What Is A Espresso Macchiato The Elegant Espresso Drink

What Is A Espresso Macchiato? The Elegant Espresso Drink

Last updated on October 27th, 2023 at 13:22

If you want to know what is a Espresso Macchiato this article details the elegant Italian espresso beverage. In fact, if you are in a rush, short on time and need a quick answer, here it is!

An espresso macchiato is a single or double espresso shot with a small dash of milk, typically 5 ml (1 teaspoon) and dollop of milk foam.

Keep reading for the more detailed answer and a great espresso macchiato recipe.

What Is A Espresso Macchiato?

An espresso macchiato is a coffee beverage that was born out of Italy in the late 1970s or early 1980s and is a very logical, well known and almost never spoken about cultural norm in the European nation of milk or milky drinks not being enjoyed after midday.

That rule eliminates milky coffee drinks like a latte or cappuccino after midday.

Italians, however, are very smart, hardworking and in need of a little energy boost or stimulation, so they created a cheeky get around that takes the edges off a strong, bold intense espresso – a tiny teaspoon of milk.

That is exactly what an espresso macchiato is, a strong and bold shot of espresso with a teaspoon dash of steamed milk, and a little dollop of milk foam.

What Is A Espresso Macchiato
An Espresso Macchiato

Read: What is in a macchiato?

What Is An Espresso Macchiato Starbucks?

It should be straight forward what an espresso macchiato is at Starbucks, a shot of espresso with a teaspoon splash of milk and milk foam, right?

Well, yes, sort of!

At Starbucks their espresso macchiatos are different and technically speaking due to the naming culture are upside down espresso macchiatos. The dash of milk and milk foam are put in the bottom of the espresso shot with the espresso poured over it.

The History Of A Macchiato And The Meaning

The meaning of the word macchiato is borrowed from the Italian language meaning spot, stain or mark. The use of the word is in reference to the spot, mark or stain of milk in the espresso shot.

In Portugal, this same drink, an espresso macchiato, has another name, café pingado, which means coffee with a drop, with the drop being in reference to the drop of milk.


in Mexico,

the name used is awkward and can cause problems between baristas and clients as an espresso macchiato is called a cortado.

That’s right, and for clarity, a cortado in Mexico is a shot of espresso with a small dash of milk and a little milk foam.

The problem with this name is that there is another coffee drink with the same name, the very popular cortado which is popular all over Latin America and Spain where a cortado is a double shot of espresso with an equal amount of steamed milk.

Be careful of this difference when you are in Mexico when you are ordering a cortado as might be served an espresso macchiato.

What Is An Espresso Macchiato Starbucks
An Espresso Macchiato Is Easy To Make

Read: What is a pink velvet macchiato?

Double Espresso Macchiato: Starbucks

At Starbucks and other coffee shops you can order a double espresso macchiato by just asking for it using that name or by requesting a doppio macchiato.

The term doppio simply means doubleshot and is made in exactly the same way, espresso shots poured over a splash of steamed milk and foamed milk.

Iced Espresso Macchiato: Starbucks

An iced espresso macchiato at Starbucks is the exact same as a regular espresso macchiato with ice added to chill the beverage.

Due to the small size, it is best enjoyed as a doppio, a double or even a triple shot; just be careful of the caffeine content and over stimulation as each shot contains 75 mg of caffeine. The safe limit as suggested by the FDA is 200 mg per day for pregnant and breastfeeding ladies and 400 mg for healthy adults.

Espresso Macchiato Vs Cortado

An espresso macchiato and a cortado are the same drink, only in Mexico, else where they are two different coffee beverages.

A cortado has its origins in the Basque Country of Spain and is popular all over Latin America. The name cortado means short or cut in Spanish and this is exactly what the drink is, a short 4 Oz (120 ml) coffee drink.

It’s an espresso drink made with a double espresso and an equal amount of steamed milk. It’s very much like the coffee base of a traditional cappuccino without the foam as it is made using the same espresso to milk ratio of 1:1.

It’s obviously and notably milkier than an espresso macchiato coffee, as an espresso macchiato is made with only a dash of milk.

Espresso Macchiato Vs Cortado
Espresso Macchiato Vs Cortado

Read: What is a macchiato?

Espresso Macchiato Vs Cappuccino

An espresso macchiato, also known as a caffè macchiato, a traditional macchiato and an Italian macchiato is very different from a cappuccino for two reasons; the milk content and its amount and the fluffy foam on top of a cappuccino.

  • Espresso Macchiato: A shot of espresso with a small amount of milk, typically only a teaspoon and a dollop of milk foam.
  • Cappuccino: A shot of espresso with steamed milk and frothy milk foam in equal ratios of 1:1:1.

A cappuccino, due to the light airy milk foam, has a lighter and fun bubbly mouthfeel.

Espresso Macchiato Recipe

The key to making a perfect espresso macchiato is in using a premium quality dark roast coffee bean, preferably an Italian roast or a French roast.

