macchiato latte

Are you a coffee lover who wants to know the caffeine content of your favorite coffee drinks - macchiato and latte?

In this post, we're unveiling the key differences in caffeine content between these two popular drinks. Get ready to discover which one will give you the caffeine boost you need for a productive day. Let's dive in and find out!

Macchiato and Latte: Definitions


A macchiato is an Italian coffee drink that primarily consists of espresso and a small amount of steamed milk. The term "macchiato" means "stained" or "spotted" in Italian, which refers to the spots of milk added to the espresso. In its traditional form, a macchiato has a 1:2 milk-to-coffee ratio, concentrating the bold, rich flavor of the espresso. The typical serving size for a macchiato is 2 ounces (60 grams), containing around 85 mg of caffeine.

In recent years, variations of the macchiato have risen in popularity, such as the caramel or latte macchiato. These versions often include additional ingredients like syrups, whipped cream, and additional milk, which can alter the overall caffeine content and taste profile of the drink. However, at their core, all macchiatos showcase the intensity of the espresso while adding just a touch of the creaminess that comes from steamed milk.


Lattes are another popular Italian coffee drink made with espresso, steamed milk, and a layer of velvety microfoam on top. They have a more balanced flavor compared to a macchiato due to the higher milk-to-coffee ratio, which typically falls around 2:1. Lattes generally contain more milk and less espresso for a creamier, milder taste. The standard serving size for a latte is 16 ounces (480 grams), resulting in approximately 173 mg of caffeine per serving.

Both macchiatos and lattes are versatile coffee drinks that can be customized with different flavors and garnishes. Popular latte variations include the cappuccino, mocha, and flat white, each with its distinct characteristics achieved through varying the espresso, milk, and foam ratios. Ultimately, the macchiato and latte offer two distinct coffee experiences, with the macchiato catering to espresso enthusiasts who enjoy a bold flavor with a touch of creaminess, and the latte appealing to those who prefer a smoother, balanced beverage.

Ingredients and Ratios

Espresso Base

Macchiato and latte beverages both have espresso as their foundational ingredient. The espresso base provides the robust coffee flavor and caffeine content for these drinks. However, these beverages differ in the proportion of espresso used. While a macchiato typically has a milk-to-coffee ratio of 1:2, a latte uses a 2:1 milk-to-coffee ratio. This difference in the ratio significantly impacts the strength, flavor, and caffeine content of each drink.

Milk Varieties

Milk is an essential ingredient in both macchiato and latte beverages, serving as a complementary component to the espresso. However, the type of milk used in each drink can vary. Typically, whole milk or alternatives like almond, soy, or oat milk are used. Choice of milk type can affect the texture and taste of these drinks, as well as the nutritional aspects, such as fat content and calorie count.

Milk Foam and Texture

The milk in a macchiato and a latte is prepared and incorporated differently, leading to distinct textures for each drink. In a macchiato, a small amount of frothed milk is added atop the espresso, producing a rich, bold flavor emphasized by the foam. Conversely, a latte incorporates more steamed milk, leading to a creamier, smoother mouthfeel. Lattes also have a layer of milk foam on top, but the overall texture is more velvety due to the presence of an increased amount of steamed milk.

Ingredient Macchiato Latte
Espresso 1 part 1 part
Milk (type) Varies Varies
Milk (foam) Limited On top
Milk (texture) Frothed Steamed
Ratio 1:2 2:1

The influence of these different ratios and milk preparations on caffeine content is notable. A traditional macchiato with its higher concentration of espresso will typically have a stronger caffeine presence per ounce compared to a latte. Additionally, the type of milk used can also impact the overall nutritional characteristics of each drink.

In considering the essence of both macchiato and latte in terms of their espresso foundation, it becomes evident how important the quality of the espresso shot is. Utilizing a top-tier espresso machine, especially when serving a larger crowd or clientele, can significantly elevate the overall quality and consistency of these beverages. If you're in the market to enhance your coffee offerings, you might want to buy a commercial grade espresso maker. These machines are designed specifically for commercial purposes, ensuring that each shot pulled remains consistent in flavor and strength. This investment can truly make the difference in delivering the purest taste profiles of macchiato and latte drinks.

