Caramel Macchiato Vs Latte - A Guide For Coffee Lovers!

Caramel Macchiato Vs Latte – A Guide For Coffee Lovers!

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 13:29

In the battle of the brew between two great coffee beverages, Caramel Macchiato Vs Latte, we get to the details and tell you all about these two tasty coffee beverages and which is best and for whom – it all depends on what type of coffee drinker you are and the type of coffee beverage that you enjoy.

In this article I also talk about the subtle and intricate difference between a caramel latte and a caramel macchiato.

Keep reading to get the low down on a caramel macchiato vs latte.

Caramel Macchiato Vs Latte – An Outline Of Their Differences

A latte is a tasty, delicious beverage. It is the king of milk-based espresso beverages. It’s much more popular than any other, even more popular than a flat white and a cappuccino. In plain English, it’s a coffee with milk, in Spanish, café con leche and in French, café au lait.

A latte is a shot of dark roasted espresso and twice as much steamed milk to make up the coffee to milk ratio of 1:2 with a small 1 cm (half an inch) cap of microfoam.

A caramel macchiato, like a latte is made with a shot of dark roasted espresso and steamed milk a shot (a pump) of vanilla syrup is put in the bottom of the cup with the shot of espresso brewed on top of the steamed milk with the milk foam added on top.

The steamed milk is in a 1:1 coffee to milk ration, to say there is the same amount of steamed milk as there is coffee. Caramel sauce is drizzled on top.

At Starbucks a cross-hatch design for the caramel sauce drizzled on top of the notably larger layer of foam.

Comparison Latte Caramel Macchiato
Coffee Used*: A single shot of espresso A single shot of espresso
Type Of Milk Used** Up to the drinker to choose Up to the drinker to choose
Type Of Syrup used*** None, unless a flavored latte Caramel
Additional Sweetener None, unless requested. Vanilla Syrup.
Tasting Notes Rich, creamy taste with a silky texture. Slightly sweet with a more prominent and dominant taste of espresso.
Layered Drink No Yes
Latte Art Yes No.

* Starbucks uses their espresso roast Pike Place as standard, unless requested. A dark roast works best for both to cut through the creaminess of the milk.

** As standard, unless requested, is whole fat milk as this milk creates a richer, creamier and better quality steamed milk.

*** Often a sauce is used for the caramel in a macchiato.

Read: Does cappuccino have sugar?

What Is A Caramel Macchiato?

This caramel macchiato is an espresso-based coffee beverage that is made with a single or double shot of dark roasted espresso that is pulled on top of a shot of (a single pump) of vanilla syrup and steamed milk.

A layer of milk foam is added on top of the vanilla shot and steamed milk. The microfoam is added to produce a layered beverage which is then finished with an eye-catching crosshatch drizzle of delicious caramel sauce.

A caramel macchiato is smaller and stronger tasting than a latte and sweeter too. Unlike a latte, a caramel macchiato is a layered coffee beverage.

The layering is easier seen when it is made in a transparent glass. It is a sweet coffee treat that should be presented in beautiful glass to show the layers and the great design of the caramel sauce on top.

Caramel Macchiato
A Caramel Macchiato

Read: What is the difference between a latte and a cappuccino?

What Does A Caramel Macchiato Taste Like?

A well-made caramel macchiato is a sweet, but not too sweet coffee beverage with a dominant taste of coffee that is much more notable than a latte as the coffee is layered on top of the steamed milk and the layer of foam is added on top of the coffee.

The better the coffee beans used, the better the beverage will taste.

What Are The Variations Of A Caramel Macchiato?

This is where your coffee creativity comes into play and your wild, wild imagination in the attempt and quest to satisfy your taste buds.

  • Caramel pumpkin macchiato (seasonal).
  • Caramel snickerdoodle macchiato (seasonal).
  • Cinnamon macchiato.
  • Cinnamon almond milk macchiato.
  • Cloud macchiato.
  • Maple macchiato.
  • Chestnut macchiato.
  • Hazelnut macchiato.
  • Mocha Macchiato.
  • Starbucks Blond honeycomb macchiato.
  • Caramel Snickerdoodle macchiato.
  • Irish cream macchiato.

