Macchiato Vs Mocha - The Definitive Guide To Both Drinks

Macchiato Vs Mocha – The Definitive Guide To Both Drinks

When you compare a Macchiato Vs Mocha or a macchiato to any other coffee drink, you must consider both variations of a macchiato, the latte macchiato, also known as an American macchiato.

This guide which compares a macchiato and a mocha takes this into consideration and talks about both the distinct and popular versions of a macchiato to leave you with no confusion and better informed.

Keep reading to learn all you need to know about a mocha and a macchiato.

Macchiato Vs Mocha – A Quick Overview

As a matter of accuracy and of course clarity I need to address the Macchiato from both sides of the Atlantic. This will help to avoid confusion.

The macchiato is sold in many gourmet coffee shops like Starbucks is a latte macchiato which is often known as an American macchiato.

The traditional macchiato, also known as an espresso macchiato, an Italian macchiato or simply just as a macchiato is very different from a latte macchiato.

With that cleared up, let’s have a look at the composition of each of these drinks:

  • Espresso Macchiato: A strong and bold drink made with a shot of espresso and a dash of steamed milk. Typically, only a teaspoon of steamed milk is used.
  • Latte Macchiato: Layered drink usually made with a double shot of espresso which is poured through the steamed milk and milk foam using an espresso to milk ratio of 1:3, half of which is milk foam.
  • Mocha: A strong espresso-based coffee drink made with ⅓ espresso, ⅓ steamed milk and ⅓ chocolate. Have a layer of milk foam on top.

Each of these drinks are unique and different, looks different and has a different flavor profile. A traditional macchiato is bold and strong with the edges of the bitterness and acidity toned down.

A macchiato Latte is a strong drink where the layers are supposed to be enjoyed together with each sip. It’s fun, bubbly, airy, milky and with the taste of the strong espresso altogether with each sip.

A mocha is a rich, tasty and balanced beverage with neither the espresso nor the chocolate dominating the drink. A tasty sweet treat!

Macchiato Vs Mocha
A Latte Macchiato

Read: What flavor is mocha?

What Is A Macchiato?

As I mentioned earlier, what is served as a macchiato depends on where you are.

In America and at Starbucks (anywhere, any country) when you request a macchiato what you will be served is a latte macchiato. While in Europe and the rest of the world what you will be served when you ask for a macchiato is a traditional macchiato, known at Starbucks and American coffee shops as an espresso macchiato.

The very word macchiato in the Italian language translates to stain in English, this is exactly what the drink is: an espresso shot with a stain of milk.

Espresso Macchiato

An espresso macchiato is also known as an Italian macchiato and a traditional macchiato. It’s the coffee drink with milk that has the strongest flavor due to the very focused espresso to milk ratio since the drink is literally all espresso with just a little dash of milk, typically a teaspoon only.

An espresso macchiato may or may not have a dollop of milk foam – it depends on the coffee shop.

The result is a very strong drink with only the edges of bitterness and acidity clipped.

Latte Macchiato

A latte macchiato, also known as an American macchiato is somewhat of a cross between a cappuccino and a latte.

For a matter of understanding, a cappuccino is made with a shot of espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk in equal ratios of 1:1:1, while a caffe latte is made with a shot or two of espresso with steamed milk using a coffee to milk ratio of 1:2 with a fine cap of foamed milk and finished with latte art.

A Latte macchiato is made with a double espresso and steamed milk in a ratio of 1:1.5 with milk foam in a 1:1 ratio with the amount of steamed milk. 2/3rd of the drink is milk or milk foam.

A latte macchiato differs from a cappuccino because the milk and milk foam are not in equal ratios to the espresso shot and differs from a caffe latte due to not using twice as much steamed milk as espresso and has much more froth.

It’s a layered drink and is supposed to be, so don’t stir your latte macchiato. Instead, enjoy your drink while sipping it and getting all three components of coffee, milk and foam blending in your mouth.

What Is A Mocha

A mocha coffee is simply a delightful and delicious and tasty sweet treat that is heavenly for coffee lovers that are also chocolate lovers.

