Some people use latte and cafe au lait interchangeably. A latte, though lovely, is made with espresso and steamed/frothed milk. The cafe au lait is much more straightforward: simply mix one part hot strong (almost double-strength) coffee with hot scaled milk. Some people prefer to use a chicory coffee like Cafe du Monde from New Orleans. We like use Community Coffee's Between Roast* when we can get it. My mother is from Louisiana, so when we visit her parents we stockpile our favorite brand of coffee. The grocery store price is $2 more per pound in the Memphis area. It is still affordable just a bit more than we want to pay for our daily grind. When we're out of the Louisiana stash, we substitute Yuban's** Dark Roast.
An afternoon cafe au lait is a "having a hard day" ritual for me. It's a nice pick me up but not so involved that I have to take extra time to make it. I hope you'll enjoy yours, and it will make you feel better when you need it, like I did this afternoon.
*You can buy Community Coffee online! Go here! When I was in college, I used to get classmates from Louisiana to bring it back for me. Wish I'd known about online coffee then- if it was even available 10 years ago!
**Yuban coffee was specified in a 1974 recipe for homemade kahlua in the Natchitoches (pronounced Nak-o-dish, not Nag-a-do-ches, as the town in Texas is pronounced), LA, Cane River Cuisine, published by the Service League of Natchitoches. It is my favorite cookbook for old fashioned regional favorites like real gumbo, old fashioned cocktails (milk punch, anyone?), and divinity.