Monday, December 4, 2023

Latte vs. Macchiato: Which to Choose?

by Mads

Latte vs. Macchiato: Which to Choose?

If you are a coffee enthusiast, you have probably found yourself pondering the question of what exactly is the difference between a latte and a macchiato. These two beverages come from the same Italian heritage, but they have distinctive characteristics that set them apart. Whether you are a coffee aficionado or a newbie, understanding the difference between these two drinks can help you pick the perfect one for your caffeine cravings.

What\’s the difference between a latte and a macchiato?

At first glance, a latte and a macchiato may look similar as they both have espresso and milk. However, the main difference between the two beverages lies in the preparation process, proportion, texture, and taste.


A latte is a well-known coffee drink that generally has a third of espresso, two-thirds of steamed milk, and topped with a layer of foamed milk. This results in a creamy and smooth drink with a mild coffee flavor and a sweet undertone from the milk. The latte is served in a bigger cup, and it is ideal for those who want their coffee to be rich, creamy, and sweet.


On the other hand, a macchiato is a shorter and more potent drink made from a shot of espresso with a dash of frothed milk. The word ‘macchiato’ means “stained” in Italian, referring to the tiny amount of milk that marks the espresso’s surface. This drink has a strong and deep coffee flavor, thanks to a higher proportion of espresso to milk. The texture is more like a well-blended espresso, with the frothed milk adding a slight layer of creaminess. Those who enjoy a stronger coffee flavor with a hint of sweetness and a creamy texture will find the macchiato appealing.

What\’s the difference between a latte and a macchiato in terms of caffeine?

When it comes to caffeine content, the latte and the macchiato differ due to their preparation methods. A typical latte contains more milk, which dilutes the caffeine content in the espresso. The froth on top of a latte adds volume but is not purely made by the steamed milk, which contains no caffeine. In contrast, a macchiato contains less milk, resulting in a higher concentration of caffeine that can fuel you up. So, if you are seeking a more robust caffeine fix, a macchiato provides a bolder shot of espresso, making it the perfect choice.

How are lattes and macchiatos made?

Now that we know the distinction between a latte and a macchiato in terms of taste and caffeine content, let’s dive into the preparation methods.


To make a latte, you begin with a shot of espresso, which is then combined with steamed milk in a cup. The amount of milk and espresso differs from one recipe to another, but the general rule is a 1:2 ratio of espresso to milk. The milk should be steamed until it reaches a velvety texture, then poured slowly into the cup containing the espresso. Finally, a layer of foamed milk is added to give the latte its signature creamy texture, and it can then be topped with cocoa powder, caramel, or vanilla syrup for added flavors.


Making a macchiato is a more straightforward process compared to a latte. Begin by pulling a shot of espresso into the cup and add a tiny amount of frothed milk to the surface of the espresso. The milk should be added carefully so that it leaves a stained effect on top of the espresso. The macchiato doesn’t require additional flavors or cocoa, as the espresso flavor is robust enough to make your taste buds go wild.


In summary, the choice between a latte and a macchiato comes down to personal taste preferences and caffeine requirements. Both drinks have a place in the coffee world and are delicious in their unique ways. Whether you need a creamy and mellow coffee or an intense shot of espresso, you can confidently select the right beverage to brighten up your day. So, the next time you visit a coffee shop, use this guide as a reference to pick between a latte and a macchiato, and experience a satisfying caffeine fix.

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