Macchiato Vs Latte

Struggling to decide between a latte and a macchiato? Many coffee lovers find it hard to choose between these two popular drinks, each with its unique flavour and texture.

A latte is made with espresso, warm milk, and a bit of milk foam on top. In contrast, a macchiato has more espresso relative to the milk, creating a stronger taste. This article will break down the differences clearly—helping you pick your perfect brew.

Ready for some answers? Let’s get started!

Defining a Latte

A latte is a milky coffee drink. It uses one shot of espresso and has three-fourths steamed milk topped with one-fourth foam. Traditional lattes are between 10-12 ounces.

The name “latte” means milk in Italian and Spanish. The standard recipe includes 1/3 espresso, 2/3 warm milk, and half an inch of foamed milk on top. Lattes come in sizes from 8 to 16 ounces.

The Origin of the Latte

Lino Meiorin invented the latte in California nearly 90 years ago. He wanted to make coffee with more milk and less bitterness for his customers. The drink became very popular in the United States, especially during the early 1980s.

Baristas enjoy making caffè lattes and creating latte art. “Latte” means “coffee and milk” in Italian, showing its simple ingredients—hot espresso mixed with creamy milk.

Understanding Macchiato

Macchiato is an espresso drink topped with a thin layer of frothy foam. The term “macchiato” means “stained coffee” in Italian, signifying the small amount of frothed milk that marks the espresso.

This beverage is smaller than a latte, typically around 150 ml (5 oz). Created in Italy during the 1980s, a macchiato offers a strong and bold flavour due to its minimal milk content.

The original recipe does not include sugar, making it powerful and intense for coffee lovers.

The History Behind Macchiato

The macchiato was created in Italy during the 1980s. Its name means “stained coffee”. This drink combines espresso with a small amount of frothed milk. Traditionally, baristas use just enough milk to leave a mark or stain on the espresso.

Starbucks introduced variations like the caramel macchiato to offer new flavours. Unlike traditional recipes, these versions often resemble lattes due to more milk and sweet syrups.

Different cafes may have their own takes, but all stay true to the essence of staining strong coffee with just a splash of milk.

Key Differences Between a Latte and Macchiato

To understand the key differences between a latte and a macchiato, refer to the table below. Each drink has unique features that set them apart in flavour, texture, and presentation.

StrengthMilder, more steamed milkStronger, more espresso, more caffeine
Ingredients RatioHigher proportion of hot milk to espressoMore espresso, less milk
SizeLarger, typically 8 oz/240 ml or moreSmaller, around 5 oz/150 ml
MilkMore steamed milk with a small layer of foamLess milk, just a dash to “stain” the espresso
FlavourSmoother, creamier, milder espresso tasteBolder, more pronounced espresso flavour
Common VariationsFlavoured lattes (e.g., vanilla, caramel)Caramel macchiato, latte macchiato

Each aspect highlights how a latte leans towards a milkier and smoother beverage, while a macchiato delivers a more robust and intense experience.

Additional Insights on Latte and Macchiato

Coffee lovers often debate between macchiatos and lattes. Each drink has unique flavours and preparations.

Comparing the Strength: Latte vs Macchiato

Latte and macchiato differ significantly in strength, flavour, and caffeine content. Below is a comparison to help you understand these key differences…

Espresso ContentOne shotMore espresso
MilkSteamed milk and foamJust a tiny bit of frothed milk
CaffeineLower caffeineHigher caffeine
FlavourMilder flavourStrong espresso flavour
Calories (8 oz)13-18 calories13-18 calories
HealthHigher sugar contentHealthier without sugar

Nutritional Comparison: Latte vs Macchiato

When comparing the nutritional aspects of a Latte versus a Macchiato, there are clear distinctions:

Nutritional AspectLatteMacchiato
Calories (8 oz.)120-15013-18
Milk ContentMore steamed milkLess milk
Sugar Content (No added)Higher due to milkMinimal
Sugar Content (1 tsp added)135-165 calories15-20 calories
Fat ContentHigher (more milk)Lower
Protein Content6-8 grams1-2 grams
Caffeine Content75-150 mg80-150 mg

Lattes contain significantly more steamed milk. This raises the calorie count but also provides more protein. Macchiatos, with minimal milk, maintain fewer calories, especially when unsweetened. Adding sugar to either alters their nutritional profiles, but the macchiato remains lighter.

Popular Variations: Caramel Macchiato and Flavoured Lattes

Caramel macchiatos and flavoured lattes are two popular coffee variations. Each one offers unique tastes.

Caramel Macchiato

  • Uses an espresso shot.Includes vanilla syrup at the bottom of the cup.Adds steamed milk with a layer of foam.Finishes with caramel drizzle on top.

Flavoured Lattes

  • Start with a base of caffe latte.Include various syrups like vanilla, hazelnut, or pumpkin spice.Offer seasonal flavours such as gingerbread during holidays.

Both drinks provide different experiences and cater to varied preferences in coffee shops.

Choosing Between Latte and Macchiato

If you prefer a milder taste, go for a latte. It has more steamed milk and only one shot of espresso. This makes it creamy and smooth. Lattes also come in sizes from 8 to 16 ounces, so you can pick what fits your need.

For a stronger coffee flavour, the macchiato is the better choice. A macchiato has more espresso and less milk compared to a latte. It offers a bolder taste with higher caffeine content due to more espresso shots.


Choosing between a latte and a macchiato depends on your taste. Lattes have more milk, giving them a creamy texture. Macchiatos are stronger and bolder due to less milk. Both drinks can be enjoyed hot or iced according to preference.

Try caramel macchiato for added sweetness if you like variety in your coffee experience. Explore different flavours and find what suits you best!

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