Macchiato Vs Latte – Differences And Similarities

Last Updated on: 21st June 2023, 12:47 pm

Are you a coffee aficionado who constantly seeks new and exciting ways to satisfy your caffeine cravings? If so, then you’ve probably come across the terms macchiato and latte. While both are popular coffee drinks, they differ in several ways.

Understanding these differences can help you choose which one is right for you. Firstly, it’s important to note that macchiato and latte are both espresso-based beverages. However, they differ in the amount of milk used. A latte is primarily made with steamed milk and a small amount of espresso, while a macchiato has just a dash of milk and more concentrated espresso.

But there’s more to it than just the ingredients – the preparation method also plays a role in how each drink tastes. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the differences between macchiato and latte, including their ingredients, preparation techniques, taste profiles, as well as variations/customizations available for each drink.

Key Takeaways

  • Macchiato and latte are two popular espresso-based drinks that have distinct differences in preparation and ingredients.
  • The main difference between the two drinks is the ratio of coffee to milk, with macchiato having a small amount of foamed milk added on top of a concentrated espresso shot, while latte is primarily made with steamed milk and a small amount of espresso.
  • Both drinks can be customized with syrups and milk alternatives for added flavor complexity, and a caramel macchiato is a popular variation of the traditional macchiato.
  • Macchiato is served in a small cup, while latte is served in a larger cup, and latte art has become a popular trend among baristas in recent years. Understanding the differences between macchiato and latte can help you choose which one is right for you.

A Table Comparing Latte And Macchiato

IngredientsEspresso, a little bit of Milk FoamEspresso, Steamed Milk
PreparationMostly Espresso with a dot of Foam1/6 Espresso, 4/6 Steamed Milk, 1/6 Foam
Texture and FoamMore liquid, less foam, larger portion of espressoMore liquid, less foam, larger portion of milk
Taste and Flavor ProfileStrong, intense espresso flavorMilder, milkier flavor
Serving SizesTypically 1-2 ozTypically 12 oz or more
Caffeine ContentVaries, but generally around 64 mg for a 2 oz servingVaries, but generally around 77 mg for a 12 oz serving
Popular VariationsFlavored syrups, different types of milkFlavored syrups, different types of milk, latte art
Nutritional ValuesDepends on milk and additional ingredients used, typically lower in calories than a latte due to less milkDepends on milk and additional ingredients used, typically higher in calories than a macchiato due to more milk

What Are The Main Differences Between Macchiato And Latte

Do you know the main differences between a macchiato and a latte? Let’s break it down.

A macchiato is an espresso-based drink that has a small amount of milk, usually in the form of foam, added on top. The word ‘macchiato’ means ‘stained’ or ‘marked,’ which refers to the way the milk marks the espresso.

On the other hand, a latte is also an espresso-based drink but with more milk than a macchiato. A latte typically consists of steamed milk and a small amount of foam on top, with one or two shots of espresso added to it. This creates a creamy and smooth texture that many people enjoy.

Overall, the main difference between these two drinks is in their ratio of coffee to milk: while a macchiato has mostly coffee with just a touch of milk, lattes are mostly made up of milk with just a bit of coffee added for flavor.

Macchiato And Latte Ingredients

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the richness of flavors in these two beverages, thanks to their carefully selected ingredients. Macchiato and latte are both espresso-based drinks that require specific components to create their signature tastes.

Here’s a breakdown of what goes into each:


  • Espresso shot
  • A dollop of foamed milk
  • Optional flavorings such as caramel or vanilla syrup
  • Served in a small cup


  • Espresso shot
  • Steamed milk
  • Minimal foam on top
  • Optional flavorings such as hazelnut or cinnamon syrup
  • Served in a larger cup

As you can see, the main difference between macchiato and latte lies in the amount and preparation of the milk component. While macchiato has only a small amount of foamed milk, latte has more steamed milk with minimal foam. Both drinks can be customized with different types of syrups for added sweetness or flavor complexity.

Keep in mind that other espresso-based beverages like cappuccino, mocha, cortado, and caffe art also have unique ingredient combinations that contribute to their distinct taste profiles.

Macchiato And Latte Preparation

When you’re in the mood for a warm and delicious espresso-based drink, it’s important to know how to prepare them properly to get the most out of your experience. Let’s take a closer look at how macchiatos and lattes are made.

