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What is a Macchiato?

Macchiato, also known as an espresso macchiato, is an espresso coffee drink containing small amounts of milk, the milk is usually foamed. The term macchiato is an Italian word meaning stained, therefore caffè macchiato simply means stained coffee. The macchiatos are ideal for when you want a joke of caffeine without all the extra calories.

Welcome to the world of coffee, where we shine a light on the macchiato, a favourite for many. "What is a macchiato?" you might wonder. Simply put, it's espresso with just a bit of milk added to it. The word "macchiato" means "marked" in Italian, which fits perfectly because it's like your espresso has a small mark of milk on it. This makes the macchiato ideal for those who love strong coffee but also enjoy a slight smoothness. Join us as we explore what makes the macchiato such a beloved choice.

Latte Macchiato: The Other Side of the Coin

Let's talk about the latte macchiato. This coffee is a bit different because it's mostly made of milk with just a little bit of coffee.

What is a Latte Macchiato?

  • A latte macchiato is mostly warm milk with a small shot of coffee added. This makes it very milky and only a little bit coffee-tasting.

Why Choose a Latte Macchiato?

  • If you like your drinks more milky and not too strong on the coffee, then a latte macchiato is a good choice. It's gentle and easy to drink.

Latte Macchiato vs. Macchiato

  • The big difference is in how much milk there is. A latte macchiato has a lot of milk and just a little coffee, while a macchiato is the opposite – mostly coffee with a bit of milk.

How to Tell It's a Latte Macchiato

  • When you look at a latte macchiato, you'll see it's mostly milk. There's just a small layer of coffee on top or mixed in, making it light on coffee flavour.

Coffee Comparison: Latte Macchiato vs. Latte

Feature Latte Macchiato Latte
Main Ingredient More milk, less coffee More milk, more coffee
Coffee Flavor Just a little bit of coffee Stronger coffee taste
Milk Content Lots of warm, frothy milk Lots of warm milk, less froth
Layering Milk at the bottom, coffee on top Mixed together, no clear layers
Feature Cafe Macchiato Latte Macchiato
Main Ingredient More coffee, less milk More milk, less coffee
Coffee Flavor Strong coffee taste Just a little bit of coffee
Milk Content Just a dash of milk Lots of warm, frothy milk
Layering Coffee with a spot of milk Milk at the bottom, coffee on top

So, if you're looking for something warm and milky with just a touch of coffee, the latte macchiato might be just what you need. It's soft and easy, perfect for when you want something comforting to drink.

Comparative Analysis: Macchiato in the Coffee Spectrum

When we look at where macchiato fits in with other coffee drinks, it's like finding where your favourite book fits on the shelf. Each coffee has its own story, just like a macchiato does.

Macchiato vs. Latte:

  • A macchiato is mostly strong coffee with just a little milk. It's like a quick, bold adventure. A latte is more like a long, milky journey with more coffee than a latte macchiato but less than a macchiato.

Macchiato vs. Cappuccino:

  • Both have strong coffee, but a cappuccino has more milk and foam, making it like a fluffy cloud of coffee. A macchiato is more straightforward, with just a dot of milk.

Latte Macchiato vs. Macchiato:

  • Think of a latte macchiato as the opposite of a macchiato. It's mostly milk with a bit of coffee. It's gentler and creamier, like a smooth ride with just a small bump of coffee.

Espresso Macchiato vs. Cafe Macchiato:

  • They're pretty much the same thing, just called differently sometimes. Both are like a strong shot of adventure with a tiny splash of milk for a smooth finish.

Compared to a latte or cappuccino, a caffe macchiato has much less milk. This means you get a more intense coffee flavor, perfect for coffee lovers who enjoy the taste of pure espresso but with a softer edge.

Why Choose a Caffe Macchiato?

If you're looking for a quick coffee hit that's strong and slightly softened by milk, the caffe macchiato is a great choice. It's less about the milk and more about savouring the espresso.

So, in the big world of coffee, a macchiato stands out for being bold and quick, with just a touch of milk to smooth things out. It's perfect for when you want a strong coffee taste without too much fuss.