When it is made it is a perfect blend of all three ingredients with neither the steamed milk, chocolate nor espresso dominating the flavor profile. Instead, all three are easily noticed.

The chocolate should not be too chocolatey without noticing the presence of the creaminess from the whole fat milk and a neat flavors of the coffee breaking through the milk and chocolate.

Due to the natural sweetness of this drink, the bitter notes of coffee are toned down.

The chocolate part of this drink has no set rule and varies from coffee shop to coffee shop. Some use chocolate sauce, some prefer to use a chocolate syrup while others prefer cocoa powder.


the best coffee shops use chocolate chunks and melt them into the steamed milk to make a hot chocolate which blends better with the creaminess of the milk. All that is left is the barista to pour the hot chocolate on to the espresso that results in an equal distribution of the creaminess of the milk and blends the flavor of the chocolate and espresso.

A mocha coffee is finished with a fine layer of milk foam, or in certain outlets whipped cream. It is common for coffee shops to decorate with chocolate powder, chocolate shavings or chocolate flakes.

Mocha Vs Macchiato Caffeine
A Mocha With Chocolate Shavings

Read: Flat white vs Macchiato

Macchiato Vs Mocha Which Has The Stronger Flavor

Unquestionably the stronger flavor is from a macchiato, concretely speaking an espresso macchiato due to the espresso dominating the drink.

The next strongest is a mocha, followed by a latte macchiato.

But when it comes to the caffeine kick, hands down a latte macchiato has more caffeine with 150 mg vs the 90 mg of a mocha and 75 mg of a traditional espresso macchiato.

Macchiato Versus Mocha – The Milk Difference

The milk is the main difference between a macchiato and a mocha. Traditionally whole milk is used in a latte macchiato, espresso macchiato and a mocha.

The amount used is how they differ. In the world of coffee it is best expressed as a ratio as it is easier to calculate how much to use depending on the amount of coffee or number of shots used.

  • Espresso macchiato: A tiny teaspoon of steamed milk. A dollop of milk froth may be added.
  • Latte Macchiato: An espresso to milk ratio of 1.5 is used. An equal amount of milk frothed as there is steamed milk is used.
  • Mocha Coffee: Espresso to steamed milk ratio is 1:1. A fine layer of milk foam may be added.

The result of different milk ratios and differing amounts of milk foam is a slightly different taste and texture, that is even if you stir your American macchiato (please don’t! Enjoy it layered).

Espresso Macchiato
Espresso And A Latte Macchiato

Read: Latte Vs Mocha

What About Variations?

Of course there are some great variations to each of these drinks with the exemption of a traditional macchiato. It’s just espresso with a tiny amount of steamed milk.

Macchiato Variations

The macchiato variation I am referring to here is the American Macchiato, a latte macchiato.

Popular variations include changing the whole milk for alternative milks like oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk and soy milk are popular choices.

You can also add a number of flavored syrups with caramel. Which comes with a neat cross-hatch design at Starbucks, mocha, vanilla, hazelnut, crème brûlée, honey nut, toffee nut and pumpkin spice macchiato are popular variations.

Mocha Variations

A mocha can have some very delightful variations. All it takes is your imagination and your coffee creativity.

Like a latte macchiato you can use various milks and syrups to flavor your mocha. Here are some of my favorite mocha variations:

  • Bounty Mocha: Mocha with coconut milk and coconut flakes.
  • After Eight Mocha: Mocha with crème and peppermint syrup.
  • Peppermint Mocha: Mocha with peppermint syrup.
  • Chocolate Orange: Orange Syrup (I made my own) and mocha.
  • White Chocolate Mocha: A mocha made with white chocolate.
  • Zebra Mocha: Mocha with dark chocolate and white chocolate.
  • Pistachio Mocha: Mocha with pistachio syrup.

There are many more; let us know your favorite variations of a mocha.

Mocha Vs Macchiato Caffeine Content

The caffeine content for these drinks can be seen below. A latte macchiato clearly has more caffeine than an espresso macchiato and a mocha.