Caffeine Content

When comparing macchiatos and lattes, one of the primary differences lies in their caffeine content. Macchiatos typically have a higher concentration of caffeine than lattes, mainly due to the difference in espresso and milk ratios.

A traditional macchiato consists of a 1:2 milk-to-coffee ratio, while a latte typically has a 2:1 ratio, with two parts milk and one part coffee. This leads to a bolder taste in macchiatos, thanks to a higher concentration of espresso.

Caffeine content can be variable, depending on the type and size of the drink. A small, single-shot macchiato usually contains around 63mg of caffeine on average. In contrast, a larger double-shot macchiato delivers approximately 125mg of caffeine. Lattes, however, contain around 173mg of caffeine per 16-ounce (480-gram) serving.

It's important to note that the actual caffeine content can vary depending on the type of coffee beans used and the brewing method. Not all espresso shots are created equal, and some may have more caffeine than others.

When considering the milk-to-caffeine ratio in both drinks, it's clear that macchiatos have a higher emphasis on the coffee flavor, while lattes focus more on the milk. This is evident in the macchiato's smaller size and lower milk content, resulting in a stronger coffee taste and a higher concentration of caffeine.

In summary, macchiatos generally offer a richer coffee taste and a higher caffeine content than lattes, with a 1:2 milk-to-coffee ratio. Conversely, lattes have a 2:1 ratio of milk to coffee, resulting in a milkier taste and a slightly lower caffeine content overall.

Taste and Flavor Profiles

Classic Latte and Macchiato Flavors

Lattes and macchiatos, both originating from Italy, have distinct taste profiles that cater to different preferences. A latte typically consists of a single or double shot of espresso mixed with steamed milk, creating a delicate, mild, and slightly sweet taste. The higher milk ratio creates a creamier texture and provides a more subtle espresso flavor.

On the other hand, a macchiato, meaning "stained" in Italian, is created by adding just a splash of milk to an espresso shot. This results in a stronger, more intense flavor with a bit of natural bitterness from the espresso. The small amount of milk helps in slightly softening the taste, but the macchiato remains a more robust and concentrated drink compared to a latte.

Syrup and Sweetener Options

For those who prefer a sweeter or flavored coffee experience, lattes and macchiatos can be easily customized with various syrup and sweetener options:

  • Chocolate syrup: A popular choice for both drinks, adding a velvety chocolate taste.
  • Vanilla syrup: Enhances the natural sweetness of the latte or macchiato without overpowering the coffee flavor.
  • Sugar: Easily dissolved in the hot beverages, adds sweetness tailored to the individual's preference.
  • Artificial sweeteners: For those watching their sugar intake, these can provide a similar sweetness with fewer calories.
  • Flavored syrups: Options such as caramel, hazelnut, and various fruit flavors can add a unique taste to the drinks.

Some cafes also offer alternatives to traditional milk, like almond or soy milk, which can subtly change the flavor of the latte or macchiato.

While the choice between a latte or macchiato ultimately depends on personal taste preferences, understanding the fundamental flavor profiles of each drink can help guide coffee enthusiasts in making an informed decision. Whether it's the creamy, mild taste of a latte or the bold, intense flavor of a macchiato, both beverages can be further personalized with a variety of sweeteners and syrups to suit anyone's desired taste experience.

Popular Variations

Latte Macchiato

The Latte Macchiato is a popular spin on the traditional latte, known for its visually appealing presentation. It is made with steamed milk poured delicately over a shot of espresso, allowing the layered effect to showcase the distinct division between milk and coffee. The separation of milk and espresso in this variation causes the caffeine content to be slightly lower than a traditional latte. Oat milk can be used as a non-dairy alternative to create a unique, creamy texture and flavor.

Caramel Macchiato

A Caramel Macchiato is a delicious blend of espresso, steamed milk, and caramel syrup. The addition of caramel adds a sweet twist to the traditional macchiato. This coffee drink typically consists of a macchiato's distinct layers: espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. To make this variation, the caramel syrup is added to the milk and espresso mixture, giving it a delectable sweetness. Caramel Macchiato's caffeine content remains similar to a traditional macchiato, as the primary ingredient is still espresso.