Ground Coffee vs Instant Coffee: Which Suits a Macchiato Better?

Choosing the right kind of coffee for your macchiato is like picking the best paint for your masterpiece. Let's see whether Ground Coffee or instant coffee works better.

The Case for Ground Coffee:

  • Ground coffee is fresh and gives a macchiato its bold, rich taste. It's like using fresh ingredients in cooking – it just tastes better.
  • Making a macchiato with ground coffee means you can capture all the deep flavours and aromas that make this drink special.

Why Not Instant Coffee?:

  • Instant coffee is quick and easy, but it might not give your macchiato the strong coffee punch it needs. It's a bit like using a shortcut in a recipe and not getting quite the same flavour.
  • Instant coffee can work if you're in a hurry, but it won't give you that authentic coffee shop taste at home.

Best Choice for a Macchiato:

  • For a real macchiato experience, ground coffee is the way to go. It brings out the true character of the coffee, making your drink more enjoyable.

So, when you're making a macchiato, choosing ground coffee over Instant Coffee can make all the difference. It's all about getting that perfect coffee taste that makes a macchiato so special.

Health and Nutrition: What's in Your Macchiato?

Thinking about what's in your macchiato isn't just about taste; it's also about what it means for your health. Let's break it down in simple terms.

Calories in a Macchiato:

  • A basic espresso macchiato with just a dash of milk has very few calories, usually around 10-20, depending on the milk used.
  • A latte macchiato, with more milk, might have more calories, about 100-150, especially if you use whole milk.

Caffeine Content:

  • Macchiatos are strong because they're mostly espresso. A single shot of espresso in your macchiato has about 63mg of caffeine. That's a good kick but less than a full cup of drip coffee.

Milk Choices:

  • Using skimmed milk can lower the calorie count of your macchiato.
  • Non-dairy options like almond or oat milk are great if you're lactose intolerant or vegan. They change the taste a bit and usually have fewer calories, but it's worth checking as some might have added sugars.

Sugar and Extras:

  • A plain macchiato without added sugars or flavours is quite low in calories. But remember, adding syrups or extra sugar can bump up the calorie count.

So, a macchiato can be a low-calorie choice that gives you a nice caffeine boost, especially if you go easy on the milk and skip the sweet extras. It's all about making choices that fit your taste and health needs.

Why the Best Coffee Beans Matter

Choosing the Whole Bean Coffee is like picking the freshest ingredients for your favourite dish. It makes all the difference, especially when making something as distinct as a macchiato.

Taste and Aroma:

  • The quality of your beans directly affects the taste and smell of your macchiato coffee. Top-notch beans mean a more delicious, aromatic cup.


  • Fresh beans ensure your espresso macchiato or latte macchiato has that lively, vibrant flavour. Stale beans just can’t deliver the same zing.

Type of Bean:

  • Whether it's a bold espresso macchiato or a smoother latte macchiato, the type of bean (Arabica vs Robusta, for instance) influences the strength and depth of your coffee.

Roast Profile:

  • The roast level can change the character of your macchiato. A darker roast for an espresso macchiato might bring out a rich, intense taste, while a lighter roast might suit a latte macchiato with its more delicate flavours.

Ethical Sourcing:

  • Knowing where and how your coffee beans are sourced (like fair trade beans) doesn’t just feel good; it often means higher quality and better taste for your macchiato.

When you start with the best coffee beans, you’re setting the stage for a truly great macchiato, be it a classic espresso macchiato or a creamy latte macchiato. It’s all about building from the ground up with quality ingredients.

Pairing with Macchiato: The Perfect Companions

Choosing the right snack to enjoy with your macchiato can elevate your coffee experience, much like finding the perfect side dish to complement your main course.

Bakery Fresh:

  • A warm, flaky croissant or a sweet, rich pain au chocolat pairs wonderfully with the robust flavour of an espresso macchiato. The buttery layers of pastry contrast nicely with the intensity of the coffee.

Chocolate Pairings:

  • A slice of chocolate cake or a few chocolate chip cookies can bring out the depth in a latte macchiato. The smooth, creamy milk in the coffee blends beautifully with the cocoa's bitterness.