Drink Size Espresso Macchiato Latte Macchiato Mocha
Short 8 Oz (240 ml). 75 mg (single shot)* 150 mg 90 mg
Tall 12 Oz (360 ml). 150 mg (double shot)* 150 mg 95 mg
Grande 16 oz (480 ml). N/A 225 mg 175 mg
Venti 20 Oz (600 ml). N/A 225 mg. 185 mg.

* An espresso macchiato does not conform with the stated drink sizes. 1 Shot = 1 Oz (30 ml) and a double shot 2 Oz (60 ml).

Macchiato And A Mocha – How Many Calories Are In Each Drink?

The number of calories in each of these drinks is best displayed in a table for easier reading, understanding and comparison of their calorie count.

Drink Size Espresso Macchiato Latte Macchiato Mocha
Short 8 Oz (240 ml). 10 calories (single shot)* 120 calories 200 calories
Tall 12 Oz (360 ml). 15 calories (double shot)* 190 calories 290 calories
Grande 16 oz (480 ml). N/A 250 calories 370 calories
Venti 20 Oz (600 ml). N/A 310 calories. 450 calories.

* An espresso macchiato does not conform with the stated drink sizes. 1 Shot = 1 Oz (30 ml) and a double shot 2 Oz (60 ml).

Which Is Better, A Macchiato Or A Mocha?

Which of these coffee drinks is better is subjective and depends on how you like your coffee drink to be. Each has It’s plus side and downside.

While a mocha is decadent and delightful and very delicious, it is high in fat and calories and best enjoyed as a treat. An American macchiato is fun and one of my preferred choices when I visit Starbucks, its layered taste and is great and fun. The airy microfoam and fluffy mouthfeel is great when all the flavors come together.

The downside is that an American macchiato is very caffeinated. An espresso macchiato is great for those that love a strong bold coffee with the edges of the acidity and bitterness toned down.

Frequently Asked Questions About Macchiato Vs Mocha

No, a macchiato and a mocha are two different coffee drinks. A Macchiato is a shot of espresso with only a dollop of milk, typically only a splash. A Latte macchiato at Starbucks is an espresso shot with significantly more milk added than a traditional Italian espresso macchiato.

A mocha is an espresso shot with an equal amount of milk and chocolate added to the drink. It’s a very popular coffee drink that you will see in every coffee shop. There are many variations of a mocha, including white chocolate, and the type of chocolate used, be it chocolate sauce, chocolate syrup or cocoa powder.

A macchiato has a stronger and more dominant coffee flavor due to being made with a strong and bold shot of espresso and only a tiny amount of milk, typically only a 5 ml teaspoon of milk. In terms of caffeine kick, a macchiato has more caffeine due to being made with a single espresso and the additional small amount of caffeine from the chocolate.

The difference in caffeine is minimal.

No, there are coffee drinks that have a stronger and more dominant coffee flavor than a macchiato. A fine example of that is both an espresso and a ristretto. It is the strongest tasting coffee with milk, which is due to the minimal amount of milk used.

There are many coffee drinks that have a greater caffeine boost than a macchiato, including a flat white, cortado, cold brew coffee, and even an 8 oz (240 ml) serving of brewed coffee.

Yes, a macchiato has more dominating coffee taste than a latte due to a latte being one of the milder and weaker tasting coffee drinks with a coffee to milk ratio of 1:2, which is twice as much milk as there is coffee. A macchiato is typically 30 ml espresso and 5 ml milk.

Macchiato latte, an American latte, the type you get at Starbucks, is made with more steamed milk than a traditional macchiato and a lot of milk foam. It still has a stronger coffee taste than a latte.

An espresso macchiato is strong and bitter due to the drink being dominated by the espresso content. The drink can be toned down with the addition of sugar, simple syrup and extra steamed milk.

Macchiatos are so good due to the strong taste from the espresso being toned down slightly by the small amount of milk which mellows out the bitter taste of the espresso.

Final Thoughts – Macchiato Vs Mocha

Now that you know all about a macchiato vs mocha and how and why comparing these two drinks is really comparing three drinks.

If you have just skimmed down looking for a quick answer it is far better than you scroll back up and get to the core difference between an espresso macchiato, latte macchiato and a mocha.

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