Last updated on October 27th, 2023 at 13:42
If you want to know what is the difference between a macchiato and a latte, this article is for you as I give you the most detailed guide on these two drinks and go a step further and explain the difference between them and their close cousin, the cappuccino.
Here is the quick answer if you are in a rush; these drinks use the same espresso to steamed milk ratio, but a latte macchiato has much more milk foam.
Keep reading for a more detailed explanation.
What Is The Difference Between A Macchiato And A Latte?
Table Of Contents
- 1 What Is The Difference Between A Macchiato And A Latte?
- 2 What Is An Espresso Macchiato?
- 3 What Is A Latte Macchiato Starbucks
- 4 What Is A Caramel Macchiato?
- 5 What Is A Latte?
- 6 Difference Between Iced Latte And Macchiato
- 7 Macchiato Vs Latte Starbucks
- 8 Difference Between Latte And Macchiato And Cappuccino
- 9 Difference Between Cappuccino And Latte
- 10 Difference Between Macchiato And Cappuccino
- 11 Frequently Asked Questions About What Is The Difference Between A Macchiato And A Latte?
- 11.1 Why Are Macchiatos So Good?
- 11.2 What Is A Latte Macchiato In Europe?
- 11.3 How Do You Drink A Macchiato?
- 11.4 Which Has Less Coffee Latte Or Macchiato?
- 11.5 Why Are Macchiatos So Sweet?
- 11.6 What Are The Three Layers Of A Latte Macchiato?
- 11.7 Is a Starbucks Macchiato The Same As A Latte?
- 11.8 Why Do You Get A Spoon With Macchiato?
- 12 Final Thoughts – What Is The Difference Between A Macchiato And A Latte?
This section will give you a great overview of the difference between a macchiato and a latte as the difference is vast as a macchiato is actually a short category of drinks on the menu of a gourmet coffee shop.
Once you have read what the drinks are and the different ratios used, the penny will drop, and you’ll see how each of the drinks are different.
Here is the most basic answer: the difference between these two drinks is the espresso to steamed milk ratio and the amount of milk foam used.
- Espresso Macchiato: An espresso shot with a teaspoon of steamed milk and a little milk foam.
- Latte Macchiato: A double shot of espresso with steamed milk and milk foam in a ratio of 1:2:2.
- Caramel Macchiato: A single shot of espresso poured over a pump of vanilla syrup with steamed milk and milk foam using a ratio of 1:2:2 (espresso, steamed milk, milk foam). Caramel sauce is drizzled over the milk foam in a cross-hatch design.
- Café Latte: An espresso-based coffee drink with a shot of espresso and steamed milk using an espresso to milk ratio of 1:2. Only a fine layer of milk foam is used. Famous for its latte art.
With those basic descriptions, you get a good idea of how a macchiato of all types is different to a latte. Now I’ll dive into more details for each drink.
What Is An Espresso Macchiato?
An espresso macchiato is an espresso-based beverage that was born out of Italy, the European capital of coffee and the hardworking Italians need to enjoy an afternoon’s stimulation and energy boost while remaining compliant to a cultural norm of not enjoying milk after midday.
That cultural quirk puts a lot of coffee beverages like a latte and a cappuccino, both classic Italian coffee drinks, off the menu and out of question.
With some Italians not quite enjoying the strong, bold and intense flavor of an espresso, coffee shops across Italy started serving an espresso with a tiny teaspoon dash of steamed milk and a little scoop of foamed milk.
Viola, the hardworking Italian men and women can get their stimulation, energy boost, enjoy their coffee and not have the full feeling that milk provides.
It’s a well-thought-out genius work around and takes the edges off of a bold intense espresso and adds only a light creaminess from the small amount of milk used.
Notably, an espresso macchiato at Starbucks is made slightly differently. By all means and following the hipster lingo of coffee lovers it is an upside down espresso macchiato as the dash of milk and milk foam is added to the bottom of the shot with the espresso poured over the milk and foamed milk.
What Is A Latte Macchiato Starbucks
A latte macchiato at Starbucks and other popular coffee shops is made with a double or triple shot of espresso. The Short 8 Oz (240 ml) and Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) are made with a double shot of espresso while a Grande 16 Oz (480 ml) and Venti 20 Oz (600 ml) have a triple shot of espresso.
It’s a layered drink where the espresso is poured through the milk with the milk foam added on top. The drink is supposed to be enjoyed as a layered drink with a little coffee, milk and frothed milk in your mouth at the same time. It is not supposed to be stirred.
It’s a strong coffee drink with a total caffeine content of 150 mg to 225 mg depending on the number of espresso shots in the drink.
It’s made with a shot of espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk in ratios of 1:2:2.
An iced latte macchiato also simply known as an iced macchiato is slightly different as it is made in the same way with whipped cream replacing the frothed milk.