Savoury Selections:

  • A cheese and ham croissant or olive focaccia offers a delightful savoury counterbalance to the sharp, rich notes of a caffe macchiato.

Morning Matches:

  • For an early start, a macchiato with a side of avocado toast or a fruit scone can provide a balanced blend of flavours, combining the boldness of the coffee with the freshness of the fruit or the creaminess of the avocado.

Finding the right partner for your macchiato isn't just about taste—it's about creating a moment of enjoyment, where every sip and bite brings a smile. Whether you lean towards sweet, rich, or savoury, there's a perfect pairing waiting to be discovered.

Making A Perfect Cup Of Macchiato

Making a delicious macchiato is easy once you know the basics. Here’s how to do it, step by step:


  • 1 shot of espresso (for that strong coffee base)
  • A small splash of milk (for the espresso macchiato) or more if you’re making a latte macchiato

Procedure for Espresso Macchiato:

  • Brew a strong shot of espresso. This is the heart of your macchiato.
  • Warm up a little bit of milk and froth it until it’s nice and foamy.
  • Pour the espresso into a cup.
  • Gently add a spoonful of the frothed milk on top of the espresso.

Procedure for Latte Macchiato:

  • Warm up more milk this time and froth it until it’s creamy.
  • Fill a glass mostly with this frothy milk.
  • Carefully pour a shot of espresso over the milk. Doing it slowly helps keep the layers separate.

And there you have it, your perfect cup of macchiato, whether you like it strong and bold or smooth and milky. Enjoy your homemade coffee just the way you like it!

The Role of Milk in Macchiatos

Milk isn't just an add-on in a macchiato; it's a key player that can change the whole taste of your macchiato. Here's how milk makes a difference:

Type of Milk:

  • The type of milk you use (whole, skimmed, or a dairy-free alternative) can change the taste and feel of your macchiato. Whole milk makes it creamier, while skimmed is lighter, and almond or oat milk brings its own unique flavour.

Steamed Milk vs. Foam:

  • Steamed milk is milk that's been heated and slightly frothed, making it warm and a bit creamy. It's great for a latte macchiato where you want more milk and less froth.
  • Milk foam is what you get when you aerate milk a lot more. It's light and fluffy, perfect for topping an espresso macchiato.

Preparation Techniques:

  • How you prepare your milk can make your macchiato feel like a cosy blanket or a quick pick-me-up. For a latte macchiato, you'll want more steamed milk, gently poured into the cup. For an espresso macchiato, it's all about that dollop of foam on top.

Impact on Taste and Texture:

  • The right milk can make your macchiato smooth and velvety or bold and intense. It's like choosing the perfect outfit for the day; it sets the tone for your drink.

So, when you're making your next macchiato, think about how milk can affect your macchiato. It's not just about adding it in; it's about choosing the right type and preparing it just right to make your coffee exactly how you love it.

Macchiatos Today: Evolution and Variety

The world of macchiatos has grown and changed, becoming a colourful tapestry of tastes and traditions. Let's explore how this classic drink has evolved:

What Are Macchiatos?

  • Originally, a macchiato was just a shot of espresso with a small splash of milk. But now, it can be so much more, with variations like the latte macchiato and the espresso macchiato showing the drink's versatility.

The Diversity in Macchiato Drinks:

  • What is in a macchiato can vary widely. Some places might serve a macchiato with flavoured syrups, while others stick to the classic recipe. Then there's the latte macchiato, which flips the script and is more milk than coffee.

Classic Espresso Macchiato:

  • The original, made with a shot of espresso and a small amount of frothed milk on top.

Latte Macchiato:

  • Inverted from the classic, this version starts with hot milk, and espresso is poured in, creating a layered effect.

Caramel Macchiato:

  • A sweet take on the macchiato with vanilla-flavoured syrup, steamed milk, espresso, and topped with caramel sauce.

Mocha Macchiato:

  • A chocolatey variant, combining espresso with chocolate syrup and a hint of milk, sometimes topped with whipped cream.

Iced Macchiato:

  • A chilled version, perfect for warmer weather, often made with espresso, cold milk, and ice, and can include flavoured syrups.

