caffe macchiato

Are you an espresso lover who wants to know the key differences between two popular macchiato drinks - caffe macchiato and latte macchiato? In this in-depth comparison guide, we're breaking down the milk, espresso, and foam used, the brewing methods, and the taste profiles of these two drinks. Get ready to discover which one will be your new favorite for a bold and creamy coffee experience!

Caffe Macchiato vs Latte Macchiato: Overview


A caffe macchiato is a classic coffee drink that originated in Italy. It consists of a shot of espresso topped with a small amount of steamed milk or milk foam. With a milk-to-coffee ratio of 1:2, a caffe macchiato is concentrated and delivers a bold, rich espresso flavor. The name "macchiato" comes from the Italian word for "stained", which refers to the appearance of the espresso stained with a drop of milk.

Latte Macchiato

On the other hand, a latte macchiato is a slightly different beverage that shares some similarities with the caffe macchiato. Latte macchiatos have the same ingredients as traditional lattes: espresso and steamed milk. However, the crafting process is what distinguishes them. In a latte macchiato, steamed milk is poured into a glass first, and then a shot of espresso is slowly poured over the milk, creating a layer effect.

The latte macchiato is more milk-forward than the caffe macchiato, with a milk-to-coffee ratio usually around 2:1. This results in a balanced and delicate flavor profile, perfect for those who prefer a less intense coffee experience.

Here's a comparison of the two drinks:

Macchiato Latte Macchiato
Espresso-based Espresso-based
Milk-to-coffee ratio: 1:2 Milk-to-coffee ratio: 2:1
Strong espresso flavor Balanced, delicate flavor
Small amount of milk/foam More steamed milk

While both caffe macchiato and latte macchiato are espresso-based coffee drinks, they cater to different tastes and preferences. The caffe macchiato is for those who enjoy a bolder and more intense coffee flavor, while the latte macchiato is a creamier and more delicate option.

Ingredients and Preparation


The base of both caffe macchiato and latte macchiato starts with espresso. To make this rich coffee concentrate, finely-ground coffee beans are tightly packed into an espresso machine's portafilter. Hot water is then forced through the grounds under high pressure, resulting in a small, concentrated shot of coffee that carries a strong flavor and aroma.


Milk is a key component in both caffe macchiatos and latte macchiatos. It's used in different proportions and preparations in these two coffee drinks, playing a part in creating a unique flavor and texture for each. Whole milk is typically recommended for the best taste and texture, though alternatives like soy, almond, or oat milk can also be used, depending on one's preferences or dietary needs.

Steamed Milk

Steamed milk is prepared by applying steam from the espresso machine's wand to cold milk, heating it without necessarily adding significant amounts of froth. The steamed milk is then added to the espresso in different ratios depending on the coffee drink being prepared. In a caffe macchiato, the milk-to-coffee ratio is usually around 1:2, while in a latte macchiato, it is typically 2:1. This difference in milk proportions is important to distinguish one drink from the other.


Microfoam is a layer of finely-textured milk froth that forms when the milk is steamed properly. In a caffe macchiato, only a small dollop of foam is added to the espresso, allowing the strong coffee flavor to dominate. In contrast, a latte macchiato has a more substantial layer of microfoam, giving it a creamier and smoother finish.

When creating these delicious coffee drinks, trained baristas utilize their knowledge and espresso machines to yield the best results in terms of taste, aroma, and presentation. The difference between a good and an exceptional coffee often boils down to the equipment used. That’s why many cafes and professionals opt to buy a commercial grade espresso maker to ensure consistency and top-notch quality in every cup. From the precise amount of coffee grounds to the perfect steamed milk and foam, each step in the process contributes to the unique characteristics of caffe macchiatos and latte macchiatos. If you're considering elevating your coffee game, investing in a commercial quality espresso machine can make all the difference.

Flavor and Texture Profiles

Caffè Macchiato Profile

Caffè Macchiato, a popular espresso-based coffee beverage, delivers a bold and rich coffee experience. Its flavor predominantly consists of the strong, full-bodied taste of espresso. As an Italian term meaning "stained" or "spotted," a caffè macchiato is made by adding a small amount of steamed milk to a shot of espresso. This mixture creates a richer texture and slightly mellows the intensity of the espresso.

The resulting beverage showcases the bold flavor of espresso, with just a hint of creaminess from the milk. The steamed milk slightly softens the natural bitterness of the espresso, giving the caffè macchiato a balanced and enjoyable taste. The overall experience is one of a robust, coffee-forward drink with a smooth texture that pleases the palate.

Latte Macchiato Profile

On the other hand, Latte Macchiato is a much milkier beverage with a milder coffee flavor. The name "latte macchiato" translates to "stained milk," reflecting the process of adding espresso to a glass of steamed milk, creating a layered effect. Unlike the caffè macchiato, the espresso flavor in a latte macchiato is more pronounced at the beginning and fades into a milkier taste toward the bottom.