Macchiato Variant Key Ingredients Caffeine Content
Latte Macchiato Espresso, steamed milk, milk foam Slightly lower
Caramel Macchiato Espresso, steamed milk, caramel Similar

Flat White

A Flat White is another popular coffee beverage, sharing similarities with both lattes and cappuccinos. It stands out with its velvety milk texture, achieved by using microfoam milk instead of regular milk foam. The Flat White is made with a high ratio of milk to espresso, similar to a latte, but with less foam, making it creamier than a cappuccino.

The caffeine content in a Flat White varies depending on the number of espresso shots used, yet it generally falls between that of a latte and a macchiato. The foamed milk adds a rich flavor, and when combined with espresso, the result is a smooth and full-bodied coffee drink.

In summary, popular variations of macchiato and latte coffee drinks include Latte Macchiato, Caramel Macchiato, and Flat White. Each unique in flavor and appearance, these coffee beverages cater to different preferences while offering a range of caffeine content to suit every taste.

Nutritional Aspects


When it comes to the nutritional aspects of macchiatos and lattes, their calories differ due to beverage size and milk content. Macchiatos are smaller drinks, typically containing around 5 calories per fluid ounce. On the other hand, lattes are larger, containing approximately 8 calories per fluid ounce. The variance in calorie content is primarily due to the increased milk content in lattes, resulting in a more substantial drink compared to macchiatos.

Fat Content

As milk contains fat, both macchiatos and lattes have varying levels of fat content. For a single fluid ounce of macchiato, there is approximately 0.28 grams of fat. Conversely, a latte holds around 0.34 grams of fat per fluid ounce. Therefore, lattes contain more fat than macchiatos due to their higher milk content ratio.


In examining the protein content of these popular coffee beverages, macchiatos contain around 0.26 grams of protein per fluid ounce. Lattes, with their high milk content, provide about 0.55 grams of proteins per fluid ounce. As a result, lattes deliver more protein compared to macchiatos.

Considering these nutritional aspects, the calorie, fat, and protein content in macchiatos and lattes stem from the ratio of milk used in each drink. It is essential to remember that a macchiato is a smaller, more concentrated coffee beverage, while a latte is larger and contains more milk. Depending on personal preferences and nutritional needs, these factors can help consumers make an informed decision about their coffee choice.

Recipes and Preparation Methods

Home Preparation

When preparing a macchiato or latte at home, the main differences lie in the coffee-to-milk ratio and the layering of the ingredients. For a macchiato, use a milk-to-coffee ratio of 1:2, whereas a latte uses a 2:1 ratio. In a latte, the ingredients are mixed together, while in a macchiato, distinct layers are formed.

To make a macchiato, first pull a shot of espresso. Then, pour a small amount of steamed milk over it, leaving a "spot" of crema on top. For a latte, steam more milk and mix it with the espresso shot. Finally, add a small layer of froth on top.


The essential equipment for preparing a macchiato or latte includes an espresso machine or a Moka pot, a steam wand for frothing milk, and cups for serving the drinks. While an espresso machine is ideal for the most authentic preparation, a Moka pot can be used as an alternative to achieve the desired taste and texture of the coffee. Additionally, a milk frother or a steam wand can be used to steam and froth the milk required for both drinks.

Coffee Beans

The choice of coffee beans can be crucial in creating the perfect macchiato or latte. Ideally, use espresso beans, which are often roasted darker to provide a richer, more intense flavor. Since macchiatos have a stronger coffee flavor than lattes, choosing a high-quality bean with a well-rounded flavor profile is essential.

When it comes to caffeine content, cappuccinos and lattes typically contain around 173 mg of caffeine per 16-ounce (480-gram) serving, while macchiatos have about 85 grams of caffeine in a 2-ounce (60-gram) serving. It is important to note that the caffeine content may vary depending on the type of coffee beans used and the brewing techniques employed.

Remember to store your coffee beans in a cool, dark place to maintain their freshness and flavor for better results in your macchiato or latte.

By following these tips and techniques, you can create delicious, café-quality macchiatos and lattes in the comfort of your own home, while ensuring the desired caffeine content and flavors shine through.