Since this is an Italian drink, we are going to use the Italian coffee to water ratio of 1:1.5.

Start by weighing your freshly roasted coffee beans and use 20 grams per 1 ounce (30 ml) shot.

Grind your beans to a very fine powder-like grind of approximately 200 microns using a conical ceramic burr grinder. Grind in 5 second bursts and rest for 2 or 3 seconds between bursts.

The technique of using bursts helps to prevent the build up of heat, which is detrimental to the quality of your coffee and prevent clogging of your grinder.

Then tamp your coffee with an even and firm pressure of 30 kg.

While you are pulling your shot, weigh and time it. Don’t forget to tare your digital coffee scales. Your shot should weigh 30 grams for a single shot and 60 grams for a double shot. Your brew time should be 25 seconds with a variance of 5 seconds.

If the weight is out, you will need to adjust your machine to ensure the correct weight of coffee is served.

If the timing is out, you will need to adjust your grind size. If the brew time is 19 seconds, there is a lack of contact with your hot water, and you should make your grind size a little smaller.

If your brew time is greater than 30 seconds, your grind size is too small and there is a lack of flow of hot water between your coffee ground and your hot water. Increase your grind size slightly to rectify this problem.

Steam your milk using the steam wand on your espresso machine and make a little froth. Add just a teaspoon of milk to your espresso and a dollop of milk foam.

Viola, you have the best espresso macchiato. If you are making an iced espresso macchiato, using cold milk is fine.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Is A Espresso Macchiato

What Is Difference Between Espresso And Espresso Macchiato?

The difference between a regular espresso and an espresso macchiato is the use of a teaspoon of milk and a dollop of milk foam in an espresso macchiato coffee.

  • Espresso Coffee: A shot of espresso made with an espresso machine, fine power like coffee grind and coffee to water ratio of 1:1.5 or 1:2 and a water pressure of 9 bars (130 PSI).
  • Espresso Macchiato: A shot of espresso made exactly using the same method as described above with a dash of steamed milk, typically 5 ml teaspoon and a small dollop of milk foam.

The taste and flavor profile of both drinks are similar, but an espresso macchiato has the edges of the strong bold coffee tones down and is creamier.

Is A Macchiato Stronger Than An Espresso?

No, the caffeine content of an espresso macchiato and an espresso are the same. In terms of flavor, an espresso macchiato is slightly weaker due to the presence of the splash of milk. It tastes like an espresso with the edges of the acidity and intensity toned down slightly.

Is A Espresso Macchiato The Same As Coffee?

An espresso macchiato is different from all other coffee drinks due to its bold, strong flavor and intensity. The drink that it is most similar to a shot of espresso.

The only difference between the two is the teaspoon-sized splash of steamed milk and the dollop of frothed milk in an espresso macchiato.

How Many Shots Of Espresso Are In A Macchiato?

An espresso macchiato is normally made with a single shot of espresso, but it can be ordered as a double espresso macchiato.

A latte macchiato which is an espresso based drink with two or three shots of espresso, steamed milk and milk froth using a ratio of 1:2:2.

  • Short 8 Oz (240 ml): 2 Shots of espresso.
  • Tall 12 Oz (360 ml): 2 Shorts of espresso.
  • Grande 16 Oz (480 ml): 3 Shots of espresso.
  • Venti 20 Oz: (600 ml): 3 Shots of espresso.

When Should I Drink Espresso Macchiato?

You can enjoy an espresso macchiato at any time that you so wish or which suits you.


if you so wish to be the originators of the drink, then drink it only in the afternoons as Italians only drink coffee drinks with a minimal amount of milk after midday.

Why Are Starbucks Macchiatos Different?

Starbucks’ macchiatos are different as they make their espresso macchiatos in an upside down way by adding the splash of milk and milk foam first and brewing the espresso through the dash of steamed milk.

Strictly speaking, a Starbucks espresso macchiato is an upside down espresso macchiato.

Is Espresso Macchiato Sweet?

An espresso macchiato is not a sweet drink; it is slightly sweeter than a regular espresso and has a flavor profile that is very similar. I tend to describe an espresso macchiato as being like an espresso with the rough edges taken off and being creamier.

Do Macchiatos Have More Espresso Than Lattes?

A latte macchiato is made with two or three shots of espresso depending on the drink size and thus does have more espresso than a latte which is made with one or two shots of espresso. However, they are made with a different ratio of espresso to steamed milk using a ratio of 1:3.

Final Thoughts – What Is A Espresso Macchiato?

If you have read this far (thanks, appreciated), you know exactly what is a espresso macchiato and how to make it like a master barista at home.

If you have any more questions about an espresso macchiato, don’t be shy! We will always give a reply, so just ask us!

Join our cool coffee community and share your eye-catching latte art, coffee creations, recipes and the amazing new beans that you are trying out. Find us on Facebook/Meta.

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 Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

Blogarama - Blog Directory