Hungarian Coffee Melange

coffee melange

The first time I had a melange was in Budapest a few years ago. This Hungarian layered coffee drink is served hot and is a cross between a cappuccino and a latte. If done right and with a little patience, you can easily recreate this smooth coffee drink with beautiful layers of steamed milk, espresso, and golden-colored honey.

The coffee culture has long been a part of the fabric of Budapest cafés for centuries. The Hungarian capital has grand coffee houses to rival those of Vienna giving visitors a taste of fin-de-siècle opulence and grandeur. Frequented by Budapest’s literary and artistic elite,  writers, poets, composers, and artists would meet to debate and create over coffee.

We were drawn into these beautiful cafes for coffee and cakes such as the rich “dobos torte” or doberge cake as we refer to this multilayered cake in New Orleans.

If you ask most Hungarians how they sweeten their coffee, they won’t say sugar or stevia. The staple in Hungarian homes is honey. The honey used to sweeten Hungarian coffee and tea is lighter in color and less viscous than the typical bottled honey in the US.

You will only need a few ingredients to make a melange. The first ingredient is milk. I prefer to use whole milk to make a melange because it froths so well. Next, you can choose your favorite coffee. Make it strong. I use a decaf espresso to make my melange.

Finally and most importantly, you will need at least one tablespoon of honey.

I use my immersion blender to froth the heated milk. You can also use a handheld mixer or a frother if you have one.

Make the melange in a clear glass coffee cup. I make mine in an Irish coffee cup. It is tall and narrow and just the right size to layer the honey, milk, and coffee. Once you have assembled this layered latte-like coffee drink, stop and admire your handiwork.

Then stir and enjoy the sweet delight that you will receive from this honey and coffee union.

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