Macchiato Vs Cappuccino: Differences and Which One to Choose?

What is Macchiato?

A macchiato is an espresso coffee beverage that consists of a pulled/extracted espresso topped with a dash or spot of a smooth milk foam floating on top.

Is also referred to as café macchiato or espresso macchiato


Macchiato is basically believed to have been originated from Italy.

 The word macchiato is an Italian word which means marked or stained and therefore a skillful prepared macchiato will have a distinct mark or stained frothed milk in the middles of a dark brown concentrated persistent colored crema called espresso.

Macchiato was majorly created/prepared by professional baristas to distinguish it from the regular plain espresso with that constituting some quantities of milk.

A macchiato is 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 stain and not the espresso being overwhelmed by milk in it.

Ingredients of a macchiato

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

Equipment’s of making a macchiato

  • Espresso machine
  • Coffee grinder(should be a well calibrated grinder)
  • Milk steaming jar
  • Espresso cup (should be U/egg shaped from the inside to maintain the thickness of espresso) or demitasse glass.

Procedure in preparing a macchiato

Grind your roasted dark espresso beans (7 grams for single shot and 14 grams for double shot)

Pull/extract your shot of espresso in an espresso cup for about 20 seconds to 30 seconds to achieve the required standard quantity and quality of espresso.

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

Pour/spoon your steamed-frothed milk into the espresso cup by making a sot/mark on top of espresso.

Taste of a macchiato

An espresso macchiato will always produce a bitter, rich, bold espresso flavor.

The small amount of milk added to the espresso helps to improve any subtle notes present in the ground coffee pulled unlike the plain shot of espresso which will produce a slightly less back end bitterness.

Milk content in a macchiato

A macchiato has a milk content ratio of (90% espresso, 10% milk) as a macchiato is a combination of a shot of espresso and a dollop/splash of milk.

This can also be interpreted as 2: 1 espresso to milk ratio as the intension is not the espresso being overwhelmed by milk.

Caffeine content in a macchiato

Espresso Macchiato having a small quantity of milk added it has a much stronger flavor than other coffees.

The coffee flavor and caffeine content will still remain clear close to that of straight espresso as milk added has no or very minimal impact. It contains an average of 100 mg per shot.

Sugar content in a macchiato

By adding a splash of milk and milk foam into an espresso it reduces the bitter flavors to become less harsh. Also, the milk improves notes like chocolate to become more pleasant.

Generally macchiato has 0 (zero) grams sugar But milk will always have a key role in making the drink exhibit some sense of bitter sweet taste.

Serving of a macchiato

Espresso macchiato is served in a ceramic demitasse cups.

What is Cappuccino?

A cappuccino is an espresso based beverage with equal amounts of milk, espresso and milk froth.

Other professional baristas defines it as a coffee beverage where a measurable amount of pressure is exerted and milk froth added into the espresso.

Origin of Cappuccino

Cappuccino originates from Italy

The word cappuccino comes from an Italian word “cappuccino” which means “hood”.

It also was named after the color of monks and nun hoods.

Ingredients of a cappuccino

  • Fresh cold milk
  • Dark roasted coffee beans/ground
  • Filtered water

Equipment’s of making a Cappuccino

  • Espresso machine
  • Coffee grinder (should be well-calibrated)
  • Pitcher (milk-steaming jar)

Cappuccino cup-the size, shape and material of the cup plays a major role for the enhancement of flavor, heat retention and presentation.

Procedure in making a cappuccino

  • Grind your dark roasted espresso beans
  • Pull/extract your espresso for about 20 seconds to 30 seconds
  • As you extract your espresso, froth and then steam your milk to achieve a thick layer of milk foam.
  • Make a free pour of your frothed-steamed milk into your espresso-making latte art for better presentation.

Milk content in a cappuccino

Typically, a cappuccino contains equal part of its contents and is made up of 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 foamed creamy texture.

Caffeine content in a cappuccino

The amount of caffeine in a cappuccino depends on the amount of espresso used in either a single or double shot. 1 to 1.5 ounces will contain about 60 to 185 mg of caffeine.

Sugar content in a cappuccino

Cappuccino is said to contain sugars to about 5.2 grams. This is a result of milk content added to the espresso. Milk will always have sugar.

Serving a cappuccino

A cappuccino is served into a U/Egg cup called a cappuccino cup. It has an elliptical bottom that has a thick wall and a wider top that has thin walls. The thinner top allows the crema to be displayed properly.

Similarities Between Macchiato and Cappuccino

  1. Both constitute espresso as a base
  2. They both contain milk contents
  3. Both use the same ingredients
  4. They are both are well prepared using an espresso machine to get a well-balanced pulled shot of espresso and steamed milk.

Difference between a Macchiato and a Cappuccino

Made by adding a splash of milk to the espressoMade by adding equal parts of steamed milk and froth to the espresso
Has no milk froth. Contains dash/mark of steamed milk on top of the espressoHas milk froth on top of the espresso that is 1/3 of the entire coffee
Less in quantity as is only constituted of espresso and dash of milk.More in quantity as it’s constituted of equal parts of milk, steamed milk and milk froth.
Served in a demitasse cupServed in a cappuccino cup
Stronger than a cappuccinoAlmost strong like a macchiato as the more amount of milk added tends to dilute the straight shot of espresso.
Macchiato uses a single shotA cappuccino uses both single and double shots of espresso
Has only one way of presentationHas different ways to be presented especially through latte arts
Milk to espresso ratio can be interpreted as 1:2 with espresso taking the larger part as dash of milk induced is minimal in quantityIn a cappuccino, the milk to espresso ratio can be interpreted as 1.1 as cappuccino is made of equal parts of milk, espresso and milk froth.
Macchiato Has more acidity content.A cappuccino has a less acidity content
Prepared by spooning a dash of steamed milk on top of the espressoPrepared by making a free pour into the espresso and making latte arts for skillful baristas
A macchiato is more bold than a cappuccinoCappuccino is less bold than a macchiato as the milk added interferes with the true nature of the espresso.
Has less sugarsHas more sugars as the more milk added, more sugars are added too

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