latte macchiato

Are you an espresso lover who wants to know the key differences between two popular espresso-based drinks - latte macchiato and caffe latte? In this post, we're unraveling 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!

Latte Macchiato and Caffe Latte Basics

Latte Macchiato Overview

Latte macchiato is a popular Italian coffee beverage that uses espresso and steamed milk as its main ingredients. The milk-to-coffee ratio in a traditional latte macchiato is typically 1:2, meaning that there is more espresso in the drink compared to milk. With its strong coffee flavor, it is considered the more espresso-forward version of the two drinks.

To create a latte macchiato, a shot of espresso is added atop a layer of steamed milk, creating a distinct separation between the two components. The milk in a latte macchiato is usually not frothed or foamed, but rather steamed and slightly warm. On top of the espresso, a dollop of foam is placed, which adds to the visual appeal and provides a pleasant texture.

Caffe Latte Overview

Caffe latte, also known as caffè latte or simply latte, is another Italian coffee beverage that features the same two basic ingredients: espresso and milk. However, a caffe latte has a more balanced and delicate flavor compared to a latte macchiato due to its 2:1 milk-to-coffee ratio, with more milk than espresso. In some countries, caffe latte goes by different names, such as milchkaffee in Germany.

The process of making a caffe latte involves topping a shot of espresso with steamed milk and a thin layer of microfoam. Unlike the latte macchiato, the steamed milk in a caffe latte is gently mixed with the espresso, resulting in a more homogenous and creamy texture.

In comparison with other coffee beverages, such as cappuccino, a caffe latte comprises a greater amount of milk, leading to a mellower and more subtle coffee flavor. This makes it a popular choice for those who prefer a less intense coffee experience.

Overall, latte macchiato and caffe latte are close relatives within the realm of Italian coffee beverages, with both drinks featuring espresso and milk as their primary ingredients. However, it is the specific ratios, layering techniques, and methods of preparation that set them apart, resulting in distinct flavors, textures, and visual presentations.

In your journey to explore the nuanced differences between these coffee delicacies, you might also ponder the equipment behind them. After all, a superior brew largely depends on the machinery. If you're in the market or merely curious, consider checking out commercial espresso machines for sale. With professional espresso makers for sale, cafes and coffee aficionados alike can craft these beverages to perfection. When you buy a commercial grade espresso maker, you're investing in a device that will unlock the richest flavors and textures of these Italian treasures. So, as you delve deeper into the world of espresso, remember that the right machine can make all the difference in your caffeinated endeavors.

Key Differences

Difference in Preparation

A Latte Macchiato and a Caffe Latte are similar in that they both contain milk and espresso. However, the preparation methods differ which results in distinct tastes and textures. A Latte Macchiato is prepared by pouring the espresso over steamed milk, causing the espresso to mix with the milk from the bottom up. In contrast, a Caffe Latte is made by pouring steamed milk over the espresso, followed by a layer of milk foam on top.

Flavor Differences

The flavor profile of a Latte Macchiato is more espresso-forward, providing a stronger coffee taste compared to its counterpart, the Caffe Latte. The Caffe Latte, on the other hand, has a more balanced and delicate flavor where the milk plays a more significant role in the overall taste. It's also worth noting that Lattes can be customized with flavored syrups or sauces to add sweetness or unique tastes, while Latte Macchiatos are typically not accompanied by additional flavorings.

Texture and Foam

The textures of the two beverages vary because of the differences in their milk-to-coffee ratios and foam content. In a Latte Macchiato, the milk-to-coffee ratio is 1:2, while the Caffe Latte has a 2:1 ratio. This difference results in a stronger coffee presence in the Latte Macchiato. Additionally, the Caffe Latte typically has a thicker layer of milk foam or microfoam on top, whereas the Latte Macchiato has a thinner foam layer.

Caffeine and Caloric Content

Caffeine content can be affected by factors such as the type of coffee beans used and the preparation method. In general, a Latte Macchiato might have slightly higher caffeine content due to its higher ratio of espresso. However, this difference is usually minimal and might not be significant for most people.

As for caloric content, a Caffe Latte tends to have more calories than a Latte Macchiato due to the higher volume of steamed milk used. This difference can become more pronounced when flavored syrups or sauces are added to the Caffe Latte, as they tend to increase the overall caloric value of the beverage.

In summary, the key differences between a Latte Macchiato and Caffe Latte lie in their preparation methods, flavor profiles, textures, and caffeine and caloric content. Understanding these distinctions can help suit the preferences of any coffee enthusiast looking for their perfect balance between milk, foam, and espresso.

Popular Variations

Latte Macchiato and Caffe Latte are two popular coffee beverages that cater to different preferences among coffee enthusiasts. In this section, we'll explore some popular variations of these drinks, including Starbucks specialties, Caramel Macchiato, Chocolate Lattes, and Cloud Macchiato.

Starbucks Specialties

Starbucks, a renowned coffeehouse chain, has created some unique variations of Latte Macchiato and Caffe Latte. One notable creation is the Flat White, which is made with ristretto shots of espresso, steamed milk, and a thin layer of microfoam. This variation allows coffee flavors to shine through, providing a balanced and velvety experience.