Alternatives and Customizations

Dairy and Non-Dairy Options

Different preferences for milk, both dairy and non-dairy, provide flexibility for customizing macchiatos and lattes. Traditionally, both drinks consist of a single espresso shot, but the milk to espresso ratio differs with macchiatos at 1:2 and lattes at 2:1.

For those who prefer or require dairy-free options, almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and oat milk are popular alternatives. Each can influence the flavor, texture, and creaminess of the beverages. When selecting a dairy-free milk, consider its foamability as macchiatos and lattes typically have a foam layer.

When it comes to the caffeine content, generally speaking, both macchiatos and lattes have anywhere from 63.6 mg to 76.02 mg of caffeine. However, it is essential to consider the type of bean used and the roast level. Opting for Robusta beans is recommended for a higher caffeine dose.

Flavored Additions

A variety of flavored additions can enhance both macchiatos and lattes, catering to individual tastes and preferences. Popular choices include seasonal favorites such as pumpkin spice and peppermint mocha. Other flavors offered year-round include caramel, vanilla, chocolate, and more. These can be added in the form of sauces or flavored syrups.

Unique offerings like chai lattes and milchkaffee (a similar coffee drink to latte) highlight the versatility of these beverages.

Cost and Serving Sizes

The cost of a macchiato or latte can vary based on the choice of milk, flavored additions, and the serving size. Typically, a latte's serving size is larger, reflecting the higher milk-to-espresso ratio, while a macchiato has a smaller size, offering a more intense flavor and caffeine experience.

Whipped Cream and Toppings

Adding whipped cream to either a latte or macchiato can elevate the beverage and increase creaminess. Toppings like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder can also be sprinkled on top, adding extra layers of flavor and enhancing the overall presentation.

In conclusion, be aware of potential variations in caffeine levels, ratios, and customizations when choosing between a macchiato and latte. With countless dairy and non-dairy options, flavors, and toppings, it's easy to tailor these popular espresso-based beverages to your personal taste and preference.

The Role of Baristas and Coffee Connoisseurs

When it comes to deciphering the differences between a macchiato and a latte, especially in terms of caffeine content, the expertise of baristas and coffee connoisseurs plays a significant role. Baristas are skilled professionals who understand the art and science of brewing various coffee drinks. Their knowledge and techniques allow them to craft unique and delicious beverages, taking into account factors such as mouthfeel, taste, and presentation.

Coffee connoisseurs, on the other hand, possess a refined palate for coffee and can accurately discern between the subtle variations in flavor profiles, textures, and aromas. Their in-depth knowledge of different brewing methods and bean origins helps them appreciate the nuances of each coffee drink.

One of the primary distinctions between a macchiato and a latte is the ratio of espresso to milk content. Both beverages contain espresso and steamed milk; however, a macchiato offers a bolder flavor with a higher concentration of espresso, while a latte provides a more balanced and delicate taste due to a higher milk content.

Baristas create these variations by altering the order in which the ingredients are combined. In a caffè latte, the espresso is poured first, followed by steamed milk and a dollop of milk foam. Conversely, a macchiato starts with a small amount of steamed milk, topped by a shot or double shots of espresso, leaving a "spot" of espresso on top. This method makes the macchiato a stronger coffee drink, with more caffeine than a latte.

Another important aspect of crafting these beverages involves latte art, which can range from simple designs to intricate patterns. This creative touch adds visual appeal, elevating the coffee-drinking experience for consumers. Baristas often showcase their skill and artistic abilities through this craft, further distinguishing each coffee creation.

Both macchiatos and lattes can be enjoyed hot or iced, depending on personal preference. However, there is a popular variation called the cloud macchiato, which is an iced macchiato topped with a thick layer of frothy cloud-like milk foam.

In conclusion, the expertise of baristas and the discerning palate of coffee connoisseurs play an essential role in understanding and appreciating the differences between a macchiato and a latte. Whether it's the bolder flavor and higher caffeine content of a macchiato or the velvety smoothness of a latte, the varying aspects of these beverages cater to individual tastes and preferences, ensuring there's a perfect cup of coffee for everyone.

Latte information
Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

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