What is a Macchiato: Types, Recipe + How to drink it?

What is a Macchiato?

A macchiato is an espresso coffee beverage that consists of a well-extracted shot(s) of espresso topped with a dash or spot of smooth milk foam.

The word macchiato is an Italian word that means marked or stained and therefore a skillfully prepared macchiato will have a distinct mark or stain of frothed milk in the middle of a concentrated dark brown rich persistent hazelnut colored crema solution called espresso.

A macchiato is small but a balance beverage drink that delivers both the flavors of espresso and the texture of milk. Macchiato coffee will at times be referred to as café macchiato or espresso macchiato. A macchiato is closely also said to resemble the Portuguese version of a coffee beverage called “café pingado” which is defined as a coffee with a drop. This means that the espresso should be marked only with a milk stain and not overwhelmed by milk in it.

What is a traditional/classic Macchiato?

A traditional macchiato is a coffee beverage that is a constitute of a pulled espresso topped up with a dash of frothed steamed  milk where the milk foam is added on top of the espresso using a teaspoon about 1 to 3 scoops.

This coffee beverage will always be served in a glass or in a demitasse glass. A classic macchiato will always produce a bitter espresso flavor, bold that cuts through with a smooth sheen of steamed milk foam.

The finished product will always look slightly lighter in color than a straight espresso shot due to the addition of an amount of milk.

Tip: The amount of milk added is negligible. A macchiato will quantify to around 4 ounces with almost equal parts of espresso to steamed milk.

Macchiato flavor- How does it taste like

Macchiato flavor

 A macchiato flavor is a coffee beverage derivative deduced from café macchiato/espresso macchiato by means of introducing coffee flavors such as syrups and sauces into the macchiato.

There are a variety of coffee flavor syrups commonly used in macchiatos such as vanilla flavor, caramel flavor, and hazelnut flavor. All these are simple syrups. The coffee sauce used includes: – caramel sauce.

How does it taste like?

On tasting notes, a flavored macchiato will always produce a very pleasant taste as delicious and sweet mixture of the simple flavor syrup dominates the stronger espresso taste.

While most people from different regions embrace the use of only plain simple syrup, using actual caramel sauce gives the best flavor. Instead of caramel sauce just adding the sweetness aspect, it also adds a ton of flavor too.

Different types of macchiato

Macchiato exists in different distinct varieties as either hot or cold in nature. Also, besides having a classic/traditional macchiato there exist signature macchiato coffee beverages which applies in a various different region where professional baristas apply their skills in preparing the signature macchiato.

Café macchiato/espresso macchiato-

Is an espresso based beverage where an espresso is subdued to a stain of milk foam.

An espresso macchiato does not form layers and it’s very small in quantity compared to the rest of the macchiato.

As small as it is, it packs a punch!

The major variations in the milk to espresso ratio. In this case of an espresso macchiato, the applicable ratio is a 1: 2 ratio where espresso is more than the milk spot or mark added.

Latte macchiato-

A latte macchiato is a layered coffee beverage that is constituted by a more quantity of milk than the espresso. Latte macchiato puts more emphasis on milk rather than espresso.

Unlike in a situation of a café latte which is closely similar to latte macchiato apart from the layer formation aspect and more foam, a café latte is prepared by first beginning by pouring a shot of espresso into a latte mug then followed by a free pour of a well steamed milk that has a smooth sheen thin of micro-foam.

For a latte macchiato, milk is frothed and steamed extensively so as to yield a significant light dry foam with a liquid layer of milk underneath poured into a latte mug then followed by a pour of espresso which is done gently.

Most baristas may use a spoon to pour in an espresso over the back spoon through the walls of the latte mug or they may use a small espresso brew pitcher.

The speed flow of espresso poured through the back spoon or center using a small pitcher should be VERY slowly over the steamed milk in order to achieve the perfect layer.

For a latte macchiato glass has to be glass so as the layers can be visible. The best fit glass of a macchiato should be of about 12 Oz glass

Caramel macchiato

This is a flavored coffee beverage that is a constitute of simple syrup vanilla flavor, a shot of espresso, steamed foamy milk and garnished on top with a drizzle  of caramel sauce. A caramel macchiato is always intended to be served in a mug and sipped from the mug.