What Is A Caramel Macchiato?
A caramel macchiato is a flavored latte macchiato and was a special addition to the drinks’ menu at Starbucks in 1996 in celebration of their 25th year in business.
The original plans were that the beverage was on the menu for only one year. The drink became so wildly popular that when the drink was removed from the menu customers and coffee lovers kept on asking for the drink so much so that it became a permanent feature.
The drink is easily recognizable with the crosshatch design of the caramel sauce.
The drink is made with 1 or 2 shots of espresso depending on the drink size. A Short 8 Oz (240 ml) and a Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) are made with a single shot of espresso while a Grande 16 Oz (480 ml) and a Venti 20 Oz (600 ml) are made with a double shot of espresso meaning the caffeine content is from 75 mg to 150 mg.
It’s a cool Starbucks original drink, and thus a caramel macchiato at any coffee shop that sells it is emulating it.
It’s made with a pump of vanilla at the bottom of the glass and the espresso poured onto the vanilla. The steamed milk is poured over the espresso and then topped with frothed milk and has the caramel sauce drizzled over the top of the foam in a crosshatch design.
The iced version is made in the same way with whipped cream. The caramel sauce is drizzled over the whipped cream.
What Is A Latte?
A latte is the most popular coffee drink in the world and, like an espresso macchiato, has its origins in Italy. There is not a coffee shop in the world that does not sell a latte in some form or another. It may be known as coffee with milk, café au lait or a café con leche, or some local name in another language with perhaps a slight variation.
It’s an espresso-based drink with steamed milk, using an espresso to steamed milk ratio of 1:2 and a fine cap of foamed milk.
This drink is famous for the intricate latte art that range from a simple rosette, a love heart, tulip and all the way up to amazing 3D art.
A latte can be flavored in an infinite number of flavors and varieties with your flavors only being limited to the range and combinations of flavored syrups, herbs and spices available.
Popular flavored lattes are:
- Salted Caramel.
A latte can also be made with a wide range of different milks, including oat milk, coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk and regular dairy milk.
The number of shots in a latte at Starbucks depends on the size of your coffee ordered.
- Short 8 Oz (240 ml): 1 shot.
- Tall 12 Oz (360 ml): 1 shot.
- Grande 16 Oz (480 ml): 2 shot.
- venti 20 Oz (600 ml): 2 shot.
The caffeine content is from 75 mg to 150 mg of caffeine.
An iced latte is made in the same way with the smallest drink size a Tall 12 Oz and Venti 24 Oz (720 ml) being the largest drink size which has an extra shot, 3 shots in total.
Read: What is a macchiato?
Difference Between Iced Latte And Macchiato
An iced latte is different from a macchiato in the most obvious of ways: an iced latte contains ice while a regular macchiato doesn’t. A macchiato has a lighter and airier mouthfeel than the latte, which is richer and silkier.
Both an iced latte and a latte macchiato are made with a double shot of espresso and thus have the caffeine content.
Let’s look at an iced latte and the various macchiato drinks and their construction:
- An Iced Latte: An espresso drink made with at least two shots of espresso and milk using an espresso to milk ratio of 1:2.
- Espresso Macchiato: A shot of espresso with a teaspoon of milk and frothed milk.
- Iced Espresso Macchiato: The same as an espresso macchiato made with an espresso macchiato.
- Latte Macchiato: A double espresso with steamed milk and foamed milk using a ratio of 1:2:2.
- An Iced Latte Macchiato: This espresso drink is the same as a regular latte macchiato with ice added. The foamed milk is replaced with whipped cream.
- Caramel Macchiato: A coffee drink with a pump of vanilla, espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk and a crosshatch of caramel sauce. The espresso, steamed milk and foam are in a 1:2:2 ratio.
- An Iced Caramel Macchiato: Same as a caramel macchiato with ice and whipped cream replacing the foam.
Iced macchiato notably stand out for their use of whipped cream, which in the case of a caramel macchiato has a drizzle of caramel sauce.
The use of the whipped cream creates a creamier mouthfeel.
Macchiato Vs Latte Starbucks
These two drinks are very different from each other due to one key difference; the amount of foamed milk used. Both drinks are made with espresso and steamed milk.
That is where the similarities end.
A latte Macchiato has twice as much frothed milk foam as there is espresso while a latte has only a tiny amount. The result of this minor difference is a latte has a richer and creamier mouthfeel while a latte macchiato has an airy and lighter mouthfeel.
a latte macchiato is a layered drink with all three components enjoyed with each sip and mixing together in your mouth.
Difference Between Latte And Macchiato And Cappuccino
These three drinks are all very different yet are slightly similar with perhaps a macchiato being a bridge between the two drinks as it contain the best of both.
A latte, as I have mentioned a few times before, is an espresso drink with twice as much steamed milk as there is espresso and only a small amount of foamed milk.
