Thursday, December 7, 2023

Upside-Down Caramel Macchiato: What is it?

by Mads

The upside-down terminology is used for any beverage (in our case, the Caramel Macchiato) in which the order of the ingredients is reversed while making.

For example, if your macchiato is made by first pouring in the espresso, and adding a little milk on top of it, a reverse macchiato would mean pouring milk into the base first and then adding the espresso shot over it.

So, for an Upside-down Caramel Macchiato, the order of ingredients goes like this;

At the bottom of the cup, or the very first thing you add to the cup, is a layer of caramel, followed by espresso, and then a whole lot of steamed milk. This is followed by a vanilla syrup drizzle on top, which completes your Upside down Macchiato recipe.

Here you go, an upside-down caramel macchiato is ready to be served.

You may be thinking, “but what difference does changing the order of ingredients make to the quality or taste of the drink? They all mix together, right” Well, it makes all the difference, especially in a coffee. Because each layer has its own taste, coupled with the aroma of espresso and the undertones of coffee, a distinct feel to your taste buds is achieved in every sip.

There are variations, of course. Some baristas may pour the espresso shot onto the vanilla syrup first and add milk on top of it while drizzling just a bit of caramel syrup on top of that. You can have it hot like your regular coffee or make it an iced one when craving for that dessert-type feel by adding a few cubes just after the milk.

But in all of this reverse and upside-down, there is a small twist. You see, if you have had a caramel latte, which many of us usually do to get that sugar rush in our bloodstreams, and then you compare that with your order of upside-down Caramel Macchiato, you won’t feel a big difference. 

Then why call not just call it a latte? Why is it sold and written macchiato whenever this recipe is followed?

To understand that, let’s see what a Macchiato is.

A basic Macchiato is an espresso that has been topped with micro foamed milk. The strong espresso gives it the aroma and taste notes, while milk dilutes the bitterness of coffee and reduces its acidity.

Steamed milk and micro-foam in a very small quantity are added to a Macchiato by some baristas, while some may add a bit more. The purpose is the same, which is to introduce a diluent to the coffee and reduce the bitterness associated with the espresso.

Now, the second popular variation of the basic macchiato is the Latte Macchiato. It has a portion of foamy milk sitting on the bottom, espresso in between, and steamed milk sitting on top of it. 

This is more close to your caramel macchiato than a regular Macchiato.

When you see it like this, it becomes easier to see how close a latte macchiato is to the Upside-Down Caramel macchiato.

Also, notice that the Upside-down Caramel Macchiato is nowhere closer to the regular Espresso macchiato. It has milk where the regular macchiato has got only foam.

Then why was the name macchiato attached to this drink which is nowhere close to the regular macchiato?

Well, if you already didn’t know, the Upside-down caramel macchiato is a very popular drink.

People usually don’t accept the name given to a drink by a company if they are themselves a huge fan of it. 

Since the top of the drink had the same design as a macchiato, customers started to call it the Upside-down version of the caramel macchiato. 

Iced vs. Upside-down Caramel Macchiato, what’s the difference?

In a normal caramel macchiato, the vanilla drizzle is added to the bottom in comparison to the upside-down caramel macchiato, where caramel is on the bottom.

 In the iced version of a caramel Macchiato, though, before adding milk over vanilla, ice is added. Then goes the milk (usually chilled) followed by espresso as the final layer, completing the body of the drink. The final touch is the caramel drizzle that is atop and is poured directly over the rising ice cubes. What is not added to the iced version is the foam, which is obviously a feature of heated drinks.

What Ingredients do you need to make your own iced Caramel Macchiato at home?

Although simple, try to follow all steps in order to make a perfect one!

You’ll need the following:

  • A big mug that can hold Up to 14 oz. of drink
  • 1-2 teaspoons Vanilla Coffee syrup
  • 4-6 ice cubes(depending on how you like it)
  • A cup of chilled milk 
  • Two shots of espresso
  • 2 teaspoons caramel sauce 

Brew your espresso and pull a double shot, and put it aside for later use.

Take the big mug or glass that you’ll serve yourself the Iced Macchiato in, and pour the vanilla syrup at the very bottom.

Add ice, but see that the amount of ice should be so much that your mug doesn’t overflow.

Add the chilled milk on top of the ice. You may use any milk that you desire.

Stir the three so that the vanilla syrup thoroughly mixes with the milk. After that, add espresso. We prefer a double shot, but it all depends on how strong you prefer your drink.

Do not stir!

Now for that sugar rush, add caramel in whatever amount your taste buds desire.

That’s about it. Your drink is ready to be had!

Easy, isn’t it?

Rule of the drink

Beware! A load of advice from seasoned coffee enthusiasts; NEVER stir your caramel Macchiato! 

Whether iced or upside-down, the recipe your baristas follow to make your drink and the order of the ingredients they use to create a piece of abstract beauty that is appreciable in itself!

Besides, if you stir it all, what’s the point of getting a drink that was made with such detail to it?


To sum it all up, when vanilla drizzle is at the top and caramel is sitting at the bottom, and Upside-down caramel macchiato is made. But that is just a fancy name for a caramel latte with vanilla topping. 

Yes! Admit it in front of a barista, and they’ll be relieved there are coffee enthusiasts out there who like to keep it simple when ordering their coffee. I know calling it a Macchiato is more fun, but that is just the way it is.

Once you know the science and order of things in an espresso drink, it becomes so much easier to decide what to order. Because who wants the same cup of coffee every day? Even if you don’t make coffee at home, knowledge is essential to decide which coffee will suit which mood, time of the day, and routine.

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