The texture of a latte macchiato is creamier and more velvety than that of a caffè macchiato, as it incorporates a larger quantity of steamed milk and a layer of milk foam. The overall flavor profile of a latte macchiato is less intense compared to a caffè macchiato, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer a smoother, less overpowering coffee experience.

In conclusion, the primary differences between a caffè macchiato and a latte macchiato lie in their flavor intensities and textural qualities. While the caffè macchiato delivers a strong, coffee-heavy flavor with a subtle creaminess, the latte macchiato provides a milder, creamier experience with a gentler coffee presence. These two beverages cater to varying taste preferences, allowing coffee enthusiasts to enjoy their preferred balance of coffee and milk.

Popular Variations and Customizations


Starbucks offers a variety of macchiatos, with the Latte Macchiato and Caffe Macchiato being two popular choices. The Latte Macchiato is a more espresso-forward drink, featuring whole milk layered with espresso on top, whereas the Caffe Macchiato is mostly espresso with a "mark" of milk. Both beverages use the same ingredients of milk and espresso, but the barista's skill showcases the uniqueness of each drink.

Syrups and Sauces

Customers can further personalize their macchiatos and lattes with a vast selection of flavored syrups and sauces to suit their taste preferences. Some popular options include caramel, chocolate, vanilla, and hazelnut. These flavors add a hint of sweetness and can also enhance the coffee's natural flavors. Complementing the milk and espresso already present in these beverages, these additions allow customers to customize their drinks to their unique preferences.

Milk Alternatives

In recent years, milk alternatives have gained popularity in the world of coffee beverages, allowing customers to enjoy the drinks they love without having to consume traditional dairy. For macchiatos and lattes, almond milk and oat milk are among the popular choices that can be utilized as substitutes. This not only caters to the growing trend of plant-based diets but also invites options for individuals with dietary restrictions or preferences. These milk alternatives can greatly impact the flavor and overall experience of the macchiatos and lattes, giving customers more choices to savor their beverages.

By offering a variety of options for customization, both Starbucks and other coffee shops cater to the diverse tastes and preferences of their patrons. Macchiatos and lattes become versatile beverages that can be tailored to each customer's unique taste, which goes a long way in ensuring coffee lovers get to enjoy their favorite drinks just the way they like them.

Latte Macchiato vs Other Coffee Drinks

When it comes to understanding the key differences between a latte macchiato and other popular coffee drinks, it helps to dive into the ingredients, ratios, and methods used in crafting each drink. In this section, we'll explore how the latte macchiato compares to a cappuccino, caffè latte, and flat white.


A cappuccino is a popular coffee drink that consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. Its bold flavor comes from the espresso, while the steamed milk and milk foam create a creamy and smooth texture. The milk foam gives the drink its characteristic velvety finish, making it a favorite among coffee enthusiasts.

  • Espresso: 1 part
  • Steamed milk: 1 part
  • Milk foam: 1 part

While both the latte macchiato and cappuccino contain espresso and steamed milk, the key difference lies in the amount of milk foam in the drink. In a cappuccino, the foam is more prominent, whereas a latte macchiato has a more balanced, delicate flavor due to the minimal foam and greater milk content.

Caffè Latte

Caffè latte, or simply latte, is another popular coffee drink with a more balanced and delicate flavor. It contains milk and espresso as its main ingredients, with a small layer of foam on top. The primary difference between a latte and a latte macchiato is the order in which the ingredients are poured.

  • Espresso: 1 part
  • Steamed milk: 3 parts
  • Milk foam: a thin layer

In a caffè latte, the espresso is poured first, followed by the steamed milk and finally, the foam. In contrast, a latte macchiato starts with steamed milk, and the espresso is then poured on top, creating a layered effect.

Flat White

The flat white is another variation of a milk-based coffee drink that originated in Australia and New Zealand. It is similar to a latte in terms of its ingredients, but with a slightly different texture and presentation.

  • Espresso: 1 part
  • Steamed milk: 2 parts
  • Microfoam: velvety, thin layer of foam

In a flat white, the milk is steamed to create a silky microfoam, which is then combined with the espresso. This results in a smoother, creamier texture with a more concentrated coffee flavor. The flat white also lacks the distinct layering seen in a latte macchiato.

In summary, the latte macchiato is distinct from other coffee drinks due to its unique layering and delicate balance of espresso and milk. Comparing it to a cappuccino, caffè latte, and flat white helps us appreciate the nuances and complexities of these popular coffee beverages.

Nutritional Information and Serving Sizes

When it comes to comparing Caffe Macchiato and Latte Macchiato, it's essential to consider their nutritional information and serving sizes. This section will delve into the details of the different components, such as calories, size, fat, protein, and milk content.


Caffe Macchiato and Latte Macchiato both contain calories, but their caloric content varies. A one fluid ounce serving of Caffe Macchiato has around 5 calories, while a similar serving of Latte Macchiato has approximately 8 calories. Although the difference is small, it may be a consideration for those who are calorie-conscious.

