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With so many coffee varieties so readily available to us now, it’s difficult to know exactly what each coffee is and their differences in taste. Unlike the infamous cappuccino or espresso, the macchiato is less recognised. So, exactly what is a macchiato coffee?

We explain what a macchiato is, what its variations are, and its main differences from other coffees.

What is a macchiato coffee?

In Italian, the term “macchiato” translates as “marked” or “stained”, meaning a stained or marked coffee. The macchiato is an espresso coffee drink, topped with a small amount of foamed or steamed milk to allow the taste of the espresso to still shine through.

Macchiato origins

The origin of the name “macchiato” stems from baristas needing to show waiters the difference between an espresso shot and an espresso with a bit of milk in it. As the latter is “marked” or “stained” by the addition of milk, it was quickly given its name to highlight the addition.

Unlike the cappuccino, originally being created exclusively for that morning coffee, the macchiato is the perfect afternoon coffee.

What does a macchiato taste like?

The small amount of milk that is used in the macchiato gives this coffee drink a slight sweetness. However, the combination of sweetness and creaminess of the milk isn’t enough to dilute the strength of the espresso, so some may argue that a macchiato can taste slightly bitter.

Types of macchiato

There are two main types of macchiato coffee: the espresso macchiato and the latte macchiato.

What is an espresso macchiato?

The original macchiato is made with a shot of espresso, diluted slightly by 1-2 teaspoons of steamed milk, which is the “stain”. The espresso macchiato has the highest ratio of espresso to milk, and the addition of milk is meant to be complementary, so the espresso can still be very much tasted.

What is a latte macchiato?

The latte macchiato is a sweeter, layered espresso beverage. It is made by adding a shot or half a shot of espresso to steamed milk, topped with a milk foam layer. Unlike an espresso macchiato, which is served in a short glass, a latte macchiato is served in a tall glass.

Explore the different coffee cups here.


What is the difference between a macchiato and a latte?

The difference between a macchiato and a latte depends on what type of macchiato you choose. A macchiato, often referred to as an espresso macchiato differs to a latte by not having any milk foam. A latte macchiato differs from a latte by being made in reverse. In a latte, the espresso is added first, followed by steamed milk and a final layer of frothed milk.

Now, that you have discovered what a macchiato is, quench your thirst and explore a flat white.

Caramel Macchiato

Caramel Macchiato

Get inspired. Try this NESCAFÉ coffee recipe today!

View the recipe

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