What Is A Macchiato?

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Who doesn’t like an authentic coffee shot? The most infamous being espresso and cappuccino, so many of us miss on the other less recognized varieties. Macchiato is one of those little-known varieties which has an exceptionally balanced taste.

Although espresso, cappuccino, and macchiato contain similar ingredients, coffee, milk, and foam, each of these is blended differently to achieve different tastes and flavors.

In our article, we share our take on what is macchiato and everything you need to know about it.

What is a macchiato?

So, What Is A Macchiato?

Macchiato or more commonly termed as a coffee macchiato or espresso macchiato is an espresso with less foamed milk at its top.

Did you know that the proper pronunciation of macchiato is ‘mah-key-AH-toe’? It originated in Italy and means stained, marked, or spotted. It was named so, given the light marks you get on pouring dashed milk in the rich, dark espresso.

Almost all cafes have macchiato listed on their menu although espresso macchiato, also known as coffee macchiato, is a traditional drink.

Macchiato is for those who want a hitting, strong coffee flavor and at the same time a rich, creamy milk texture. On the other hand, latte macchiato is a blend of espresso with a lot of milk. So, if you want lots of milk along with an overpowering flavor of coffee, then you must consider latte macchiato.

History of Macchiato

Now that we know what macchiato is, let’s learn the history of this drink. Originated in Italy, there was no significant difference between the espresso with and without milk. So much so that the baristas found it hard to signal their staff on whether to add milk or not in the espresso.

The easier way was to name both of these coffees differently. As we have already discussed, macchiato means marked or spotted; eventually, baristas started calling espresso with a splash of milk as a macchiato.

Eventually, everyone started using the term macchiato for the espresso with a dash of milk. Its color changes and provides a smooth, creamy texture to the coffee overall. And thanks to these baristas, over the years, the traditional macchiato has evolved itself to a great extent, such that now you can order latte macchiato with a considerable amount of milk in it. Few people add a layer of caramel or other flavored syrup at the top to provide a sugary taste to the coffee.

How Is A Macchiato Prepared?

If you are a coffee art enthusiast or an expert, then attention to detail is one of the most significant steps to learning a new recipe. And if you want to prepare the perfect macchiato, using the right ingredients in appropriate quantities is crucial. As its name suggests, one must be careful while adding the right splash of milk to it.

Within the path to get a perfect macchiato, the first step is to prepare a classic espresso, then we aim to add proper ingredients to achieve ideal coffee.

While adding milk to the espresso, be careful about the quantity and blend of the milk to preserve the overpowering, strong flavor of espresso, along with the texture you are looking for.

Usually, first of all, a single shot of espresso is added in a demitasse (a small coffee cup in which macchiato is served). Then a dash of hot milk is poured into it. Then at the top layer, you can add some foam or syrup depending on your taste.
In this way, you get a perfectly blended macchiato.

Is A Macchiato Perfect for You?

Although there is just a slight change in preparing espresso, macchiato, and cappuccino, there is still a massive difference between the taste and flavors of these. Italian people have a habit of starting their day with a strong coffee without even a pinch of sugar and cream.

Thus, keep this in mind if you are visiting Italy.

Macchiato is best for those who want a drink not as acidic as an espresso but not as sweet as Latte or cappuccino are. It is like a mid of these, containing pros of both of them. With an intense flavor of coffee, you will not feed acidic or hard hit while drinking it.

Additionally, with a little drop of milk, it balances the sweetness and bitterness much.

Thus, if you are looking for a not too sweet, not too hard coffee, then macchiato is the best blend you can have. Therefore, next time you visit the café, I hope you will know which coffee are you looking for.


What is the difference between a latte and macchiato?

If you ask me the difference between classic Latte and macchiato, I would say there is a considerable difference between both the coffee. Although, as per appearance, one can’t find a significant difference among them, there are some significant differences between them.
Both Latte and macchiato are Italian words. But while latte means milk, macchiato means a dash of milk. Additionally, you can find a latte loaded with milk, while in macchiato, there is just a splash of milk in it.
The process of preparation of a latte or macchiato is also different. While in latte, steamed milk is poured on espresso, while in macchiato, first milk is added, and then espresso is added to it. Usually, you don’t need to stir macchiato while mocha requires stirring.
Lastly, at the top of the latte, the milk foam is added for visualization, while in macchiato, the dash of milk is the visual representation.

What is the difference between an espresso and a macchiato?

After reading the about macchiato above, I hope you will be clear about the fundamental difference between an espresso and macchiato. Although the base of both latte and macchiato is espresso itself, these coffees have slight differences in flavor and texture compared with espresso.
Macchiato is the espresso with a splash of milk in it. Initially, macchiato was known as espresso, but for better understanding, it got its name.
On the one hand, where espresso contains a vital, overpowering acidic feature of coffee, you can find a creamy soft texture in a macchiato. Macchiato is prepared after dropping a dash of milk at the top of the espresso. And the creaminess in macchiato is achieved by that pinch of foamed milk.
Additionally, on the one hand, where you can’t find sweetness in espresso, macchiato has an essence of sweetness because of the milk.

Is a macchiato the same as a mocha?

I would be wrong to say that macchiato is the same as mocha. Both of these are entirely different drinks. On the one hand, where mocha is made of two espresso shots with up to 4 oz of milk, macchiato has just a single shot of espresso with 5 to 6 grams of milk.
Additionally, you can’t find any topping in the macchiato, while mocha is topped with foam or whipped cream or sometimes marshmallow. Macchiato is served in a small coffee cup called demitasse, while mocha is served in a large cup or sometimes even glass.
Lastly, mocha has light brown color while macchiato is dark brown or even black.

Is macchiato stronger than latte?

I won’t be wrong in saying that macchiato is way stronger than a latte. Both latte and macchiato contain one or two coffee shots, which means initially, they both stay equally strong.
The difference within their strength arises only when you add milk to it. The milk content in the latte adds creaminess to it, reducing the overall acidity of the coffee.
While just a dash of milk in the macchiato retains caffeine’s hit in it to a great extent, which proves that macchiato is way stronger than a latte.

What is in a macchiato at Starbucks?

Macchiato is a standard drink that one can find at almost all the cafes, and so at Starbucks. But the macchiato sold at Starbucks is slightly different than the traditional macchiato.
Moreover, it is like an upside-down latte, where steamed milk is poured over the espresso in a considerable amount, such that you can find a light brown colored coffee. Additionally, at the bottom, Starbucks offers various syrups types that customers can choose based on their preference.


If you are a coffee lover, you can easily make out the difference between the available plethora of varieties. But it might be possible that you are not aware of the macchiato yet; many aren’t. I hope now you would be able to find the answer to the question, why macchiato?

Trust me; you would love the flavor and taste of it. Nowadays, it is even available with many variations to try for a completely new drinking coffee experience.