Size and Milk Content

Serving sizes play a significant role in differentiating these two coffee beverages. Latte Macchiatos can range from 8 to 16 ounces and have larger milk content to accommodate the espresso, which typically comprises one or two ounces. On the other hand, Caffe Macchiatos are smaller in size, containing around 2 ounces with lesser milk content, which allows the espresso flavor to be more dominant.

Fat, Protein and Serving Sizes

Fat and protein content also differ between the two beverages. In a one fluid ounce serving, Caffe Macchiato contains 0.28 grams of fat and 0.26 grams of protein. Compared to this, a Latte Macchiato in a similar serving size has 0.34 grams of fat and 0.55 grams of protein, making it a slightly more nutrient-dense option.

In conclusion, when comparing Caffe Macchiato to Latte Macchiato, several factors need to be considered, such as calories, size, fat, protein, and milk content. Understanding these differences can help consumers make informed choices depending on their preferences and dietary needs.

Pairing Suggestions and Ideal Occasions

When it comes to enjoying coffee beverages, understanding the differences between a caffe macchiato and a latte macchiato is essential. These two drinks offer unique flavor profiles and can be ideal for specific occasions and food pairings. In this section, we will cover the pairing suggestions and appropriate settings for each beverage.

Caffe Macchiato

A caffe macchiato is a compact, bold coffee drink made primarily of espresso and a small quantity of steamed milk and foam. The robust flavor of the espresso dominates this drink, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a strong, slightly milky coffee. This beverage pairs well with:

  • Pastries: The intensity of the espresso can balance out the sweetness of a pastry, such as croissants and danishes.
  • Dark chocolate: A piece of high-quality, rich dark chocolate can complement the boldness of the caffe macchiato.
  • Savory breakfast options: Coffee enthusiasts may find that a caffe macchiato works well with a light, flavorful breakfast like avocado toast or an egg sandwich.

Ideal occasions for a caffe macchiato include mid-morning or afternoon breaks. It can be a popular choice at coffee shops, served in a small espresso cup to showcase its concentrated nature.

Latte Macchiato

The latte macchiato differs from the caffe macchiato in that it is a larger, creamier beverage with a more mild coffee taste. Whole milk and 1-2 shots of espresso make up this drink, which is typically poured in layers, resulting in an upside-down latte effect. The milder taste allows for different pairing options:

  • Sweet, fruity desserts: Fruit tarts, for example, are an excellent match for latte macchiatos because of their refreshing, tangy notes.
  • Biscotti or cookies: The gentler flavor of a latte macchiato can complement the crunchiness and subtle sweetness of biscotti or cookies.
  • Light sandwiches: A latte macchiato pairs nicely with delicate sandwiches such as cucumber or chicken salad.

The latte macchiato is a versatile drink suitable for various occasions, such as a relaxing weekend brunch, an afternoon coffee break, or an evening dessert accompaniment. Coffee shops often serve this drink in a larger cup, letting both the visual layers and flavors stand out for the drinker's enjoyment.

In conclusion, both caffe macchiato and latte macchiato have their unique qualities, pairings, and occasions, making them enjoyable options for coffee lovers. Whether you prefer a stronger or milder beverage, these two variations have something to offer, delighting the taste buds and providing a satisfying coffee experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Caffe Macchiato and a Latte Macchiato?

A Caffe Macchiato, also known as an Espresso Macchiato, begins with a single or double shot of espresso in a small cup, followed by a small amount of steamed milk and a dollop of foam on top. In contrast, a Latte Macchiato starts with steamed milk and foam in a taller glass and then espresso is poured over the milk, creating different layers and a more balanced, delicate flavor.

What is the coffee-to-milk ratio in a Caffe Macchiato and a Latte Macchiato?

Caffe Macchiatos typically have a 1:2 milk-to-coffee ratio, with the emphasis on the espresso. On the other hand, a Latte Macchiato has a higher milk content, usually in a 3:1 ratio, making it a sweeter and more milky beverage.

How do the sizes of the two beverages compare?

Macchiatos are smaller in volume than Lattes because they have less milk. A Caffe Macchiato usually comes in a small demitasse cup, whereas a Latte Macchiato is served in a taller glass to accommodate the layers created by the steamed milk and espresso.

What are the key differences between an Espresso Macchiato and a Latte Macchiato?

  • Espresso macchiato:

    • Espresso is the primary ingredient.
    • Smaller milk content (1:2 milk-to-coffee ratio).
    • Served in a small demitasse cup.
    • Stronger and more robust taste.
  • Latte macchiato:

    • Steamed milk and foam are primary ingredients.
    • Espresso is poured over the milk, creating layers.
    • Served in a taller glass.
    • Sweeter and more balanced taste, with a higher milk content (3:1 milk-to-coffee ratio).

By understanding these differences, readers will be better equipped to choose the coffee beverage that best suits their preferences.

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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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