First, let’s start with the latte. At Starbucks, a latte is typically made by pulling a shot or two of espresso into a cup, then adding steamed milk and foam on top. The ratio of espresso to milk can vary depending on personal preference. To add some extra flavor, many people opt for flavored syrups like vanilla or caramel in their latte.

On the other hand, a caramel macchiato starts with steamed milk and vanilla syrup at the bottom of the cup. A shot of espresso is added on top of that, followed by some caramel drizzle and foam. The result is a sweet and creamy drink with just enough espresso kick to wake you up in the morning.

Macchiato And Latte Taste

Indulge in the rich and velvety texture of these espresso-based drinks, allowing their unique flavor profiles to tantalize your taste buds.

The macchiato is a bold and robust drink that packs a punch with its strong espresso shot. Its name means ‘stained’ or ‘spotted’ in Italian, which refers to the dollop of steamed milk added on top of the espresso shot. This creates a bittersweet taste with a creamy finish that satisfies even the most discerning coffee drinkers.

On the other hand, latte offers a smoother and creamier experience compared to macchiato. It is made by adding more steamed milk to espresso to achieve a perfect balance between bitter and sweet flavors. With its velvety texture, latte boasts subtle notes of caramel and chocolate that complement the coffee’s richness.

Although both drinks are based on espresso shots, their differences in preparation result in distinct tastes that appeal to different palates. Whether you prefer bold and robust or smooth and creamy flavors, there’s always something for everyone between macchiato and latte.

Variations and Customizations Of Macchiato And Latte

Customizing your espresso-based drinks is a great way to enhance your coffee experience. You can add flavored syrups or change the type of milk used in your latte or macchiato. The good news is that both macchiato and latte offer plenty of room for customizations.

Here are some variations you can try:

  • Flavored syrups: Whether you prefer sweet caramel or spicy cinnamon, adding a flavored syrup can give your latte or macchiato an extra kick.
  • Milk alternatives: If you’re lactose intolerant or simply want to switch things up, consider using almond, soy, coconut, or oat milk instead of cow’s milk.
  • Temperature: Some coffee shops offer iced lattes and macchiatos as well as hot ones. You can also ask for your drink to be served at a specific temperature (e.g., extra hot).
  • Espresso shots: Depending on how strong you like your coffee, you can ask for an extra shot of espresso in your drink.
  • Foam art: Latte art has become incredibly popular in recent years, with baristas creating intricate designs out of foam using tools like stencils and toothpicks.

While there are many similarities between macchiato and latte when it comes to customizations, there are also some differences. For example, because a traditional macchiato only has a small amount of steamed milk and foam on top of the espresso shot, there isn’t much room for customization beyond the basics.

On the other hand, lattes have more steamed milk than macchiatos and therefore offer more opportunities for variation. Whether you prefer bold flavors or subtle tweaks to your coffee order, experimenting with different customizations can help you discover new favorites while enjoying the classic taste of both latte and macchiato.


Congratulations! You’re now equipped with the knowledge of the differences and similarities between macchiato and latte. By understanding their respective ingredients, preparation methods, and taste profiles, you can confidently choose which one to order at your favorite coffee shop.

As you sip on your perfectly crafted beverage, imagine the rich aroma of freshly brewed espresso combined with velvety milk froth. The macchiato’s bold espresso flavor is balanced by a touch of milk foam, while the latte’s creamy texture is enhanced by a milder espresso shot.

Whether you prefer the strong taste of macchiato or the smoothness of latte, there are endless ways to customize your drink with syrups, flavors, and toppings.

Now that you have mastered the art of distinguishing between these two classic beverages, take a moment to appreciate the intricate details behind every cup. From bean selection to steaming technique, each step in the process contributes to creating an unforgettable coffee experience.

So go ahead and indulge in a delicious macchiato or latte – you deserve it!

Mike Shaw

Mike is a fervent aficionado of all things coffee. His journey has taken him from the verdant coffee farms of South America to the vibrant coffeehouses of Europe and many places in between. Over the years, he's delved deep into the intricate tapestry of coffee, savoring, brewing, and analyzing myriad varieties. For Mike, coffee transcends its role as a morning energizer; it's a world waiting to be explored and cherished.