You know about lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos, but what is a latte macchiato? Here’s what you need to know about this delicious espresso and milk drink. Your next trip to the coffee shop will be much easier and you won’t have to hold up the line while trying to decipher the menu.
What is a latte macchiato?
What is a latte macchiato? The American coffee company has different types of milk for different types of drinks. A standard latte macchiato is made with whole milk, while a regular latte uses 2% milk.
Of course, you can order your latte or latte macchiatos with a different type of milk such as oat milk or almond milk. But unless you specify these alternative milk options, here’s what you’ll get from typical Starbucks latte macchiatos.
- Single or double-shot of espresso
- A dollop of steamed milk
If you order a Starbucks latte, here are the ingredients you can expect:
- Single or double-shot of espresso
- Steamed milk (accounting for ⅔ of the total beverage)
- Foamed milk on top
- Optional flavor additives (vanilla, caramel, etc.)
Cappuccino vs. Latte vs. Macchiato
If you’re exploring the world of milk-based espresso drinks, you may be confused. Almost everyone knows what a cappuccino is, but what the heck is a macchiato? And what about a latte?
Confused still? It’s OK — keep reading to figure out how one is different from the other.
What does macchiato mean?
Macchiato means “marked.” In coffee, it refers to an espresso “marked” with a spoonful of foamed milk on top.
Nowadays you can find countless different variations of the macchiato including the caramel variation and a “Tall Macc: with so much milk that it is a miniature latte.
Technically, however, a macchiato is simply an espresso with a tiny dash of milk.
Outside Italy, you might want to order an “espresso macchiato” to make sure you get the right drink.
Different blends of the macchiato
Today, many of the coffee drinks called “macchiato” do not have much to do with the original recipe.
Starbucks offers a “zebra macchiato” or an iced “marble mocha macchiato” with white mocha on the bottom and an espresso shot on the top. While this might delight those with a sweet tooth, it’s far from a traditional macchiato recipe.
A common variation is the ”latte macchiato,” an inverse macchiato: Hot milk topped with espresso, usually larger, and served in a tall glass.
If you want an espresso drink with more milk than a macchiato, you might enjoy a cortado, Latin America’s delicious contribution to milk-based espresso drinks.
What does cappuccino mean?
One of the most popular coffee drinks in the world, cappuccino is espresso topped with steamed milk and milk foam.
The name “cappuccino” comes from the Roman Catholic order of Capuchin monks. When milky coffee first appeared on café menus in 18th-century Vienna, it resembled the robes worn by these monks. It is commonly served with a dusting of shaved or powdered chocolate on top, derived from the Viennese custom of adding ground spices.
Different blends of the cappuccino
Outside of Italy, it’s common for a cappuccino to use coffee, milk, and foam in a 1:1:1 ratio. Variations between the ratio of milk and foamed milk are how baristas create a “dry” or a “wet” cappuccino. A wet cappuccino has more hot milk, while a dry one has more milk froth.
In many places, cappuccinos are dusted with cocoa powder.
The flat white is another milk coffee drink, which lacks the traditional cap of foam and often has slightly less milk than a traditional cappuccino.
What does latte mean?
Cafe latte means coffee milk. As with cappuccino, it is a very globalized drink with countless variations of the recipe. There is no single correct way to make a latte although there are awesome machines that can help you with good ones.
In most coffee shops outside Italy, it’s typically a single espresso topped with plenty of steamed milk. As long as it contains milk, it can be a latte – even if it’s not made with coffee.
Popular café drinks like Chai Latte and Matcha Latte fulfill the only criteria of being a latte, as they contain milk. In Italy, ordering a latte will just get you a glass of milk.
Is cappuccino stronger than a latte?
Cappuccino vs latte: which is stronger? Cappuccino is slightly stronger in flavor than a latte, at least in its original form. Most latte drinks are made with a higher volume of milk, though adding an extra shot to either one can make it stronger.
Back to our original question, what is a latte macchiato? There are many different types of coffee but in the end, the difference between a macchiato, a cappuccino, and a latte is the milk ratio to coffee beans.
- Macchiato: A shot of espresso with a dollop of milk. Ratio: 90% coffee, 10% milk.
- Cappuccino: A shot of espresso with steamed milk and foam. Ratio: 1:2:2 per the INEI, also commonly 1:1:1 outside Italy.
- Latte: Coffee with heated milk in Italy. Outside Italy, espresso with lots of steamed milk. Ratio: commonly 15% coffee, 85% milk.