Skip to main content
Coffee Types

What is a Macchiato Coffee?

As a coffee lover, you’ve probably heard about macchiato coffee. It’s a form of an espresso drink but differs from latte.

By reading through this guide, you’ll learn everything about macchiato coffee, including its meaning, origin, amount of caffeine, and how it differs from latte.

Macchiato Coffee.

Macchiato Defined

Macchiato refers to a double or single espresso drink topped with heated, foamy milk. It’s served in small cups.

A standard macchiato is approximately 1 ¼ ounce and includes one shot of espresso (1 ounce) topped with about 1 or 2 teaspoons of milk. In this case, milk is steamed with minimal foam to create a mark. It can also be made using a double espresso shot to give about 2 ounces (about 60ml) of macchiato. Italians call it caffé macchiato.

Basically, the word macchiato is an Italian word meaning a spot, stain, or mark. With respect to macchiato coffee, the mark refers to the milk dollop topped on an espresso.

The Origin of Macchiato

The most popular explanation about the origin of macchiato is that professional baristas wanted to differentiate between espresso containing milk and plain espresso. Thus, they marked the coffee containing milk. As a result, they called it macchiato.

Is Macchiato a Type of Coffee?

Standard macchiato is a type of coffee. Some coffee lovers call it espresso macchiato. It’s a form of espresso coffee.

Latte macchiato is also a form of espresso coffee, but it mainly comprises steamed milk and is marked with some espresso.

What Does A Macchiato Contain?

Macchiatos are prepared with one or double shots of espresso and a milk dollop. In this case, the milk is heated and textured. A standard macchiato doesn’t have other ingredients.

Starbucks is famed for its tasty caramel macchiatos. Caramel macchiatos comprise steamed milk, espresso, vanilla syrup, and topped with some little caramel.

Does Macchiato Contain Coffee?

Macchiato contains caffeine. For instance, one macchiato shot contains approximately 75mg caffeine while a double macchiato shot contains approximately 150mg caffeine.

Espresso macchiato contains more caffeine than latte macchiato. For instance, 1.6 ounces of espresso macchiato and 12 ounces of latte macchiato (tall serving) both contain 150mg caffeine.

Ordering Macchiatos

If you want to order caffé macchiato from specialty coffee shops or in Italy, you’ll be served with traditional macchiato, which is an espresso with little milk. However, if you want to order from a coffee chain, you’ll need to be specific that you want espresso macchiato to be served with traditional macchiato.

Macchiato at Starbucks

At Starbucks, you’ll find various terms alongside macchiato when perusing the menu such as:

  1. Doppio macchiato

At Starbucks, doppio macchiato is made by topping two shots of espresso with a milk dollop. You’ll get a serving of 1.6 fl ounces containing 150mg caffeine.

  1. Latte macchiato

Latte macchiato, or long macchiato, is prepared with steamed milk and marked with an espresso. It’s a popular variation of caramel macchiato.

  1. Iced caramel macchiato

It’s a popular drink at Starbucks and comprises caramel syrup, vanilla syrup, milk, and espresso. It’s served on ice cubes.

  1. Iced latte macchiato

It’s made with some espresso shots and whole milk. It’s served on ice cubes.

  1. Cloud macchiato

Cloud macchiato from Starbucks is a twisted form of an iced macchiato. It comprises cold foam (instead of regular milk) and espresso.

  1. Latte vs. Macchiato

Macchiato and latte differ based on the volume of milk included in the brew and the size of the serving. However, the amount of espresso used is the same. Macchiato contains a little milk topping while latte contains more milk.

The standard ratio of making latte is either 1 part espresso and 2 parts milk or 1 part espresso and 3 parts milk. When making latte, milk is mixed with espresso to give a slightly sweet and subtle flavor. On the other hand, macchiato tastes stronger with minimal sweetness.

Macchiato is typically served in 1 or 2 ounces while latte is served in at least 8 ounces.

Cappuccino vs. Macchiato

Cappuccino and macchiato differ in terms of the volume of milk used and the size of the serving. Cappuccino comprises steamed milk and espresso. A classic Italian cappuccino includes one or double shots of espresso topped with frothed milk and steamed milk in equal parts.

A properly made cappuccino comprises three layers, which are steamed milk, frothed milk, and espresso. It has an incredible texture and flavor. Its taste is very bold, with some natural sweetness that comes from lactose in milk.

Cappuccino servings differ between various places. For instance, Italian cappuccinos are served in cups measuring 5 or 6 ounces or 150ml to 180ml. Coffeehouse chains serve cappuccinos in 20 ounces at most.

Cortado vs. Macchiato

Macchiato is largely made of espresso while cortado is prepared with flat steamed milk (2 ounces) and espresso (2 ounces). Cortado is typically poured into a glass (4-ounce) instead of a ceramic mug.

Macchiato Recipe

Since macchiato is a drink based on espresso, you’ll require an espresso maker to make it at home. The best espresso maker is the one that can froth milk and espresso shots. You can also make macchiato with a capsule espresso maker.

To prepare espresso macchiato, get some coffee beans to make one espresso shot. About 7 to 10 grams of the beans will be sufficient for most portafilters. Grind the coffee beans and tamp. Insert the portafilter. Brew a shot within 20 to 25 seconds. Next, steam some little milk. Top the brewed espresso with steamed milk (1 or 2 teaspoons).

To make latte macchiato, froth 8-10 oz milk and brew one espresso shot.

You can use your capsule espresso maker to prepare espresso macchiato by brewing one pod of espresso. Then heat some milk to top the brewed espresso. Alternatively, you can make latte macchiato by heating or frothing 8-10 oz milk and one pod of espresso.


Now that you know more about macchiatos, you can easily make one at the comfort of your home. If you prefer a strong drink with some sweetness, then try espresso macchiato. If you prefer a milky and bigger drink with some caffeine and espresso highlights, then try latte macchiato.