Saturday, December 2, 2023

Americano Vs. Macchiato: What’s the Difference?

by Mads

Do you regularly dread what to order at your local coffee shop from the dozens of options available? We’ve been there. Unless you have two to three favorites, it is almost impossible to get to a final choice.
In this article, we will talk about two popular espresso drinks available at coffee shops, the Americano and the Macchiato. These two, though not the same, have a few similarities and a few differences that if you know will clear a lot of confusion in your mind. It will also be helpful for you to decide which one to go for depending on your mood and the time of the day.

The origins of Americano

Legend says that Americano originated in Italy, when during World War II. American soldiers who were unhappy with the widely available espresso made their own version of the espresso by adding hot water to it. The Americano was essentially just an espresso, but with the taste of filter coffee, these soldiers were familiar to back home.1

What is an Americano?

The Americano, also called the café Americano, is essentially an espresso shot mixed with hot water. The ratio of espresso and hot water is almost one-to-one. The Americano has no milk in it in any form, which gives it a rich taste but is not as strong as a shot of espresso. It also doesn’t taste like your regular filter coffee, because of the fine grounds of coffee used to brew the espresso.

When you smell an Americano, you’ll find the strong smell of the espresso and the aroma of coffee brewed in hot water together in a drink.

This is what sets the Americano apart from other drinks on the menu. It is your regular black coffee with a twist, in terms that it doesn’t taste like the regular filter coffee you make at home, but has the strength of a regular coffee because of the added hot water.

Should you go for an Americano?

Definitely! If you like espresso but don’t want the acidity and strength that is associated with it, go for an Americano instead. It’ll give you the same aroma and flavor of the finely grounded coffee that is the core of espresso, without the dominating acidity and strength.



  • Gives you the taste and aroma of Espresso without the acidity and bitterness of it

  • It is a happy medium between a regular coffee and an Espresso

  • Loses the taste and texture of an Espresso shot

  • Can be a bit too bitter for people who drink regular coffee

Macchiato: The Milky Coffee

A Macchiato is also made with an espresso, which gives it the strength and aroma of finely grounded coffee, but with milk. Only a tiny amount of milk is added to the espresso to make a macchiato. While the amount of milk is not defined or set, a Macchiato could have one ounce of steamed milk per one shot of espresso to two ounces of steamed milk in another.

The Word macchiato is Italian which means “Stained”, thus just a little micro-foam milk on top of a macchiato drink. The velvety microfoam, when added to the top of a Macchiato makes it distinguishable from other Milky coffee drinks on the menu.

Isn’t a Macchiato just a Milky coffee?

The Milk in the Macchiato acts as a sweetener and a diluent at the same time, taking away the bitterness of the espresso shot. Still, people who have the habit of drinking regular Coffee usually find the Macchiato a bit too strong for their taste buds. This is because of the strength and taste of espresso which is the base drink of every Macchiato.

When should you opt for a Macchiato?

When you’re on the go and want a coffee that you can finish within a few sips, you should go for a Macchiato. This is because Macchiato is just a few ounces generally, and a cup of Macchiato brings the strength of an Espresso with lesser bitterness because of Milk added to it.



  • Strong because of high Espresso concentration

  • Added milk takes away the bitterness a bit

  • Not the regular milky coffee with a creamy texture

  • A bit too bitter and strong for most people who drink regular coffee

Americano Vs. Macchiato: Which one should you choose?

While you could debate on which one is the best, a simple answer would be to try them both.

By having both at the same time, you’ll easily be able to appreciate the strengths of both Americano and Macchiato and tell the differences between them to get to a conclusion of what to choose on your next coffee shop visit.


If both of these espresso-based drinks top your favorites list, we recommend you try Americano when you can sit and relax on a visit to the coffee shop, and don’t want the same filter coffee you’re accustomed to drinking at home. It’ll give you the taste and texture of the espresso without being too acidic for your stomach.
Macchiato is when you’re looking for a punch of strength of the original espresso with steamed milk while on the go. It is a strong drink thanks to the espresso base disguised by some people as your regular milky coffee. The Macchiato has the strength in it to wake you up.

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