June 26


Macchiato vs. Latte: What’s the difference?

By Hanson Cheng

June 26, 2023

If you’re a fan of coffee, you might have come across some fancy-sounding drinks on the menu including macchiatos and lattes. While these two beverages might seem similar, they are actually different in many ways. If you’re confused about which one to order next time you’re at a coffee shop, this article aims to provide a clear understanding of the differences between a macchiato and a latte. From their preparation methods to taste profiles, let’s dive into the ultimate guide to Macchiato vs. Latte.

Overview Of Macchiato and Latte

When it comes to coffee drinks, Macchiato and Latte are two of the most commonly confused options. Both are espresso-based drinks, and both are topped with milk. However, the way the milk is prepared and served makes all the difference. A Macchiato is a shot of espresso with a small amount of steamed milk and a dollop of foam on top. It is usually served in a small cup, and the emphasis is on the espresso flavor.

On the other hand, a Latte is made with a shot of espresso topped with steamed milk and a thin layer of foam. It is served in a larger cup and is a creamier and milder drink compared to Macchiato. The main difference between the two drinks is the amount and type of milk they contain. Understanding the difference between these two drinks can help coffee lovers choose the perfect beverage to suit their tastes.

Ingredients Needed For Both


One of the most critical factors that differentiate Macchiato and Latte is the milk used in their preparation. Milk is an essential component in both drinks as it balances the strong espresso shot or serves as the main ingredient in the case of Latte. The milk used in the preparation of both drinks is usually steamed and aerated to create a velvety texture and a creamy mouthfeel that enhances the flavor of the coffee.

For Macchiato, a small amount of milk is added to espresso to create a layered drink and give it a more balanced taste. In contrast, Latte is a milk-based drink that contains espresso and a substantial amount of steamed milk. The texture of the milk used in Latte is also different from Macchiato as it is more aerated and less dense, resulting in a lighter and sweeter taste. A skilled barista knows how to steam and texture milk to achieve the desired taste and consistency for each drink, making the difference between a well-prepared Latte or Macchiato stark.


When it comes to coffee, flavorings can add a whole new dimension to a simple drink. From classic vanilla to more unique options such as lavender or coconut, there are endless ways to customize your beverage. However, it’s important to note that flavorings are not the same as syrups. While syrups are added to the drink to sweeten or flavor it, flavorings are often added to the milk before it is steamed to infuse the drink with a specific taste.

This means that the flavoring is not as concentrated as syrups but rather more subtle and nuanced. Additionally, it’s important to choose flavorings that complement the espresso and milk, rather than overpowering them. A well-chosen flavoring can enhance the overall taste of the drink without diminishing the natural flavors of the espresso and milk.

Available Variations


Iced coffee drinks are perfect for hot summer days or anytime when you want something refreshing and cooling. Both the macchiato and latte can be served iced, providing a delicious and satisfying alternative to a hot cup of coffee. Iced Macchiatos and lattes are made by adding ice to the cup before pouring the espresso and milk on top. Many coffee lovers prefer iced macchiatos because of their sweet caramel flavor while others opt for the latte for its smooth and creamy taste.

An iced caramel macchiato combines espresso with vanilla syrup, steamed milk, and caramel drizzle. This results in a sweet, rich flavor with a creamy and smooth texture from the milk. On the other hand, an iced latte combines espresso and chilled milk, making it an excellent choice for a refreshing and energizing drink.

The latte’s taste is milder than the macchiato, allowing the espresso to stand out more, but its smooth and velvety texture is what most drinkers crave. While iced coffee drinks can be enjoyed year-round, they are particularly satisfying during the hottest months. Whether you select the iced caramel macchiato or iced latte, either drink will deliver a cooling, invigorating jolt to help beat the summer heat.

Caramel Macchiato

Caramel macchiato is a coffee-based drink that is enjoyed by many coffee lovers around the world. It is a flavored variant of the traditional macchiato that incorporates caramel syrup and steamed milk into the mix. This drink is known for its distinct sweet taste and creamy texture and is a popular choice for those who like their coffee with a little bit of added sweetness. To make a caramel macchiato, a barista starts by adding caramel syrup to a cup, then steaming and frothing the milk before adding it to the cup. The barista then pours a shot of espresso over the top of the milk, creating a layered effect that adds a visual element to the drink.

The use of flavored syrups in coffee drinks has been a part of the coffee industry for many years. Caramel is just one of many flavor options that can be added to a coffee drink to enhance its taste. Other popular flavor options include vanilla, hazelnut, mocha, and pumpkin spice. In addition to their unique taste, flavored coffee drinks are also known for their aromatic qualities, which can influence the overall experience of the drink.

While caramel macchiato and caffe latte are similar in terms of their base ingredients, there are some key differences between the two drinks. Caramel macchiato uses caramel syrup and has a sweeter taste, while latte is a more traditional coffee drink that is made with espresso and steamed milk. Additionally, caramel macchiato is typically served in a glass, while latte is served in a mug. The differences in presentation and taste make these two drinks distinct from one another, with each having its own unique attributes.

