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What is a Macchiato?

Learn how to make the classic Macchiato.

At home, many of us like to keep our coffee simple. Our typical morning cup of coffee is often a combination of some good ole coffee beans, a cream, milk or a non-dairy substitute, and some sugar. We think it’s time to try something new with our morning coffee. You’ve tried a latte, you’ve given a cappuccino a whirl, and now it’s time to try another classic: the macchiato. 

Let’s get to know the drink

Caffe macchiato, sometimes called espresso macchiato, is an espresso-based coffee drink with Italian roots. In fact, the word means “stained” or “spotted” in Italian, so the literal translation of caffe macchiato is “stained” or “marked coffee.” 

Like its fellow espresso-based coffee drinks, latte, and cappuccino, the macchiato consists of a distinct ratio of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. So how does it differ from a latte or a cappuccino?

It is know to have a similar in structure to the cappuccino or latte, since they are all made with espresso, milk (or a non-dairy substitute) and foam. But, one of the key differences between the three is how they’re made. 

  • A latte is typically  ⅔ of the beverage being steamed milk poured over a shot of espresso that’s topped by a layer of foam. 
  • A cappuccino is a ⅓ espresso, ⅓ steamed milk, and ⅓ foam. 
  • A macchiato is a shot (or two!) of espresso with about 1-2 teaspoons of steamed milk and a layer of foam. 

When looking at the three coffee drink options, this drink packs a bigger punch than the neighboring coffee drinks. The latte is the creamiest of the selections. The cappuccino is known to be foamy and smooth. Leaving it with the boldest and richest in flavor. 

It is usually made using just a small amount of milk, so it’s able to achieve a stronger flavor than the other coffee drinks. If you’re looking for a much-needed pick-me-up that has a bit of sweetness, the macchiato is for you.