Another Starbucks concoction is the Iced Caramel Macchiato, made with vanilla syrup, milk, ice, espresso, and caramel drizzle. This beverage offers a delightful blend of coffee, caramel, and sweetness.

Caramel Macchiato

Caramel Macchiato, often enjoyed as an iced beverage, appeals to those with a preference for sweetness. With a milk-to-coffee ratio similar to that of a Latte Macchiato, it includes additional layers of flavored syrup and caramel drizzle, making for a delightful, sweet taste.

Chocolate Lattes

For chocolate lovers, Chocolate Lattes combine coffee with flavors of chocolate syrup or cocoa powder. Depending on personal preferences or dietary needs, variations can include reduced-fat, sugar-free, or dairy-free options. These lattes can be crafted by incorporating different types of milk or sweeteners, and they may be topped with whipped cream or chocolate shavings for a decadent finish.

Type of Milk Protein
Whole Milk High
Skim Milk Low
Soy Milk Medium
Almond Milk Low

Cloud Macchiato

The Cloud Macchiato is an innovative creation that offers a light, airy texture. The unique aspect of this drink is its cloud-like foam, made from a protein-rich meringue base. The foam is layered atop the espresso, creating a visually pleasing, multi-layered coffee beverage. This invigorating variation is available in different flavors like caramel or cinnamon, offering an enjoyable twist to the traditional Macchiato.

In conclusion, the world of Latte Macchiato and Caffe Latte offers a wide array of variations, catering to diverse tastes and preferences. From Starbucks specialties to flavored coffee creations, coffee lovers have a multitude of options to choose from and enjoy.

Other Espresso-based Drinks

In this section, we will explore and compare other espresso-based drinks, such as Espresso Macchiato, Cappuccino, Flat White, Americano, and Café au Lait.

Espresso Macchiato

The Espresso Macchiato is a rich and bold espresso drink that is served with a small dollop of foam or steamed milk. It typically contains a single shot of espresso with a small amount of milk, providing a balance between the intense taste of espresso and the creaminess of the milk. The drink is meant for those who enjoy the bold taste of the espresso but desire a slightly milder experience.


Cappuccino is an espresso-based drink made using equal parts steamed milk, espresso, and foam. The drink has a rich and bold taste with a velvety texture. It is known for its frothy foam layer, which helps to balance out the strong flavors of the espresso. Cappuccinos usually have a stronger taste compared to lattes and are suitable for those who prefer a balanced yet bold coffee experience.

Flat White

The Flat White is another espresso-based drink that uses a double shot of espresso combined with steamed milk. Unlike cappuccinos and lattes, it has a smaller amount of foam, making the drink creamier and smoother in texture. The result is a richer and bolder taste than a latte, but milder than an espresso macchiato. Flat Whites are perfect for coffee enthusiasts looking for a full-bodied flavor with less foam.


Americano is a simple espresso-based drink that consists of a shot of espresso diluted with hot water. The addition of hot water creates a milder and less intense flavor compared to straight espresso shots. Americanos are ideal for those who enjoy the rich taste of espresso but prefer a less concentrated and bold flavor.

Café au Lait

Café au Lait is a milder coffee drink that is made using equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk. Unlike the espresso-based drinks mentioned previously, Café au Lait uses regular coffee instead of an espresso shot, giving it a smoother and lighter taste. This drink is suitable for those who prefer a gentle coffee experience with a creamy texture.

To recap, the main differences between these espresso-based drinks are determined by the ratio of ingredients used and their respective flavor profiles. Macchiatos offer a bold taste with a dollop of milk, Cappuccinos provide a richer texture with equal parts milk and foam, Flat Whites deliver creamier and smoother flavors with less foam, Americanos create a milder taste by diluting espresso with hot water, and Café au Lait brings a gentle experience with equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk. Choose your preferred drink based on your taste preferences and desired boldness or mildness.

Creating Latte Art and Presentation

Latte Art Techniques

When it comes to creating beautiful latte art, baristas need to master a few techniques. The key elements to achieving the perfect latte art are height, position, and flow. By controlling these elements, the barista can create stunning designs on top of the beverage, such as a rosetta or a heart. The side-to-side rocking motion of the pitcher helps in creating the petals of the flower design. To avoid making exaggerated claims or providing false information, it's essential to experiment and practice these techniques consistently.

Layering in Latte Macchiato

The latte macchiato is a popular caffeinated drink that gets its unique appearance from the layers created during its preparation. Unlike a caffe latte, which has a more balanced, delicate flavor, the latte macchiato is more espresso-forward. The main differences between the two drinks lie in the milk-to-coffee ratio and the layering technique applied during the making process.

A latte macchiato typically has a milk-to-coffee ratio of 1:2, while a caffe latte has a ratio of 2:1, making the latter a milkier drink. To create the layers in a latte macchiato, the following steps are essential:

  1. Begin by pouring a sufficient amount of steamed milk into a glass, ensuring a thick layer of microfoam on top.
  2. Carefully pour the espresso shot(s) on top of the microfoam layer, allowing it to penetrate the foam, creating a distinct layer between the milk and foam.
  3. The end result should display three layers: steamed milk at the bottom, espresso in the middle, and microfoam on top.

Successfully creating a latte macchiato requires practice, patience, and a skillful hand. With the right techniques and dedication, baristas can master the art of latte macchiatos and caffe lattes.

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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