Despite the rather annoying trend rampant in certain chains of coffee shops; traditional Cafe Au Lait is made with scalded milk, not steamed. New Orleans style Cafe Au Lait is typically a dark roast, brewed strong and often contains chicory. Below is a recipe for Cafe Au Lait as given to me by Chuck Taggart:
6 rounded tablespoons dark roast New Orleans coffee with chicory (Community, French Market, CDM, Union, etc.)
6 cups water
6 cups milk
Bring the water almost to a boil, to a temperature of 204-208 degrees F. Using a drip-style coffeemaker with filter, pour a small amount of the water over the coffee grounds to dampen them, then wait 30 seconds. Pour more water over the grounds until the upper pot container is full. Allow to drain, then repeat until all the water is used.
Scald, do NOT boil, the milk. Pour coffee into warmed large mugs, then add the milk. For a dramatic flourish, pour them together from their individual serving pots from about 2 feet over the cup, being careful that they stream down at the same rate, and being even more careful not to pour it into the guest's lap.
YIELD: 12 cups of the best coffee in the world