Overall, caramel macchiato is a delicious coffee drink that is enjoyed by many. Its unique blend of flavors and creamy texture make it a favorite among coffee lovers, and its popularity is only increasing with the rise of specialty coffee shops around the world. Whether you prefer the traditional flavors of latte or the sweetness of caramel, there’s no denying that there is a coffee drink out there for everyone.

Caffe Latte

Caffe Latte is one of the most popular coffee drinks in the world. It is made with espresso and steamed milk, with a small layer of foam on top. The name “latte” comes from the italian word “caffè latte,” which means “milk coffee.” The key to a great latte is in the milk froth. To create the correct texture, the milk is heated and then aerated using a steam wand. The resulting foam is then poured over the espresso shot, which creates a layer of foam, or crema, on top of the drink. One of the reasons why the latte is so popular is its versatility.

It can be made with a variety of syrups and flavors, such as vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut, which makes it a perfect choice for those who enjoy a sweeter coffee. Although the latte is often seen as a light and simple coffee, it is actually one of the most complex drinks to make. Achieving the perfect combination of espresso and milk requires skill and attention to detail. As a result, baristas who specialize in making lattes are highly respected in the coffee industry.


Key Points

Macchiato and latte are two popular coffee drinks that are often confused with each other. The main difference between the two is the amount of milk and foam that is added to the espresso. Macchiato, which means spotted or stained in Italian, is a shot of espresso with a small dollop of foamed milk on top. It is a strong and bold coffee that is perfect for those who love a strong coffee taste. Latte, on the other hand, is made with steamed milk and a small layer of foam on top of the espresso shot. It is a milder coffee that is perfect for those who prefer a creamier taste.

When it comes to the preference between the two, it all comes down to individual taste and personal preference. Some people prefer the strong taste of macchiato while others prefer the creaminess of latte. Ultimately, the choice between the two drinks comes down to what you prefer and what type of coffee experience you are looking for.


When it comes to coffee, everyone has their unique taste preferences. Some people prefer a strong espresso shot, while others prefer a richer and creamier espresso-based drink. With macchiato and latte being two of the most popular espresso-based drinks, it’s no surprise that coffee lovers often find themselves torn between the two. The macchiato is a small-sized coffee drink that consists of a shot of espresso with a dollop of foamed milk on top.

On the other hand, the latte is a larger sized drink that typically consists of one or two shots of espresso, steamed milk, and a thin layer of foamed milk on the surface. When it comes to the strength of the coffee, the macchiato is the winner as it has a more concentrated flavor due to the single shot of espresso. Alternatively, the latte may be a better option for individuals who prefer a creamier taste as it is made up of more steamed milk. Ultimately, the choice between macchiato and latte comes down to personal preference, and it’s essential to try both to determine which one suits you best.

Final Thoughts

The difference between a macchiato and a latte may seem small but can have a significant impact on your coffee experience. Whether you prefer bold and concentrated flavors or a more balanced taste, choosing the right drink can make all the difference. A macchiato is a shot of espresso with a small amount of foam on top, while a latte is a combination of steamed milk and espresso. Preferences for these two drinks can vary based on personal taste, availability, and even cultural norms. Ultimately, it comes down to what you enjoy the most.

Macchiato vs. Latte: What’s the difference – FAQs

1. What is a macchiato?

A macchiato is an espresso-based drink that typically consists of a single or double shot of espresso and a small amount of foamed milk on top. It’s known for its rich, bold coffee flavor with a hint of sweetness from the added milk.

2. What is a latte?

A latte is an espresso-based drink that typically consists of a single or double shot of espresso and steamed milk. It’s known for its creamy texture and milder coffee flavor compared to other espresso-based drinks.

3. What is the difference between a latte and macchiato?

The main difference between a latte and macchiato is the amount of milk added. A latte has more steamed milk compared to a macchiato, which usually has a small amount of foamed milk. This makes a latte creamier and milder in flavor, while a macchiato has a bolder coffee taste.

4. Can you add flavorings to a latte or macchiato?

Yes, both lattes and macchiatos can be customized with flavorings such as vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut syrup. This is typically added before the steamed milk and espresso shots are poured, giving the drink an additional flavor boost.

5. Is a macchiato stronger than a latte?

In terms of caffeine content, both macchiatos and lattes have the same amount of espresso shots, making them equally strong. However, due to the difference in milk amounts, a macchiato has a bolder coffee flavor compared to a latte, which is creamier and milder in taste.

6. Which drink is best for someone who prefers a stronger coffee flavor?

For those who prefer a stronger coffee flavor, a macchiato would be the better choice. Its espresso-forward taste with a hint of foamed milk provides a more robust coffee experience compared to a latte, which has a creamier, milder taste.

Hanson Cheng

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