Caramel latte vs caramel macchiato? Most coffee consumers in most cases tend to confuse/ differentiate between a caramel macchiato and a caramel latte. These are two different types of beverage bearing distinct modes of production. The only thing in common both caramel macchiato and caramel late share is that all are served in a mug.

Caramel latte- this is a flavored espresso based coffee beverage that consists of an extracted/pulled espresso, flavored simple caramel syrup and steamed milk.

Caramel latte mode of production

1) Pull /extract a single shot of espresso

2) Froth your milk to the intended temperatures of about 65˚c to 70˚c

3) Into the mug put around 30 ml of simple caramel syrup

4) Onto the syrup add the pulled shot of espresso.

5) Fill the remaining part of the mug with your steamed milk.

Caramel macchiato mode of production

1) pull/extract your shot of espresso

2) Froth your milk to the intended temperatures

3) Into the mug pour the simple vanilla flavor

4) Pour your steamed milk to fill ¾ of the mug

5) Fill the remaining ¼ with milk foam

6) Add your shot of espresso and drizzle the caramel sauce on top

Caramel latte is basically named with the aspect of drizzle that is topped up with and not the simple syrup added unlike the case of caramel latte.


Equipment’s of making a macchiato

  • Espresso machine
  • Coffee grinder (should be a well-calibrated grinder)
  • Milk steaming jar
  • Espresso cup

Ingredients of making a classic macchiato

  • Dark roasted coffee beans or ground
  • Cold milk
  • Filtered water


(I) From the grinder, grind your dark roasted espresso bean just before brewing.

Tip: Your grinder must always be well calibrated so as to achieve the desired espresso.

In order to obtain a well balance espresso and flavors the following must be adhered to;

  • Proper dosing should be conducted so as to reduce chances of over-extraction and under extraction as poor espresso implicates a bad macchiato.
  • Under extraction is a result of low dosage (less than 7 grams for a single shot and 14 grams for a double shot). This produces an espresso with less body and is more acidic
  • Over extraction is caused by a high dosage of coffee (more than 7grams g or 14 grams). This will produce an espresso that has more body and is less acidic.

(ii) Pull a shot of espresso.

  • Using an espresso machine, pull/extract a shot of espresso into an espresso cup for about 20 to 30 seconds to achieve the standard quantity of 30 ml.

(iii)Using a steaming jar, steam a small amount of cold milk by inserting the steaming/frothing wand of the espresso machine.

Froth until the quantity of milk doubles in size.

(iv) Pour your steamed-frothed milk into the espresso cup by making a spot on top of espresso

In other instances, professional baristas at times ought/prefer to initiate the spooning method to make a mark or spot.

Tip: Spooning is the art of scooping the top smooth sheen later of frothed milk using a spoon and pour directly on the top center of an espresso.


Macchiato is intended to be served in an espresso cup or a ceramic demitasse cup where one sips from the cup.

A demitasse cup will always hold a capacity of 4 Oz to 5 Oz.

This will therefore have some espresso and sweet milk smooth foam all in one sip and a body of the drink.

Consuming a macchiato from a to-go cup will literally not give you a complete or full coffee beverage effect. It’s served as single macchiato, double macchiato, or triple macchiato

All these share the same principles of production and only differs on shots of espresso pulled a single shot (one shot), double shot (two shots), and triple shot (three shots).

For a double macchiato and triple macchiato here we compromise on the espresso kick where we ought to subject customers to go for a cappuccino.


A macchiato is much stronger than a cappuccino. Macchiato being produced with a shot of espresso and a small splash of milk foam, it renders it strong in flavor than a cappuccino.

The major difference between cappuccino and macchiato is based on the amount of milk added.

A cappuccino will have a more volume of milk as compared to that of espresso macchiato thus making it less strong.

Making comparison in terms on which or where the coffee are served, a cappuccino cup is big is size as compared to that of espresso macchiato.

This allows a cappuccino to hold more steamed milk and foam than the small espresso cup which cannot hold large voluminous amount of milk.

Milk will always have a natural sweet taste which in turns impacts the natural nature strength of the espresso hence the less milk added, the stronger the coffee beverage.

Coffee to milk ratio here will always be outstanding when it comes to determining the strength of which coffee is stronger than the other.

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