Cafe Macchiato Recipe - Make A Macchiato Like A Master Barista!

Café Macchiato Recipe – Make A Macchiato Like A Master Barista!

Last updated on October 27th, 2023 at 16:45

Follow the instructions in this café macchiato recipe and learn how to make a perfect macchiato like a professional barista.

This is one of the easiest coffee drinks to make. With the bonus of mastering this simple drink you can use it as the base for making other macchiato based drinks like a tasty caramel macchiato.

Keep reading to find out the best recipe and techniques for making a world-class macchiato!

Café Macchiato Recipe: What Is A Macchiato?

The original macchiato, known as an espresso macchiato, goes way back to Italy and the 1980s with the name being very descriptive in the Italian language and describes perfectly the little stain on a shot of dark espresso with the stain describing the tiny amount of milk and milk foam on top of an espresso.

It is rumored by many coffee lovers that the coffee beverage came around to encourage the consumption of espresso and coffee in general in the afternoon.

There are variations of the original classic espresso macchiato, namely:

  • Latte Macchiato.
  • Iced Macchiato.
  • Caramel Macchiato.
  • Zebra Macchiato.
  • Iced Marbled Mocha Macchiato.

It is a strong coffee drink with a prominent coffee flavor with a hint of milky creaminess.

A Beautiful Macchiato
A Beautiful Macchiato

Read: Macchiato and cappuccino difference

Macchiato Pronunciation

The word Macchiato is from Italian and should be pronounced in a typical Italian manner. When pronounced it has 4 syllables. Phonetically it sounds like Ma-Ke-Aah-Tow.

A Starbucks Macchiato Is Different!

If you love Starbucks, you will be very familiar with the macchiato that they serve, which is a latte macchiato either on its own or with hazelnut or caramel flavored syrup. It has layers of steamed milk, foam and of course a shot of espresso.

In short, you won’t get a traditional or classic Italian macchiato unless you specifically request an espresso macchiato.

Café Macchiato Recipe Ingredients

This is one of the easiest and simplest recipes and coffee drinks to make. It requires only three ingredients, which are:

  • Filtered water. Better still, use bottled water.
  • High Quality Fresh Espresso Roast Coffee beans
  • Fresh Whole Milk.

Read: Latte macchiato caffeine content

 Let’s Talk About The Espresso Shot And Equipment Needed

Now that it is clear what a traditional classic macchiato is, it is time to get right into it and make a tasty macchiato, one of the favorite espresso drinks at Starbucks and other coffee shops, and is also one of my favorites as I can enjoy the bitter flavor from the coffee without too much milk.

You need to make an espresso shot and not a strong coffee. A strong coffee, be it percolated, drip, French press, Moka Pot will simply not do.

For a great espresso you will need two key components, which are:

  • Espresso Machine: A home espresso machine with a milk steaming wand is perfect, next best and still more than good enough.
  • Fresh Espresso Roast Coffee Beans: This is key, the better your beans, the better the quality of your coffee will be. Fresh is important as the fresher your beans, the better the quality of the crema will be. Ensure your beans were not roasted more than 7 to 10 days ago.
  • A Quality Ceramic Burr Grinder: Obviously you need to grind your beans. Whole beans are best and grind them immediately before you brew and pull your shot.
  • A Professional Coffee Canister: Coffee is a food product and should be stored properly in an airtight container with a one-way valve. Store your container in the fridge and keep your bean fresh.
Espresso Shot
A Perfect Espresso Shot

Read: What is a macchiato?

The Best Milk For A Macchiato

The milk that will produce the best tasting macchiato is whole milk. A macchiato has very little milk added to it, to get a little touch of creaminess use whole fat milk.

The best quality foamed milk is made with whole milk due to the fat and protein content. You can get away with using 2% milk also, which, for what it is worth, is what is used at Starbucks. To get real good milk quality with 2% milk you will need a handheld milk frother or a milk steamer.

You can use non-dairy milk also with soy milk, plant based milks and nut milks being great options also. These tend to not froth as well as dairy milk. Barista brand is specialty milk of all types that are perfect for frothing.

Worth noting, milk that has almost expired does not foam as well as fresh milk.

How To Make A Macchiato – Making The Espresso Shot

Making the espresso shot is the VIP part here. Get this part right, and you will be well on the way to an amazing macchiato.

To make the perfect shot you will need to weigh the amount of coffee grounds and use the ideal coffee to water ratio of 1:2, which is 1 part coffee and 2 parts water.

