Unlike how you can easily tell whether you are served a cup of cappuccino or a shot of espresso, I cannot say that the same goes for a macchiato. Not everyone can handle that strong punch of an espresso shot or feel that a regular cup of cappuccino might be a little weak. That is why macchiato serves as a balance between the two, and thus making this milk and espresso combo a popular choice for coffee lovers.

What is a Macchiato?


Origin Story

An Italian terminology that translates to “stained” or marked”, this bold, rich drink is an espresso “marked” with foamed milk on top to bring out its flavor. Milk is added to balance out the coffee color spectrum. Throughout the years, its recipe has been evolving through the addition of caramel, cinnamon, and chocolate, among others.

How Is It Made?

With just only two main ingredients needed, milk and espresso, it is simple enough to make even in the comforts of your home. For coffee addicts preferring something softer than an espresso but still sweet and creamy, then the macchiato is just right. The addition of milk foam can also be an option. Its goal is to maintain the espresso’s rich flavor while having a sweet taste combined with milk.

Two Types of Macchiato

Espresso Macchiato

Based on its name, you’ll straight up know that this consists of more espresso than milk. Typically served in a small white cup or an espresso glass, this drink, more popularly known in Italy as caffè macchiato or long macchiato, is mostly made up of 1 - 2 teaspoons of hot or cold milk, with a latte foam art poured on top. This original macchiato is a perfect alternative for the latte with a hint of sweet and creamy taste to your espresso.

Latte Macchiato

Contrary to espresso macchiato, this sweet, layered drink is served in a tall glass that comprises about 1/3 to 1/2 steamed milk added with few amounts of slowly poured espresso, thus creating its signature look. Heavy in milk but if poured properly, a clear gradient of thick steamed milk is formed at the bottom, making its way to the foamed milk layer on top.

Cappuccino vs. Latte vs. Macchiato

Types of Macchiato

With so many milk-based drink options to choose from, picking out the best one to start your day could be quite difficult. By their names themselves, you should already get a huge hint as to how each of these drinks is made.


One of the world’s most popular drinks with equal portions of balanced foam, espresso, and steamed milk that complements the espresso’s bold flavor. Known for being the creamiest and has a milky taste, you can tell that this goes way back hundreds of years ago, even before espresso machines were made. Considered a famous breakfast staple served before 11 am topped with either hearts or Rosetta patterns sprinkled with a bit of cocoa powder.


Easily mistaken as cappuccino because of their nearly identical ratio of ingredients, both Italian drinks can be easily made at home through the use of an espresso machine. First, add a single espresso shot, often doubled, followed by pouring steamed milk while creating a smooth fluid motion to finish off, top with latte art. Typically served in a larger cup as compared to that of the previous, its main difference is the amount of milk ratio making the latte milkier and creamier.


A much newer concoction that became popular recently, macchiato, otherwise known as an espresso macchiato, has a much bolder taste due to its lesser milk content than the previous two. While there are two types of macchiato, the traditional espresso macchiato is a pure shot without the addition of sugar or anything else, after which a froth of milk is added right above it.

The Benefits of Drinking Macchiato

A daily regime for many, you probably are keenly aware that espresso-based drinks or simply espresso provide a boost of energy. Great for health enthusiasts, this drink has a lesser amount of calories with of course the exception of sweeteners and syrups that contain high levels of sugar.

For as long as you drink in moderation, this drink will surely help control your blood pressure and make you stay alert. Studies show that caramel macchiato neutralizes body toxins, and keeps bones healthy to prevent osteoporosis.

What is a Caramel Macchiato?

This is one of the most popular drinks, and a bit overrated, I must say since it is almost like a flipped over vanilla latte drizzled with caramel on top, especially if you are ordering from Starbucks. This can be difficult to make at home since the addition of caramel can easily make the drink too sweet, but you can also add your twist. Whether hot or iced, this staple drink will surely be as indulging.

How to Make Macchiato

Macchiato Benefits

Often a misunderstood drink, to make the traditional macchiato, you simply have to “mark” or “stain” the milk with espresso, instead of doing it the other way around. You do not need an expensive coffee machine to make it work, but remember to keep your ratios right.

First, take about 16.5 grams of ground coffee into your portafilter, which fits well with your home espresso machine to make 2 ounces of espresso.

Steam milk until your hand feels warm before gently drizzling a small dash of milk on the espresso, followed by a bit of foam on top.


Being new to the coffee scene might be confusing at first because of the different varieties of macchiatos available since each café has its unique versions based on its customer’s tastes and preferences. Whether made of pure milk or foam-based, or served hot or iced, the macchiato can surely attract customers so be specific about which kind you want so that you’ll be sure to be served up to your expectations.

Putting all the information needed aside, creating the perfect cup all depends on the coffee’s ratio to milk to determine how strong you want the espresso to taste.

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