Macchiato vs. Latte: What's The Difference?

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Macchiato vs. Latte: What's The Difference?

Picture yourself at your favorite coffee spot, the delightful scent of fresh coffee filling the air. Now, you are pondering a common question: What is the difference between Macchiato and Latte? While these coffee drinks seem similar, they are distinct and cater to different palates and preferences.

In this blog, we will delve into what Macchiato vs. Latte is. We will break down the differences between these two coffee favorites, explain their flavors, and how they are made. By the end, you will have a clear picture of what sets these drinks apart, helping you make an informed choice for your next caffeine fix.

Before delving into the macchiato coffee vs. latte debate, let us start by getting to know the macchiato.

What is a Macchiato?



, derived from the Italian word "macchiato," meaning "spotted," is a simple yet captivating coffee creation. It comprises just two core ingredients: a single or double shot of espresso and a dollop of steamed milk. This results in a potent and bold coffee experience with a minimal milk presence. The defining characteristic of a macchiato is the signature "spot" on top of the drink, created when espresso is skillfully poured into a small amount of steamed milk, forming a delightful interplay of contrasting flavors and textures. Traditionally served in compact espresso cups, usually containing 2-3 ounces, a proper macchiato exemplifies the essence of espresso, a rich and robust coffee paired with just a hint of milk.

What Does a Macchiato Taste Like?

A macchiato tastes a lot like strong espresso. It is like a shot of intense coffee flavor. The taste depends on the quality of the

coffee beans

used. A macchiato brings out espresso's rich and bold side when made well. A macchiato is an excellent choice if you love the pure taste of coffee without too much fuss.

How Much Caffeine is in a Macchiato?


let us talk about caffeine

. You'll find about 80mg of caffeine in smaller to medium-sized macchiatos. If you go for a larger one, you'll get around 120mg of caffeine. So, whether you need a quick energy boost or prefer a stronger coffee experience, a macchiato has you covered when it comes to caffeine.

Now that we have acquainted ourselves with the macchiato, let us explore the latte.

What Is a Latte?



, derived from the Italian phrase "Caffe Latte," translating to "milk coffee," embodies the essence of creamy indulgence. In contrast to the Macchiato, a Latte boasts a luscious milk-forward composition. This beloved classic consists of a single or double shot of espresso blended harmoniously with a generous portion of steamed milk, crowned by a delicate layer of milk foam. The defining characteristic of a Latte is its velvety texture and milder coffee flavor, making it a comforting coffee experience. It is a delightful fusion of coffee and milk, allowing the natural flavors to shine through, enveloping your palate in a smooth and velvety embrace. In the coffee arena, Latte and Macchiato are distinct offerings, each catering to unique taste preferences, ensuring a satisfying coffee adventure for all.

What Does a Latte Taste Like?

A Latte finds its magic in striking a perfect balance between the robust personality of espresso and the silky touch of milk. With each sip, you will first encounter the boldness of coffee, followed by the velvety embrace of milk, creating a smooth and comforting experience. Unlike other beverages, a Latte stays true to the essence of coffee. It makes it an excellent choice for those who desire a straightforward, authentic coffee flavor free from overwhelming sweetness.

How Much Caffeine is in a Latte?

Lattes come in different sizes, but the


stays about the same. A small or medium latte has around 80mg of caffeine, while a big one has about 120mg. But remember, lattes are more prominent because they have more milk. So, you get a similar caffeine dose but with a creamier and larger drink compared to a macchiato of the same size.

Now that we comprehensively understand macchiatos and lattes let us tackle the ultimate question: Which should you order? Latte or macchiato?

Macchiato Coffee Vs. Latte

Let us first define macchiato vs. latte in simple terms.

A Macchiato is like a strong espresso with just a little steamed milk, making it bold and intense.

On the other hand, a Latte is a coffee that is mostly steamed milk with a shot of espresso, creating a creamier and milder flavor.

So, the macchiato coffee vs. latte showdown is about whether you prefer your coffee bold and straightforward or creamy and mild.

1. Flavor Preferences

Choosing between a latte and a macchiato is all about what flavors you enjoy the most. If you love the pure taste of coffee and want it to be front and center, go for a macchiato. It is strong and bold, giving you that unadulterated coffee experience.

But a latte is the way to go if you prefer something milder, creamier, and sweeter. Lattes are famous for their milkiness; you can even add different flavors like caramel or vanilla to make it your own. So, the macchiato coffee vs. latte debate depends on whether you are in the mood for a strong coffee kick or a smoother, more milk-focused experience.

2. Location Matters

It is essential to consider where you are ordering your coffee when deciding between a macchiato and a latte. The line between these two beverages is often blurred in the United States. An American macchiato resembles a latte because it typically contains the same amount of milk, even though it's poured into the same-sized cup. These are often called "latte macchiatos" due to their milkier nature.

However, in Europe, the distinction is more pronounced. If you order a latte in Italy, you might be sipping on a glass of pure milk with no coffee or espresso. An authentic Caffe Latte in Italy includes warm milk and espresso but lacks the standard foamy top in the States.

3. Coffee Experience

Think about the kind of coffee experience you want. If you want a quick and strong espresso shot with just a bit of creamy milk, go for a macchiato. It's perfect if you like the taste of espresso but want it to be smoother.

On the other hand, if you want to take your time and enjoy a creamy coffee with lots of milk, a latte is what you should pick. Lattes can also be flavored in different ways, so if you like trying new tastes, they're a great choice. So, to understand the difference between macchiato and latte, it is all about whether you want a quick and bold coffee or a slow and creamy one with exciting flavors.


In the "What is the difference between macchiato and latte?" debate, the choice between a macchiato and a latte ultimately comes down to your personal taste and the kind of coffee experience you need. The macchiato is the perfect choice if you are craving a strong and quick espresso with creamy goodness. It is an excellent selection for those who cherish the pure essence of coffee without any unnecessary bitterness.

On the other hand, If you are looking for a more leisurely and enjoyable coffee experience, want to savor the smooth and creamy taste of steamed milk, and try different flavors, then the latte is the perfect choice for you.

So, the next time you find yourself at the counter of your favorite coffee shop, you will be better prepared to make a well-considered decision. Whether you opt for the bold simplicity of a macchiato or the comforting embrace of a latte, rest assured that your coffee journey will be delectable, filled with exceptional flavors and memorable sips. Enjoy your brew!

More From Jorge Armando Ciciliani

About The Author: Jorge Armando Ciciliani

Jorge is a seasoned coffee professional with a lifelong passion for all things coffee. For over a decade, he has fervently immersed himself in the world of coffee, mastering its preparation, understanding its societal impact, and uncovering its cultural significance. Starting as a barista at the young age of 15 and later managing a coffee roastery, this journey led him to work as a quality control manager for a green coffee importer.
Traveling across countries in Central and North America, Jorge has explored various coffee traditions and honed his skills through Specialty Coffee Association courses. As a QC Cupping coffee connoisseur and sensory skills enthusiast, Jorge is a true expert in the art of brewing and savoring the perfect cup. Consider him your trusted Fika expert.

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