Start off by ensuring that your coffee grinder is clean or has been recently cleaned. Any old coffee grinds or coffee oils will spoil your coffee.

To make your shot of espresso you will need 15 grams of coffee grinds that are of a very fine grind. Instead of weighing your grinds, weight your coffee beans. The mass of whole beans and ground coffee is the same. The difference is you will reduce the exposure of the coffee grinds to air and reduce the oxidization process and have a slightly fresher shot.

Weight 15 grams of coffee beans and grind them. Tamp well with a good even tamp and get ready to pull your shot.

Your water should be at least filtered water, or better still, bottled water. The ideal temperature for pulling your shot is 92C-96C (196F to 205F) and more towards the higher end of this scale.

Pull your shot and have your shot glass on your coffee scale and use the tare function to zero the scale. Pull your shot until you get 30 grams of coffee.

The amount of time taken for you to pull your shot should be 25 sec +/- 5 seconds. If it takes longer than 25 sec +/- 5 seconds, you will need to use a slightly larger grin size. If pulling your shot is quicker than this time period, you will need to adjust your grind size and use a slightly smaller grind size.

When your shot is ready, add only a stain of milk, splash your espresso shot with just two teaspoons of steamed milk on to the thick rich crema. Scoop on to the top of your shot a little milk foam.

Viola, you have the perfect macchiato.

A Well Made Macchiato
A Well Made Macchiato

How To Froth The Milk For A Macchiato With A Milk Steamer

This is the part that requires the most technique but is also very easy. With a macchiato you want both the microfoam and the steamed milk – even though you are using only a little milk you still want to achieve the best quality.

If you have a home countertop espresso machine, use the steam wand attached to make your steamed milk and milk froth.

Start by dipping the tip of the milk steamer about an inch (2.5 cm) below the milk surface and steam. Have your jug tilted at an angle and keep your ears open for a screeching sound and whirling motion of your milk, like a whirlpool.

Once your milk has steamed, move your milk jug up and down through the milk to steam deeper and nearer the surface.

Now create the milk foam by raising the tip of your milk steaming wand and bringing it nearer the surface to create the milk foam. Keep doing this until you get a sufficient amount of foam.

Pro Tip: Use color-changing temperature tag on your milk jug to ensure that you don’t steam your milk above 55C (130 C).

Macchiato Calories

Thankfully a macchiato does not have a lot of calories with just 13 calories and 0.5 grams of fat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Café Macchiato Recipe

What Is In A Café Macchiato?

A café macchiato, or espresso macchiato as it is known, contains a single shot of espresso topped with a splash of milk and a small amount of milk foam. The type of milk used, unless requested otherwise, is whole-fat dairy milk. The coffee roast is a medium dark or a dark roast.

The ratio of milk to coffee for a well-made espresso macchiato is normally 9:1, to say 90% of the drink is a shot of espresso and 10% steamed milk.

What Is A True Macchiato?

A classic espresso macchiato, also known as a traditional macchiato and an Italian macchiato, is mostly made from espresso. It is a shot of espresso with a tiny dash of steamed milk, typically only two teaspoons and then topped with a layer of milk foam. 

An espresso has a bolder and stronger coffee flavor than a macchiato due to being 100% espresso. A Macchiato also has a strong, bold and distinctive coffee flavor but is slightly subdued because of the dash of milk, which brings a slight creamy sweetness.

A classic macchiato, Italian espresso macchiato, traditional espresso macchiato and a classic espresso macchiato are all the same drink and are also known simply as a macchiato is made with a single shot of espresso.

A double shot can be requested; simply ask for a double shot espresso macchiato.

Why Is Macchiato Served With Sparkling Water?

This is a very common thing in Italy, Spain and many other countries. Sparkling water, or ordinary water, is served for the drinker to clean their mouth and palate before they drink their coffee. 

This is common not only for a macchiato or espresso shot but for all coffee drinks. 

How Is A Traditional Macchiato Made?

A traditional macchiato is made by pulling a perfect and well brewed shot of espresso, steaming milk and adding a dollop of steamed milk and milk foam. 

What Is The Ratio Of Coffee To Milk In A Macchiato?

There is no specific ratio of coffee to milk in a macchiato. Typically and traditionally, only a teaspoon splash of steamed milk is used.

Final Thoughts – Café Macchiato Recipe

This café macchiato recipe was based on the original macchiato from Italy and is the classic recipe for this drink. It is easy to make and the extra steps and extra effort to use high quality means and grind them immediately before you brew is worth it as it will produce best results. 

Did you try this recipe and make your own amazing Macchiato? 


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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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