Perhaps you’ve had a long afternoon of studying, and you’re looking for a caffeine boost. Or maybe you’re a tired mom who needs to finish some work after the kids go to bed. You could be an espresso lover who enjoys a little dairy added to mix things up.
No matter who you are, the macchiato is a delicious choice for the sleep-deprived and those who love the taste, aroma, and smoothness of an espresso lightly marked with steamed milk.
Because that’s what a macchiato drink is.
The word “macchiato” means “marked” in Italian. The beverage is perfect for those in the mood for an espresso boost but isn’t ready for a straight espresso. Instead, they want it marked with a bit of steamed milk.
You can think about a macchiato as the opposite of a cappuccino in that the cappuccino is steamed milk with added espresso. In contrast, the macchiato is espresso with added steamed milk.
Variations of this drink abound, making ordering a bone fide macchiato a confusing and fascinating endeavor. Let’s talk about the flavorful coffee macchiato, what is macchiato coffee, and how it can add joy to your day.
What is a Macchiato Coffee?
The word “macchiato” is Italian, and it means “stained” or “marked.” In other words, this beverage is essentially an espresso with a dollop of steamed milk added. Some variations on this beverage add warm or even cold milk to the drink.
It is possible to create latte art using the added milk, and many baristas do just that.
How giant is a macchiato? Typically this drink is served in a clear glass or an espresso cup. It is essentially 90% espresso and 10% milk, providing a satisfying cappuccino alternative to calorie counters and the dairy-averse.
Often, the milk is added in just one area of the cup, providing a little white dot in a sea of caramel-colored goodness. The milk addition brings sweetness to cut through the bitter espresso without dominating the drink with foam or sugary syrups. Yum.
This drink has international variations, depending on where it is ordered. A double espresso with milk is a macchiato in London, whereas two espresso shots with a dash of milk make up the drink in Australia. Ask your barista whether they have a trademark interpretation of the drink in their local area or coffee shop.
The Macchiato Story
Let’s discuss a little macchiato coffee history.
Contrary to popular belief, the macchiato was not a staple of Italian coffee drinkers, and is a relatively recent invention.
From a cultural perspective, it was considered improper to order a cappuccino after 11 am in Italy because milk drinks are most appropriate in the morning. Baristas wanted an option for an afternoon treat to serve that wasn’t as intimidating as a straight espresso. Thus, the cafe macchiato was born.
The term ”macchiato” was a shorthand instruction for whether a customer wanted a straight espresso or a marked espresso, an espresso with a tablespoon or two of milk added. If the customer wished for the milk, the order would state “marked,”– indicating the milk addition.
By now I hope you’ve gotten a taste of some macchiato coffee history, and you may be ready to consider ordering one yourself.
But as we will see, there are several different types of macchiato, so it’s essential to know which one you want before placing your order.
Different Types of Macchiato
Here is where the macchiato discussion gets a little bit confusing. There are several different macchiato-type drinks available. Let’s look at each one, so you can understand the distinctions between them all.
The espresso macchiato is the drink we have discussed in this article. It contains approximately 9/10 espresso and 1/10 milk– either steamed, foamed, or in some cases, cold. This drink is typically served in a demitasse cup, although sometimes it is done in an espresso glass. It can feature latte art or a simple dot indicating the mark of milk on the espresso drink.
It’s a perfect coffee drink with a smooth dairy addition to bring out the espresso flavor without being too heavy or difficult to digest.
Latte Macchiato and Caramel Macchiato
A latte macchiato is a much less concentrated drink, aiming to mark the dairy with a portion of espresso rather than the other way around.
A barista should use transparent glass for this drink, creating a layered effect. The bottom layer is steamed milk, with the next layer is slowly poured espresso, with foamed milk on the top. If correctly poured, this beverage is both beautiful and simple, although differing wildly from the traditional macchiato drink.
On the other hand, a caramel macchiato is a drink ordered at Starbucks, which is essentially steamed milk, a small portion of espresso, with caramel flavoring or syrup added.
The caramel macchiato is the sweetest of the variations and contains the most milk. It can be served in many different sizes.
As you can see, the variations on this drink make it one of the more difficult beverages to pin down. Let’s discuss the best way to order your macchiato with the most minor confusion.
Also, you might want to check out Breve Coffee if you are a fan of half-and-half and tasty stuff with lots of calories ) Worth trying out.
How to Order Your Macchiato
When ordering your macchiato, first determine which variety you are hoping to try.
If you typically order a latte, you may want to try a latte macchiato. However, if you are feeling adventurous and enjoy the espresso taste, tell your barista you want an espresso macchiato.
Different coffee shops will have different types of macchiatos available. However, the best way to make sure you communicate which one you want is to use the word “espresso” or “latte” before the word “macchiato” when placing your order. Your barista should be able to go from there.
How to make a Macchiato
Home espresso machines are the perfect way to make your macchiato without worrying about the confusion of ordering the drink at a local cafe. It’s a delightful afternoon pick-me-up without adding too much milk to your day and a wonderful treat to share with your guests. Let’s discuss how to make a macchiato.
To start, you will need nine parts espresso to one part milk. Brew your espresso in the usual way, and begin to heat your milk. If you’d like the milk steamed or foamed, try different combinations to see what works best for your palate.
Pour your espresso into your espresso cup, and pour your steamed or foamed milk over the top. Your milk should stand as a drop of white color surrounded by brown espresso. Alternatively, if you know how to make latte art, try it here. You may enjoy the reversed canvas, having white color on a brown background, as opposed to traditional latte art, where the espresso is written onto a white milk background.
Macchiato: Afternoon Delight
Hopefully this article has given you some insight into the world of coffee macchiato, how big is a macchiato, how to make a macchiato, and so much more.
If you enjoy espresso or are just learning about various coffee drinks, give the macchiato a try. Be sure to use quality beans and a full fat milk for the smooth, decadent flavor. This is a drink designed to take a moment away from life, breathe in the aroma, and enjoy. You deserve a treat, and this drink is delicious and a caffeine boost.
Take a moment this afternoon and order one– you’re worth it.