What Is a Macchiato?

7 min read FEB 17, 2022

A Macchiato is a strong and flavorful espresso made with steamed or foamed milk.

A macchiato is also known as a caffe macchiato or espresso macchiato.

It’s an espresso drink with a small amount of milk. The milk is usually foamed or steamed for a slight change of flavor from a neat espresso.

This fabulous drink is usually served in a small espresso cup (demitasse). It’s also much stronger than other coffees like cappuccinos or flat whites.

But is a macchiato the same as a latte? What makes it so special and different from other coffees? In this article, we’ll have a look at the origins of the macchiato and why it’s so awesome.

What This Article Covers:

Where Does a Macchiato Come From?

The macchiato originates in Italy. The word “macchiato” means “stained,” or “marked.” This is due to the little bit of milk that’s added into the rich brown espresso coffee. The small amount of milk creates a white foaming spot at the top of the drink.

A macchiato is perfect for a morning or afternoon coffee. 

What Are the Two Main Types of Macchiatos?

There are two different types of macchiatos. The latte macchiato and the espresso macchiato.what's a macchiato

Latte Macchiato

If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, the latte macchiato is for you. It’s sweeter than an espresso macchiato. It’s also layered with milk. It has a milder sweeter flavor due to the added sugar and the higher milk content.

This macchiato is served in a long, tall glass, unlike the espresso macchiato which is served in a shot glass or small porcelain cup.

Espresso Macchiato

An espresso macchiato is also known as the traditional macchiato. A shot or half a shot of espresso is slightly diluted with 1-2 teaspoons of foamy or steamed milk. This spot of milk “stains” the dark espresso, hence the name ‘macchiato.’

This macchiato has a high ratio of espresso to milk.

What Is the Difference Between a Latte and A Latte Macchiato?

A latte macchiato is made differently from a normal latte.

When making latte macchiato, the steamed milk is added first, then the shot or shots of espresso is added and finally topped off with steamy frothy milk. Regular lattes are made in reverse. The first espresso, then steamed milk is added, and finally, a top layer of frothed milk is placed at the top.

What Is the Caffeine Content of The Macchiato?

Both the latte macchiato caffeine content and the espresso macchiato caffeine content are low.

The espresso macchiato and the latte macchiato use half as much caffeine as a regular coffee drink.

What’s the difference between a Macchiato and a Café Latte?

At times it’s difficult to differentiate the subtle differences between different espressos.

A latte is incredibly creamy. It’s a combination of espresso and steamed milk. It’s then topped off with a delectable layer of rich foamy milk.what's in a macchiatoThe macchiato differs here in that it uses a minimal amount of milk. It’s only topped with a drop of foamed or steamed milk. 

The goal is for the flavor of the espresso to remain the dominant taste. This drink is perfect if you find a plain espresso too strong, but a cappuccino slightly too weak. It’s the go-between that you need.

What’s the Difference Between a Macchiato and an Americano?

The americano coffee is stronger than the macchiato coffee. They are fairly similar, having the same origin. Surprisingly, even Americano coffee comes from Italy.

Macchiato was created by Italians, whereas the Americano coffee was created by American soldiers stationed in Italy during the Second World War.

American troops wanted something similar to the filter coffee they’d gotten used to at home, but Italians had never drunk large cups of black coffee like that. Making the Americano requires one part of espresso and two parts of hot water.

The Americano has the same amount of caffeine as any drink made with espresso since it’s just a shot of coffee diluted with warm water.

How Do You Make a Macchiato?

Wondering how to make a macchiato? Making a classic espresso macchiato is simple.

Firstly, let’s start with the ingredients. When making a macchiato you’ll need coffee beans and a small amount of water.

Measure out your coffee beans for a single shot, roughly ½ an ounce. Grind your coffee beans, tamp and place the portafilter into the right place. Then you pull out a shot, which should take 20-25 seconds.

Steam a small amount of milk. Once steamed, take 1-2 teaspoons of milk and top off your espresso.

Because the macchiato is made with a reduced amount of milk, it has a stronger flavor than other coffee drinks.

What Is the Best Way to Drink a Macchiato?

How do you drink a macchiato? Once you’ve placed a dollop of steamed milk on top of the espresso, it’s best to drink your macchiato immediately. Because the drink is quite bitter, you can add a touch of sugar or cinnamon to the top for added sweetness.

If you like sweetness and a macchiato, a caramel macchiato is another great alternative, like the latte macchiato. It contains the usual espresso and steamed milk but adds organic vanilla syrup and caramel sauce. If this sounds good to you, take a look at our delicious Caramel Macchiato Coffee Beans so you can make it easily at home.

what is macchiato

Some people get confused and wonder whether you’re supposed to mix a macchiato.

The answer is no. Each ingredient is added separately and is meant to be sipped as it was prepared. Mixing all the ingredients together will defeat the purpose of separating the ingredients, and will not taste as delicious as it was intended to be. 

Instead of giving you a macchiato, you’ll just end up with a slightly milky shot of espresso.

Macchiato Coffee Drink

The Macchiato is a delectable drink with intense flavors. Perfect for coffee lovers. This Italian coffee comes in a variety of variations.

It has a strong bitter taste, filled with energy-boosting caffeine. It can be sweetened with sugar or cinnamon.

The moderate milk content adds a playful touch to this rich drink. It adds a hint of sweetness and creaminess. The milk is steamed or frothed according to preference. The textured milk adds to the aroma and feel of the coffee.

For the ultimate experience, drink your macchiato in a ceramic cup. It helps you enjoy the authentic taste of the coffee, while neither absorbing the taste nor enhancing it.

The aroma of the coffee will also be closer to you, bringing a different level of taste and enjoyment. The ceramic cup also holds in heat for longer.

For an intense and unforgettable cup of coffee, the macchiato is your best option. The exceptional taste of the espresso combined with the velvety texture of the milk makes for an unforgettable experience.

What Is a Macchiato Coffee Drink? (FAQs)

what is a macchiato coffee

Should You Sip an Espresso?

Before drinking your espresso, give it a stir. The thick and syrupy part of the shot usually sinks to the bottom of the cup, while the lighter part rises to the top.

Stir your espresso to get a balanced taste of your coffee. Now, you can sip, and enjoy the full flavors. 

Is Decaf Coffee Good for You?

Decaf coffee contains very little caffeine. This is great if you need to reduce the amount of caffeine you’re ingesting, due to caffeine sensitivity.

If you’re experiencing insomnia, nervousness, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, or restlessness, decaf coffee is a great choice for you. It contains all the regular antioxidants that regular coffee does and still tastes as good as any coffee. 

How To Order an Espresso Macchiato?

Before ordering your espresso macchiato, make sure that you’re completely sure what an espresso macchiato is. In sum, an espresso with a dollop of steamed milk on top.

You can either say, “an espresso with a dollop of milk” or you can specify an espresso macchiato. This will ensure you get the classic macchiato.

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