What Are the Two Types of Macchiato?

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Two cups of macchiato on a wooden tray.
Table of Contents
Two cups of macchiato on a wooden tray.

You might think there’s only one type of macchiato, but you’d be mistaken. In fact, there are two distinct variations of this beloved espresso-based drink.

If you’re looking for a bolder, more espresso-forward experience, the traditional macchiato is for you.

On the other hand, if you prefer a creamier, milk-based option, the latte macchiato is your go-to.

Whether you crave a strong jolt or a smooth sip, we’ve got you covered with the two types of macchiatos.

Key Takeaways

  • The two types of macchiatos are the Traditional Macchiato and the Latte Macchiato.
  • Traditional macchiatos have a lower milk to espresso ratio and emphasize the espresso flavor, while latte macchiatos have a higher milk to espresso ratio and highlight the milk.
  • Macchiatos can vary in portion size, with some places serving smaller espresso-sized macchiatos and others offering larger milk-based macchiatos.
  • Baristas can create artful designs on the foam of macchiatos using techniques like free pouring or etching.

Traditional Macchiato

You should always order a traditional macchiato if you want a strong espresso with a small amount of milk. This classic Italian beverage has an interesting origin and history.

The word ‘macchiato’ means ‘stained’ or ‘spotted’ in Italian, referring to the way the milk is added to the espresso. It’s believed that the macchiato was first served in Italy in the early 20th century.

The taste profile of a traditional macchiato is bold and intense, with a rich espresso flavor that’s only slightly mellowed by the small amount of milk. The milk is usually steamed and then poured into the espresso, creating a beautiful layering effect. This method allows the coffee flavors to shine through while adding a touch of creaminess.

Flavor notes often include strong, bitter, and nutty undertones, with a hint of sweetness from the milk. Overall, the traditional macchiato is a perfect choice for those who enjoy a strong espresso with just a touch of milk to enhance the flavors.

Latte Macchiato

Have you ever tried a latte macchiato, or would you prefer a traditional macchiato instead? When it comes to macchiatos, there are two distinct types: the traditional macchiato and the latte macchiato. While both beverages contain espresso and milk, they differ in terms of the espresso and milk ratio and the preparation techniques.

A latte macchiato, meaning ‘stained milk’ in Italian, is a layered drink that consists primarily of steamed milk with a small amount of espresso added. The espresso is ‘stained’ into the milk, creating a beautiful layered effect. The espresso to milk ratio is much higher in a traditional macchiato, resulting in a stronger coffee flavor.

In terms of preparation, a traditional macchiato is made by adding a small amount of espresso to a cup and then topping it with a dollop of foamed milk. This creates a bold and intense flavor. On the other hand, a latte macchiato is made by pouring steamed milk into a glass and then adding a shot of espresso on top. The milk and espresso layers remain separate, creating a visually appealing drink.

Espresso Versus Steamed Milk

Do you prefer more espresso or steamed milk in your macchiato? When it comes to this popular coffee beverage, the choice between espresso and steamed milk can greatly impact the flavor and overall experience.

Macchiato, which means ‘stained’ or ‘marked’ in Italian, is traditionally made by adding a small amount of espresso to steamed milk. However, the ratio of espresso to milk can vary based on personal preference.

Espresso, the foundation of the macchiato, is a concentrated form of coffee that’s brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans. It’s known for its strong flavor and rich aroma. Steamed milk, on the other hand, adds a creamy and velvety texture to the macchiato. The temperature of the steamed milk is also crucial in achieving the desired balance between the espresso and milk.

For those who prefer a more intense coffee flavor, adding more espresso to the macchiato can provide a bolder taste. On the other hand, if you enjoy a smoother and creamier drink, opting for more steamed milk can enhance the overall texture.

In recent years, the art of creating intricate designs with the espresso has become a popular trend in the coffee industry. Known as espresso art, it involves carefully pouring the espresso over the steamed milk to create patterns or designs on the surface. Whether you prefer a heart, a rosetta, or a simple swirl, the choice between espresso and steamed milk will play a crucial role in achieving the desired result.

Ultimately, the decision between more espresso or steamed milk in your macchiato comes down to personal taste. Experimenting with different ratios and milk temperatures can help you discover your perfect cup of macchiato.