Coffee lovers can go wild here and even order a Frappuccino macchiato, eggnog macchiato, the list is endless as long as you have a good look at the ingredients available and, instruct the barista well and viola you have it.

You are not just limited to the flavored syrups and combinations of them; you can experiment with different milks and even have it made with ristretto shots and of course an iced macchiato.

How Does A Caramel Macchiato Differ From A Regular Macchiato?

These two beverages are very different. In the strictest of terms, a macchiato, also known as an Italian macchiato and a traditional macchiato, is an expertly pulled strong and potent shot of espresso with just a dollop of foam to stain the shot of espresso.

The meaning of the word macchiato means stain and is in reference to the spot or dash of milk which is usually just a teaspoon dollop of milk or milk foam.

A Macchiato

How Much Caffeine Is In A Caramel Macchiato?

A caramel macchiato has between 75 milligrams of caffeine to 150 mg of the stimulant depending on the size of the coffee drink.

  • Short 8 Oz (240 ml) has 75 mg of caffeine.
  • Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) has 75 mg of caffeine.
  • Grande 16 Oz (480 ml) has 150 mg of caffeine.
  • Venti 20 Oz (600 ml) has 150 mg of caffeine.

What Is A Latte?

A latte, the classic of all the milk based espresso drinks, is a coffee beverage made with a shot or two of dark roasted espresso and twice as much milk as there is coffee and then topped with a fine 1 cm (half an inch approximately) of foam.

This beverage is famed for its latte art.

The correct and original name of the beverage is caffé latte, from its Italian origins, where it is a coffee made at home.

What Does A Latte Taste Like?

The coffee flavor in a latte is subtle, but it is there subtly behind the creaminess of the milk. This is why you must use a dark roast coffee, to cut through the milk and achieve some taste of the coffee. This is why a French roast or an Italian roast is essential for a latte.

If and when you use a medium roast or a medium-dark roast, you will have a very milky coffee with very little of the coffee taste and flavor making its way through and past the milk.

The presence of expertly steamed whole fat milk creates a rich silky texture and a great mouthfeel.

A Latte
A Latte With Latte Art

What Are The Variations Of A Latte?

There are many variations and options that you have for your latte. You can enjoy it as it is naturally and unflavored or flavored with a variety of syrups and milks.

Popular choices are a skinny latte – a latte made with skimmed milk and a soy latte, made with soy milk.

Here are some popular variations:

  • Caramel Latte.
  • Vanilla Latte.
  • Peppermint Latte.
  • Mocha Latte.
  • Peppermint Mocha Latte.
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte.
  • Eggnog Latte.
  • Gingerbread Latte.
  • Chai Latte.
  • King Cake Latte.
  • Irish cream Latte.
  • Dirty Chai Latte.
  • Matcha Latte.
  • And many more.

You are only limited by your imagination and the type of milk and flavored syrups available.

How Is A Caramel Latte Different From A Caramel Macchiato?

Both these coffee drinks are espresso based and have the use of steamed milk, a layer of microfoam and the use of caramel sauce to add a great taste.

The two key differences between the two beverages are the amount of steamed milk used and how the milk is used to make the beverages.

A caramel latte uses twice as much milk as coffee to make the drinks. To say, a caramel latte has a coffee to milk ratio of 1:2. A caramel macchiato has considerably less milk used and a more dominant coffee taste. The coffee to milk ratio of a caramel macchiato is 1:1; equal parts of coffee and milk are used.

The milk is used differently. In a caramel latte, the steamed milk is poured into the espresso base and mixed with the shot or shots of espresso. A caramel latte has the milk as the base and the coffee poured on top of it to make a layered beverage.

Also, a caramel latte has no shot, a single pump, of vanilla added to the beverage.

You can see the two beverages are very different in many ways and above all how they taste.

How Much Caffeine Is In A Latte?

A latte has between 75  to 150 mg of caffeine depending on the size of the coffee drink.

