What Is In A Macchiato - The Macchiato Mystery Solved

What Is In A Macchiato – The Macchiato Mystery Solved!

Last updated on October 27th, 2023 at 12:58

If you are wondering what is in a macchiato this is the article that will solve the mystery with what is probably the most detailed article and explanation of what is in all macchiato beverages, be they regular or iced.

Armed with the knowledge in this article, you will easily navigate the drinks’ menu at Starbucks and know how all types of a macchiato are made, and what is in them be it an espresso macchiato or a caramel macchiato, or the humble latte macchiato.

Keep reading for the details.

What Is In A Macchiato? Starbucks Drink Detailed!

Let’s get to the details of what a macchiato is and what is in it. A macchiato is a small sub category of espresso based drinks as follows:

  • Espresso Macchiato.
  • Iced Espresso Macchiato.
  • Latte Macchiato.
  • Iced Latte Macchiato.
  • Flavored Iced Latte Macchiato.
  • Caramel Macchiato.
  • Iced Caramel Macchiato
  • Flavored Latte Macchiato of Your Choice.
  • Flavored Iced Latte Macchiato Of Your Choice.

This is the entire macchiato drinks option at the world’s most popular coffee shop.

Note: When you request a flavored macchiato it is always a flavored version of a latte macchiato that is served.

Let’s get to the details of these drinks, what they are and what is in them!

What Is In A Macchiato
A Latte Macchiato

Read: What is a macchiato coffee

What Is In An Espresso Macchiato?

An espresso macchiato is a strong-tasting espresso-based beverage that is made with a shot of espresso and only a tiny dash of steamed milk and dollop of foamed milk on top.

It’s strong, as expected, since only a teaspoon of milk is used and tastes like an espresso with the acidity and bitter edges taken off and toned down by the presence of the milk and with a hint of creaminess due to the dairy content.

At Starbuck, they make this drink differently; effectively speaking, it is an upside down espresso macchiato as the dash of milk and frothed milk is added first with the espresso poured over the top of the milk and frothed milk.

What Is In An Iced Espresso Macchiato?

An iced espresso macchiato is the above beverage with ice added and, like an espresso macchiato may be made with a single or double shot of espresso.

What Is In A Latte Macchiato?

A latte macchiato is very different from an espresso macchiato as it contains a lot more milk; in fact, it contains the same amount of milk as a latte; I’ll talk about how these two drinks differ later.

A Latte macchiato is made with a double shot or triple shot of espresso depending on your drink size:

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

The drink is then made with steamed milk and a layer of foamed milk using a ratio of 1:2:2 (espresso:Steamed milk:Milk foam).

What Is In A Latte Macchiato
A Latte Macchiato Made With A Coffee Pods

Read: What is a espresso macchiato?

What Is In An Iced Latte Macchiato?

An iced latte macchiato is very similar to a latte macchiato but is not as simple as just adding ice.

The ice adds a unique problem and the inability to add milk foam to the top of the drink as it spoils too quickly and is effectively an iced latte if you add no milk froth at all.

To make up for this short fall, whipped cream is used in place of microfoam.

What Is In A Caramel Macchiato?

A caramel macchiato is very similar to a latte macchiato and can be considered as a flavored macchiato as this is exactly what it is. It’s a drink that was added to the Starbucks drinks menu in 1996 as a temporary item in celebration of their 25th anniversary.

It became so popular that it was quickly added as a permanent menu item.

It’s made with a pump of vanilla syrup, caramel sauce, espresso, steamed milk and milk foam.

The pump of vanilla syrup is added to the bottom of the drink. The espresso is poured over the vanilla syrup. Steamed milk is added and then topped with milk froth with a crosshatch of caramel sauce drizzled over the top of the foam.

The same ratios of a latte macchiato are used; 1:2:2.


the number of shots in a caramel macchiato is not the same as a latte macchiato. Here is the number of shots in a caramel macchiato for all drinks sizes:

  • Short 8 Oz (240 ml): 1 shot.
  • Tall 12 Oz (360 ml): 1 shot.
  • Grande 16 Oz (480): 2 shots.
  • Venti 20 Oz (600 ml): 2 shots.

What Is In An Iced Caramel Macchiato?

An iced caramel macchiato has the same lack of stable milk froth problem as a latte macchiato and uses the same solution to correct the situation.

It’s made in the same way as a hot caramel macchiato except ice is added, and caramel sauce is drizzled over whipped cream.

What Is In A Flavored Latte Macchiato?

If you ask for a flavored macchiato, the barista will always make it as a latte macchiato with the requested flavored syrups used.

The flavored syrup will be added to the bottom of the glass with the espresso poured over the top of it. Popular flavors are:

  • Mocha.
  • Peppermint.
  • Vanilla.