Honey Cinnamon Macchiato:

  • A spiced and sweet variation, featuring honey and cinnamon with the traditional espresso and milk.

Almond Milk Macchiato:

  • A dairy-free option, using almond milk instead of cow's milk, catering to those preferring plant-based alternatives.

Cultural Interpretations:

  • Asking "What's a macchiato?" in different parts of the world can get you very different answers. In some places, a macchiato is still that simple coffee with a bit of milk. In others, it might be a layered, Instagram-worthy creation.

Macchiato vs. Latte and Other Coffees:

  • The line between a macchiato and other coffee drinks like lattes is getting blurrier. The key difference is usually in how much milk is used and how the drink is layered or mixed.






Base Ingredient





Milk Content

Minimal (just a spot or dash)

High (mostly steamed milk with a bit of foam)

Equal parts steamed milk and foam

None, diluted with hot water


Distinct layers with espresso topped by a little milk

Well mixed, with a thin layer of foam on top

Layered with a thick layer of foam on top

Mixed, resulting in a uniform consistency

Flavour Profile

Strong, bold espresso flavour with a hint of milk

Smooth, creamy, with a balanced espresso taste

Strong espresso taste with creamy foam

Diluted espresso taste, similar to brewed coffee

Serving Size

Usually small, focused on the espresso shot

Larger, due to a greater volume of milk

Medium, due to equal parts milk and foam

Varies, but typically larger due to added water


Limited to type and amount of milk

Wide range (syrups, types of milk, extra shots, etc.)

Sometimes dusted with cocoa or cinnamon

Sometimes served with milk or cream

Caffeine Strength

High, due to the higher espresso-to-milk ratio

Moderate, diluted by the larger amount of milk

High, similar to a macchiato due to less milk

Lower, diluted by the added water

 While we've explored the diverse world of macchiatos, it's essential to highlight that Presto Coffee offers an array of quality coffee products that can enhance your macchiato-making experience at home. Here's why you should choose Presto Coffee for crafting that perfect cup:

  • Coffee Beans: Our carefully selected coffee beans provide the rich, full-bodied base essential for a robust espresso macchiato.
  • Fresh Coffee: With Presto's Fresh Coffee, every sip of your macchiato promises peak flavour and aroma, bringing the café experience into your kitchen.
  • Instant Coffee: For those times when convenience is key, our instant coffee offers a quick yet flavourful option, ensuring you don't miss out on your macchiato moment.
  • Ground Coffee: Perfectly ground for optimal extraction, our ground coffee makes it easier to achieve that intense espresso shot needed for a true macchiato.
  • Coffee Bags: Bringing innovation and ease, our Coffee Bags provide an alternative method to brew a strong base for your macchiato, combining convenience with quality.

Choosing Presto Coffee means selecting from a range of top-notch products that promise to elevate your homemade macchiato, ensuring every cup is as delicious as it is memorable.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I make sure I get the right type of macchiato when I order?

If you want the strong coffee type, ask for an espresso macchiato. If you like it milky, go for a latte macchiato. This way, there's no mix-up!

2. Can I still make a good macchiato at home if I don't have a big coffee machine?

Yes, you can! Use a small coffee pot on the stove for the coffee part. For the milk, just warm it and whisk it until it's frothy.

3. Why doesn't my macchiato at home taste like the one from the coffee shop?

The taste can change a lot depending on the coffee you use and how you froth the milk. Use fresh coffee beans and get your frothing just right for the best taste.

4. What can I do if my macchiato is too strong for me?

Try adding a little more frothy milk to make it less strong. But remember, adding too much milk might make it more like a latte.

5. How can I sweeten my macchiato without losing the coffee taste?

A little bit of vanilla syrup or some cocoa powder can add sweetness without hiding the coffee's taste.

6. What if I can't have regular milk in my macchiato?

No problem! You can use milk that doesn't come from cows, like almond or soy milk, to froth and add to your coffee.

7. Why does my macchiato sometimes taste burnt, and how can I avoid it?

A burnt taste might happen if your coffee is brewed too long or the milk gets too hot. Keep an eye on your brewing time and don't let the milk boil.

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