Origin and History

Interestingly, the origin and history of the macchiato can be traced back to Italy, where it was first created. The macchiato, meaning ‘stained’ or ‘spotted’ in Italian, is a coffee beverage that consists of a shot of espresso with a small amount of milk added. It has become a popular choice among coffee lovers around the world due to its bold flavor and versatility.

The cultural significance of the macchiato is evident in the way it’s enjoyed and appreciated in different countries. Here are three sub-topics to explore further:

  • Italian Tradition: In Italy, the birthplace of the macchiato, it’s often enjoyed as a morning pick-me-up or an afternoon indulgence. It’s served in a small cup, allowing the rich flavors of the espresso to shine through. Italians take pride in their coffee culture and the macchiato is a testament to their commitment to quality and simplicity.
  • Global Variations: As the macchiato gained popularity worldwide, it underwent various adaptations to suit different tastes. In the United States, for example, the macchiato is often served as a caramel-flavored espresso drink, known as a caramel macchiato. In Australia, the long macchiato is preferred, which is made by adding a small amount of milk to a double shot of espresso.
  • Coffee Artistry: The macchiato has also become a canvas for coffee artists to showcase their skills. Intricate designs and patterns are created by carefully pouring the milk into the espresso, creating a visual treat to accompany the rich flavors. This has further elevated the macchiato’s popularity and cultural significance in the coffee world.

Taste Profile and Flavor Notes

When tasting a macchiato, you’ll notice a balance of rich espresso and creamy milk, creating a delightful flavor combination. Macchiatos are a popular choice in coffee culture due to their versatility and ability to cater to individual taste preferences. There are two main types of macchiatos: the traditional macchiato and the latte macchiato.

The traditional macchiato, also known as an espresso macchiato, is made by adding a small amount of milk to a shot of espresso. This creates a bold and intense flavor profile, with the espresso taking center stage and the milk adding a touch of sweetness and creaminess. If you prefer a stronger coffee taste, the traditional macchiato is the way to go.

On the other hand, the latte macchiato is made by pouring a shot of espresso over a generous amount of steamed milk. This results in a milder and smoother flavor, with the milk playing a more prominent role. The latte macchiato is perfect for those who enjoy a creamier and more balanced coffee experience.

Both types of macchiatos offer a unique taste experience, and your preference will depend on your personal taste preferences. Whether you prefer a bold and intense espresso flavor or a smoother and creamier taste, macchiatos are a great choice in the diverse world of coffee culture.

Serving Size and Presentation

When it comes to serving size and presentation, it’s important to note that macchiatos can vary in portion depending on where you order them. Some places may serve a smaller, espresso-sized macchiato, while others may offer a larger, milk-based version.

Additionally, the presentation of a macchiato can be quite artful, with baristas often creating intricate designs on the foam using techniques like free pouring or etching.

Portion Variations in Macchiatos

You should be aware that depending on the coffee shop, there can be significant portion variations in macchiatos. It’s important to understand the two types of macchiatos to fully grasp these differences.

Here are the two types of macchiatos:

  • Latte Macchiato: In this variation, the emphasis is on the milk. It consists of a large amount of steamed milk with a small amount of espresso ‘stained’ on top. The milk to espresso ratio is higher, resulting in a creamier and milder taste.
  • Espresso Macchiato: In contrast, this macchiato is focused on the espresso. It contains a shot of espresso with just a small amount of steamed milk on top. The milk to espresso ratio is lower, creating a bolder and stronger flavor.

Artful Latte Designs

To fully appreciate the artful latte designs, pay attention to the serving size and presentation.

Barista skills and coffee art go hand in hand when it comes to creating beautiful latte designs. A skilled barista knows how to pour steamed milk into espresso to create intricate patterns and designs on the surface of the latte.

The serving size of the latte is crucial as it provides a canvas for the barista to showcase their artistry. A larger serving size allows for more intricate designs, while a smaller size may limit the complexity of the design.

Presentation is also important, as a well-designed latte should be visually appealing and inviting. So next time you order a latte, take a moment to appreciate the skill and artistry that goes into creating these beautiful designs.