For a great mocha latte macchiato, order a drizzle of chocolate sauce to be added to the top of your drink.

What Is In A Caramel Macchiato
A Homemade Caramel Macchiato

Read: What is a macchiato?

What Is In An Iced Flavored Latte Macchiato?

This follows the same rules as above where it is the same drink with ice added and whipped cream replacing the milk foam.

Latte Macchiato Vs Latte

As I mentioned earlier these two drinks are very similar as they are espresso based beverages and use the same ratio of espresso to steamed milk.

The main and stand out difference between a latte macchiato and a latte is the milk foam. A latte macchiato has a lot of frothy milk, an equal amount as there is steamed milk while a latte has only a very fine cap of foamed milk on top.

Latte Macchiato Vs Cappuccino

It is only natural to be curious about the difference between a latte macchiato and a cappuccino as these two frothy coffees are similar, incredibly similar with only a subtle difference, the ratios.

A cappuccino is stronger tasting with a greater prominence of the espresso flavor due to the 1:1:1 ratio of the espresso, steamed milk and milk froth.

A latte macchiato has a lighter and fluffier mouthfeel and is milkier due to the 1:2:2 ratio of espresso, steamed milk and milk foam.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Is In A Macchiato

Why Is It Called Macchiato?

The famous traditional Italian macchiato gets its name from the small “stain” of steamed milk that is on the espresso shot. The word macchiato translates to stained, or marked and thus a macchiato coffee or macchiato espresso is a stained coffee or stained espresso.

What Does A Macchiato Consist Of?

A traditional espresso macchiato consists of only two ingredients: A shot of espresso and a dollop of steamed milk, usually only a teaspoon. Often milk foam is added too, again only a teaspoon.

What Is In A Starbucks Macchiato?

Starbucks has two distinct types of macchiato: an espresso macchiato, and a latte macchiato.

Let’s detail both to avoid confusion!

  • Espresso Macchiato: A traditional Italian Macchiato mad with an espresso shot and a teaspoon splash of steamed milk and a dollop of foamed milk.
  • Latte Macchiato: AAN espresso drink made with a shot or two of espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk using a ratio of 1:2:2. It’s an upside down drink where the espresso is poured through the foam and steamed milk.

A Latte macchiato can be flavored with popular flavors being caramel and vanilla with the full names being simply Caramel macchiato and vanilla macchiato with the word “latte” being omitted.

The same with an iced macchiato. It is an iced latte macchiato that is served. An iced macchiato can also be flavored.

What Is A True Macchiato?

A true macchiato is the original Italian caffe macchiato, which is made with a shot of espresso and just a splash of steamed milk. More often than not a dollop of milk foam is added too.

Which is Healthier Caramel Macchiato Or Latte?

When we consider the three drinks, caramel macchiato, caramel latte and a regular latte, to consider which is healthier it is best to chart their fat, sugar and calorie count.

Which is what I have done in the table below.

Drink Sugar Fat Calories Caffeine
Tall Caramel Macchiato 12 Oz (360 ml) 6 g 25 g. 190 75 mg.
Tall Caramel Latte 12 Oz (360 ml) 14 g 15 g 150 75 mg
Tall  Latte 12 Oz (360 ml) 6 g 15 g 150 75 mg

Clearly, a regular latte is healthier than both a caramel latte and a caramel macchiato.

Which Is Sweeter Cappuccino Or Latte Or Macchiato?

A Tall 12 oz (360 ml) cappuccino has 9 grams of sugar while a Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) a latte has 15 grams of sugar and a Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) latte macchiato has 25 grams of sugar. An espresso macchiato has no sugar.

Thus, the sweetest of the drinks is the latte macchiato with the next sweetest being a latte, followed by a cappuccino and in last place an espresso macchiato. This is due in part to the milk content which contains lactose and milk sugars. The more milk a drink has, the sweeter it will be.

 What Is The White Stuff In A Macchiato?

The white stuff that you see in an espresso macchiato is a splash of milk and the dollop of milk foam.

With a latte macchiato the white stuff that you see is a greater quantity of milk foam, below it is milk and then espresso as it is an inverse drink, or upside down beverage where the coffee is poured through the steamed milk foam and the steamed milk.

How Do You Drink A Traditional Macchiato?

How a traditional macchiato is enjoyed varies from person to person. Traditionally Italians don’t stir the milk or mix it into the espresso shot but enjoy it as it is, sipping away at the foam first and then finally the rich shot of espresso.

Final Thoughts – What Is In A Macchiato?

If you have read this far, you know exactly what is in a macchiato of types and temperatures and have a full understanding of this drink, the ingredients used, the ratios and how it is different from a latte and a cappuccino.

You should have no difficulties in ordering the drink that you want correctly and confidently.

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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 Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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