Wondering what’s a macchiato? Want to learn about the difference between a macchiato and a latte?
In this article, you’ll discover everything about this espresso drink: macchiato definition, origin, different types of drinks, caffeine content, and much more.
Macchiato is a single or double espresso topped with a dollop of heated, foamed milk, and served in a small cup.
A traditional macchiato is about 1 1/4 ounce – one shot (1 ounce) of espresso with a small amount of milk (1 to 2 teaspoons) that is mostly steamed, with slight foam so there is a visible mark. When prepared with a double shot, they are usually around 60ml (2 ounces).
In Italy, it is referred to as Caffe Macchiato.
What does macchiato mean
The name of this coffee takes on the Italian word “macchiato”, meaning mark, stain, or spot. In this case, the “mark” is a dollop of milk on top of the espresso.
One explanation of the drink’s origin is that baristas needed to distinguish between plain espresso and espresso with milk, so the waiters could tell the difference. They would mark the coffee that had the milk.
Is macchiato coffee
Correct, traditional macchiato (also known as espresso macchiato) is an espresso based drink, so it’s a type of a coffee drink.
Latte macchiato, on the other hand, is primarily made of steamed milk. The latte macchiato is milk marked with just a small amount of espresso.
What’s in a macchiato
Macchiatos are made with single or double espresso shots, and just a dollop of heated, textured milk. There are no other ingredients in a classic version of this drink.
Starbucks is famous for its caramel macchiatos. What’s in a caramel macchiato? Freshly steamed milk, vanilla-flavored syrup, espresso, and it’s topped with a caramel drizzle.
Does a macchiato have caffeine
Yes, a macchiato has caffeine. A single shot has about 75mg of caffeine, and a double shot macchiato has about 150mg of caffeine.
Latte macchiato has significantly less caffeine than espresso macchiato, compared to its size. Tall latte macchiato at Starbucks (12 ounces) has the same amount of caffeine as doppio espresso macchiato (only 1.6 ounces) – 150mg of caffeine per serving.
How to order macchiatos
If you’re ordering caffe macchiato in Italy, or from a specialty coffee house, you will get a classic macchiato – just espresso with a tiny amount of milk.
If you’re at the coffee chain, however, you will need to specify “espresso macchiato” in order to get a classic macchiato.
You will also see these terms and can use them to order your favorites:
Latte macchiato: Also known as long macchiato, this drink is primarily made of steamed milk. A latte macchiato is milk marked with espresso.
The most popular variation is the caramel macchiato.
Doppio macchiato: Doppio macchiato from Starbucks is prepared with two espresso shots and a dollop of milk. It’s 1.6 fl oz and has 150mg of caffeine.
Iced latte macchiato: They are prepared with espresso shots, whole milk, and served over ice.
Iced caramel macchiato: One of the most popular Starbucks drinks is prepared with espresso, milk, vanilla-flavored syrup, caramel syrup and served over ice.
Cloud macchiato: Starbucks cloud macchiato is a twist on the original iced macchiatos. It’s made with espresso and fluffy whipped cold foam rather than regular liquid milk.
Macchiato vs latte vs cappuccino
Macchiato vs latte
The main difference is the amount of milk used in the drink and its size. While a macchiato has just a tiny amount of milk on top, a latte is made with a significant amount of milk.
The usual ratio for a latte is 1:2 or 1:3 espresso to milk. The milk is blended with espresso while pouring, so you get a very subtle, slightly sweet flavor. Macchiatos have a strong espresso taste with a touch of sweetness.
While macchiato is usually between 1 – 2 ounces, a normal size for a latte these days is 8 ounces or larger.
Macchiato vs cappuccino
The difference between a macchiato and a cappuccino is again, the size and how much milk is used.
A cappuccino is a mixture of espresso and steamed milk. A traditional Italian cappuccino is generally a single (or sometimes a double) espresso shot, topped with equal parts of steamed milk and milk froth.
A well-made cappuccino has three layers – espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth, and has incredible flavor and texture. It has a bold coffee taste and some sweetness from naturally occurring lactose sugar in milk.
The sizes for cappuccinos vary from place to place. Italian cappuccino is traditionally served in 150 – 180 ml (5 to 6 ounce) cups. Coffeehouse chains are serving cappuccinos in sizes up to 20 ounces.
Macchiato vs cortado
While macchiato is mostly espresso, a cortado is made with 2 ounces espresso and 2 ounces flat steamed milk. Typically, a cortado is served in a 4-ounce glass, rather than a ceramic cup.
How to make a macchiato
Since it’s an espresso-based drink, you will need an espresso machine to make macchiatos.
What is the best macchiato machine? Any espresso machine that allows you to pull espresso shots and froth milk. You can even make macchiatos with capsule espresso machines like Nespresso.
To make an espresso macchiato, measure out beans for a single shot (7 – 10 grams, depending on the size of your portafilter). Grind the beans, tamp, and place the portafilter in the place. Pull out a shot (20 – 25 seconds). Steam a small amount of milk and top the espresso with 1 – 2 teaspoons of steamed milk.
If you want to make a latte macchiato, lightly froth 8 to 10 ounces of milk, and pull out a single shot.
To make a macchiato with a capsule espresso machine, brew one espresso pod. Heat a small amount of milk and top the espresso. Or, froth or heat 8 to 10 ounces of milk, and brew 1 espresso pod for a homemade latte macchiato.
You now know everything about macchiatos!
Choose espresso macchiato when you want a stronger drink with a touch of sweetness, or latte macchiato when you want a bigger, milky drink with espresso highlights and some caffeine.