  • Short 8 Oz (240 ml) has 75 mg of caffeine.
  • Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) has 75 mg of caffeine.
  • Grande 16 Oz (480 ml) has 150 mg of caffeine.
  • Venti 20 Oz (600 ml) has 150 mg of caffeine.

Caramel Macchiato Calories Vs Latte Calories

The calorie content of these two coffee beverages is best shown by using a table.

Coffee Beverage Calories
Short Caramel Macchiato 8 Oz (240 ml) 140
Short Latte 8 Oz (240 ml) 100
Tall Caramel Macchiato 12 Oz (360 ml) 180
Tall Latte 12 Oz (360 ml) 150
Grande Caramel Macchiato 16 oz (480 ml) 250
Grande Latte 16 Oz (480 ml) 190
Venti Caramel Macchiato 20 Oz (600 ml) 310
Venti Latte 20 Oz, (600 ml) 250

As you can see for all drink sizes a caramel macchiato has more calories. This is due to the drink being sweeter and having a greater use of the flavored syrups.

Frequently Asked Questions About Caramel Macchiato Vs Latte

Is Caramel Macchiato Stronger Than Latte?

A caramel macchiato is bolder and stronger tasting than a latte – even without the drizzle of caramel syrup. The flavor of the caramel drizzle cuts through the espresso shot and its bitterness for a sweeter and more balanced flavor.

Both coffee beverages have the same amount of caffeine, so one is not stronger than the other in this sense or aspect.

Is A Caramel Macchiato Just A Vanilla Latte?

No, a caramel macchiato and a vanilla latte are two distinctively different and popular drinks. A vanilla latte is missing the distinctive crosshatch design of the caramel syrup and, of course, has no caramel syrup added to the drink.

Also, a vanilla latte is made with considerably more steamed milk. The steamed milk, espresso and microfoam are in different proportions as a latte is 2/3rd milk with a fine cap of microfoam.

A Macchiato has less milk and a larger quantity of microfoam and, unlike a latte, it is a layered beverage.

Which Is Sweeter Caramel Latte Or Macchiato?

A caramel latte is sweeter than an unflavored macchiato as the sweetness from the caramel latte comes from the steamed milk and the flavored syrup. A caramel latte is also creamier. 

An unflavored macchiato only has the touch of sweetness from a dollop of milk added to the espresso shot, and thus has the stronger and more dominant coffee flavor

Which Taste Better Latte Or Macchiato?

Which of these two beverages tastes better is very subjective, and coffee is a very personal thing. If you enjoy a bold, strong coffee with a dominant and prominent taste of coffee, a macchiato will be the better coffee choice for you, be it a flavored macchiato or an original Italian and unflavored one.

This, a macchiato, is better for you if you enjoy a delicious espresso.

If you love a smooth rich creamy coffee with a silky texture, a latte is the better choice, again be it a natural unflavored or a flavored latte.

Is There More Milk In A Latte Or Macchiato?

There is more steamed milk in a latte than a macchiato. A latte is made with 1/3rd shot of espresso and 2/3rd steamed milk while a macchiato has espresso and milk in equal ratios, equal amounts.

Is A Caramel Macchiato Healthy?

Yes, a Starbucks Tall 12 ounce (360 ml) caramel macchiato made with whole milk has 190 calories and 4 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein. This tasty decadent treat is one to enjoy and can be considered as healthy if enjoyed in moderation.

Coffee is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients; it is known for a number of health benefits.

 Final Thoughts – Caramel Macchiato Vs Latte

In the battle of the brew of Caramel macchiato Vs Latte it is not a case of which is better for me or which I prefer. It is about you, your particular tastes and of course the situation.

For me, I love a good latte and yes, a latte is often my morning coffee or a caramel latte if I am spoiling myself!


I am not dismissing a caramel latte at all – I love it as a tasty treat to be enjoyed after a great meal.

Keep that in mind before you choose which is the winner for you and tell us on our active online coffee community on Facebook/Meta. Share your caramel macchiato or latte coffee morning smiley selfies.

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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