’s essential to consume Café Noisette in moderation, as excessive caffeine intake can cause side effects like anxiety, jitters, and insomnia2.

Espresso Vs Cafe Noisette Grand
Espresso vs Cafe Noisette Grand | Photo by Karolina Kołodziejczak on Unsplash

Variations

Café Noisette has several variations, depending on the region and personal preference. In addition to Café Noisette, there are other popular French coffee varieties, including Café Expresso, Café Allongé, Café Crème, and Grand Crème.

Café Crème is made by adding hot milk to a single espresso shot, resulting in a creamy and indulgent coffee beverage.

Some of the popular variations include:

  • Café Noisette Noir: This is a variation of Café Noisette that uses black coffee instead of espresso. It is typically served with a small amount of milk or cream.
  • Café Noisette Grand: This is a variation of Café Noisette that uses a double shot of espresso instead of a single shot. It is typically served with steamed milk or cream.
  • Café Noisette Caramel: This is a variation of Café Noisette that uses caramel syrup or sauce to add sweetness and flavor to the coffee.

In North America, coffee houses offer a wide variety of French coffee drinks, including Café Noisette, and French-inspired drinks such as a Café Tobio. A Café Tobio is a little bit of hot milk and sugar cubes added to a single espresso shot.


How to Make a Café Noisette at Home

Making Café Noisette at home is relatively easy and requires only a few ingredients. Here’s how to make Café Noisette at home:

Ingredients:

  • 1 shot of espresso
  • 1/4 cup of steamed milk

Instructions:

  1. Pull a shot of espresso using an espresso machine and pour it into a demitasse cup.
  2. Steam 1/4 cup of milk using a milk frother or steamer until it’s warm and frothy.
  3. Pour the steamed milk into the demitasse cup, filling it to the top.
  4. Spoon some of the milk foam on top of the milk.
  5. Serve and enjoy.
Cafe Noisette

Café Noisette: The Sweet and Nutty French Coffee Delight

Kelsey Todd
Making Café Noisette at home is relatively easy and requires only a few ingredients.
5 from 1 vote
Total Time 2 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine French
Servings 1 person
Calories 100 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Pull a shot of espresso using an espresso machine and pour it into a demitasse cup.
    2 ounces espresso
  • Steam 1/4 cup of milk using a milk frother or steamer until it’s warm and frothy.
    8 ounce whole milk
  • Pour the steamed milk into the demitasse cup, filling it to the top.
  • Spoon some of the milk foam on top of the milk.

Nutrition

Serving: 8ouncesCalories: 100kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 6gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2.5gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 75mgSugar: 8gVitamin A: 6IUCalcium: 20mg
Keyword Café Noisette, espresso
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Where to Find the Best Café Noisette

Café Noisette can be found in most French cafes and coffee shops. However, some places are known for their exceptional Café Noisette.

A Couple In France Enjoying A Cafe Noisette 1024X1024 1
Café noisette et amour, ahhh!

Some of the best places to find Café Noisette include:


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Café Noisette a sweet coffee?

Café Noisette is a mildly sweet coffee, thanks to the addition of steamed milk. It has a nutty and creamy flavor with a hint of bitterness from the espresso.

How many calories are in a Café Noisette?

A single shot of espresso contains only about two calories, while steamed milk adds a few more calories, depending on the
amount used. Overall, a Café Noisette typically contains around 40-60 calories.

Can I make Café Noisette without an espresso machine?

While it’s best to use an espresso machine to make Café Noisette, you can still make it at home without one. Simply use a strong coffee or even instant coffee, and mix it with steamed milk.

Is Café Noisette vegan-friendly?

Yes, Café Noisette can be made vegan-friendly by using plant-based milk such as soy, almond, or oat milk instead of dairy milk.

Is Café Noisette healthier than regular coffee?

While Café Noisette does have a slightly lower caffeine content than regular coffee, it’s still important to consume it in moderation. Additionally, the nutritional value of Café Noisette depends on the type and amount of milk used.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Café Noisette is a popular French coffee variety with a unique balance of sweetness and bitterness. It originated in the early 19th century and has evolved into the sweet and nutty delight that we know and love today. Whether you prefer your coffee with a little bit of milk or without, Café Noisette is a great choice for coffee lovers who want to experience the rich and indulgent flavor of espresso with a little bit of added sweetness.

References

  1. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research; Marriott BM, editor. Food Components to Enhance Performance: An Evaluation of Potential Performance-Enhancing Food Components for Operational Rations. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1994. 20, Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209050/
  2. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research; Marriott BM, editor. Food Components to Enhance Performance: An Evaluation of Potential Performance-Enhancing Food Components for Operational Rations. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1994. 20, Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209050/
Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
With over two decades in the coffee industry, Kelsey is a seasoned professional barista with roots in Seattle and Santa Barbara. Accredited by The Coffee Association of America and a member of The Baristas Guild, he combines practical expertise with a profound understanding of coffee's history and cultural significance. Kelsey tries his best to balance family time with blogging time and fails miserably.

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