A latte macchiato is an espresso with steamed milk and milk foam using a 1:2:2 ratio, with notably the same espresso to milk ratio as a latte.
A cappuccino is a coffee drink made with a shot of espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk all in equal amounts using a 1:1:1 ratio.
The result of the subtle difference is a cappuccino has a stronger and bolder flavor due to the closer ratio of the espresso to milk. A latte has a richer, creamier taste and heavier mouthfeel due to the greater presence of milk. A macchiato has a lighter and airier texture and mouthfeel due to the greater amount and quantity of microfoam.
Difference Between Cappuccino And Latte
The difference between a cappuccino and a latte is the ratio of the espresso to milk and the greater amount of milk foam.
A cappuccino is a stronger tasting coffee due to the 1:1 ratio of espresso to milk while a latte has an espresso to milk ratio of 1:2 making it a lighter tasting coffee that is milkier and creamier, richer and heavier mouthfeel.
A cappuccino is a fun, light and bubbly drink due to the microfoam milk froth.
Difference Between Macchiato And Cappuccino
While these two drinks appear to be similar due to the use of espresso, milk and large amounts of milk foam, they are in fact very different. A cappuccino is notably much stronger due to the more focused espresso to milk ratio, resulting in a bolder and more prominent coffee taste.
A macchiato is milkier and has a fluffier mouthfeel due to the greater quantity of microfoam. It’s a layered drink with all three components experienced in your mouth.
Frequently Asked Questions About What Is The Difference Between A Macchiato And A Latte?
Why Are Macchiatos So Good?
An espresso macchiato is so good due to being like a strong, bold espresso and having that same great taste only with the edges taken off and toned down with the teaspoon splash of milk and dollop of foamed milk.
It’s a middle ground between a shot of espresso and a well-made cappuccino.
What Is A Latte Macchiato In Europe?
A latte macchiato is an enjoyable hot coffee beverage that is a layered drink, with three layers: coffee, espresso and milk foam. The espresso is brewed on top of the steamed milk, making it an upside down drink and is usually two or three shots of espresso, steamed milk and milk foam using a ratio of 1:2:2.
How Do You Drink A Macchiato?
An espresso macchiato is traditionally enjoyed without being stirred. The small amount of foamed milk is enjoyed and then the espresso shot. It is though common for coffee lovers to stir the milk and espresso.
A latte macchiato on the other hand, is supposed to be enjoyed as a layered drink with the three layers getting into your mouth with each sip.
Which Has Less Coffee Latte Or Macchiato?
An espresso macchiato and a Short 8 Oz (240 ml) and Tall 12 Oz (360 ml) latte both have the same amount of coffee, a single shot of espresso.
A short 8 Oz (240 ml) and a tall 12 Oz (360 ml) latte macchiato are made with a double shot of espresso and this has more coffee and a higher caffeine content.
Why Are Macchiatos So Sweet?
An espresso macchiato is not considered as a sweet coffee beverage as it is a strong, bold and intense espresso shot with the rough edges of bitterness and acidity taken away with little, a dash of creaminess.
A latte macchiato has a sweet taste due to the presence of steamed milk and milk foam which contains lactose, a milk sugar.
What Are The Three Layers Of A Latte Macchiato?
The three layers of a latte macchiato are the espresso shot, the steamed milk and the milk foam. The drink is made in ratios of 1:2:2 with twice as much steamed milk as there is espresso and an equal amount of milk foam as there is steamed milk.
Is a Starbucks Macchiato The Same As A Latte?
No, a latte macchiato, café latte and an espresso macchiato are three distinctly different coffee drinks.
- Espresso Macchiato: A coffee beverage made with a shot of espresso and a teaspoon splash of steamed milk and milk foam.
- Latte Macchiato: A coffee beverage made with two or more shots of espresso, steamed milk and milk foam using a ratio of 1:2:2.
- Café Latte: A coffee drink made with one or more shots of espresso and steamed milk using an espresso to milk ratio of 1:2 with a fine cap of milk foam.
The result is three different drinks with different flavor profiles.
Why Do You Get A Spoon With Macchiato?
A spoon is served with a caramel macchiato to stir the caramel syrup from the base to add flavor. This, however, is something that, in my opinion, is an error as this should be mixed by your barista.
Final Thoughts – What Is The Difference Between A Macchiato And A Latte?
Knowing what is the difference between a macchiato and a latte and how both drinks in all their formats compare to a cappuccino, you will have a much better understanding of the Starbucks drinks menu and the drink menu at your local coffee shop and know how each drink is constructed and what the components and ratios are and get the drinks that you want to sit, sip and enjoy.
Join our cool coffee community and share your own great coffee creations, recipes, latte art and tell us about the new beans that you are trying out! Find us on Facebook/Meta.