Popular Variations and Customizations

Try the popular variations and customizations of your favorite coffee drinks at the new café downtown. With a wide array of customization options, you can create unique flavor combinations to suit your taste buds. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Flavor Syrups: Add a burst of sweetness or a hint of flavor by choosing from a selection of syrups. Whether it’s vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, or even lavender, these syrups can transform your coffee into a personalized delight.
  • Milk Alternatives: If you’re looking for a dairy-free option or simply enjoy the creaminess of alternative milks, the café offers a variety of choices. Try coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk to enhance the flavor and texture of your coffee.
  • Toppings and Garnishes: Elevate your coffee experience with unique toppings and garnishes. Sprinkle some cinnamon or cocoa powder on top for a touch of warmth and richness. Or, for an indulgent treat, add whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or a drizzle of caramel sauce.

The café understands that freedom of choice is important to its customers. By offering a range of customization options and flavor combinations, they ensure that every cup of coffee is tailored to your preferences.

Which Macchiato Should You Choose?

Undoubtedly, the caramel macchiato is a delectable choice for those with a sweet tooth. But when it comes to macchiatos, there are actually two main types to choose from: the traditional macchiato and the latte macchiato. Each type offers a unique flavor profile and a different milk to espresso ratio, allowing you to customize your drink according to your preferences.

Let’s take a closer look at the two types of macchiatos in the table below:

Macchiato TypeFlavor ProfileMilk to Espresso Ratio
Traditional MacchiatoStrong and bold espresso flavor with a hint of sweetnessMostly espresso with just a small dollop of milk
Latte MacchiatoSmooth and creamy with a balanced espresso flavorMostly milk with a touch of espresso

The traditional macchiato is perfect for those who enjoy a strong coffee taste, as it emphasizes the espresso, while the latte macchiato is ideal for those who prefer a creamier and milder coffee experience, as it highlights the milk.

Ultimately, the choice between the two types of macchiatos depends on your personal preference for flavor and milk to espresso ratio. So go ahead and explore the world of macchiatos, and enjoy the freedom to customize your drink just the way you like it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Customize the Flavor of a Traditional Macchiato?

Yes, you can customize the flavor of a traditional macchiato to suit your taste. There are various customization options available, allowing you to tailor the drink to your specific flavor preferences.

How Is the Serving Size of a Latte Macchiato Different From a Traditional Macchiato?

The serving size of a latte macchiato differs from a traditional macchiato due to the preparation method. The latte macchiato is typically served in a larger size, while the traditional macchiato is smaller.

Is There a Specific Origin or Country Associated With the Invention of Macchiatos?

You might be wondering about the specific origin or country associated with the invention of macchiatos. Well, the truth is that macchiatos have a rich history, with their roots tracing back to Italy.

What Are the Key Differences Between the Taste Profiles of an Espresso Macchiato and a Latte Macchiato?

The taste differences between an espresso macchiato and a latte macchiato lie in the serving sizes. An espresso macchiato is a shot of espresso with a small amount of milk, while a latte macchiato is a larger drink with more milk.

Are There Any Unique Variations or Customizations of Macchiatos That Are Particularly Popular?

You’ll love exploring the world of macchiato customization! From flavored syrups to alternative milk options, the possibilities are endless. Popular variations include caramel macchiatos and hazelnut macchiatos. The choice is yours!


In conclusion, there are two types of macchiatos: the traditional macchiato and the latte macchiato.

The traditional macchiato is a shot of espresso ‘stained’ with a small amount of steamed milk.

On the other hand, the latte macchiato is a layered drink with more milk than espresso.

Despite their differences, both macchiatos offer a delightful balance of strong espresso and creamy milk.

So, whether you prefer a bold espresso-forward taste or a smoother milk-forward flavor, there’s a macchiato for everyone to enjoy.

About the Author:
Sophia Lewis, a travel blogger with a focus on global coffee cultures, explores coffee traditions from Colombia to Turkey. Her expertise lies in understanding the cultivation, brewing, and enjoyment of coffee in different cultures. Through articles, travel vlogs, and tastings, Sophia brings a global perspective to coffee, emphasizing ethical and sustainable practices, and invites readers to join her community of global coffee enthusiasts.