June 22


The Ultimate Guide on How to Order a Macchiato Like a Pro

By Hanson Cheng

June 22, 2023

If you’re a coffee lover, then you’ve probably heard of the classic Italian drink, the Macchiato. Directly translated as “stained” or “marked,” the Macchiato is essentially an espresso shot with a small dollop of steamed milk on top. While this popular coffee drink may seem simple, there are certain tricks to ordering it like a pro. Whether you’re a seasoned coffee drinker or a curious newbie, here are some valuable tips for ordering a Macchiato like a pro.

Introduction To Macchiato

A Macchiato is an Italian espresso-based drink that typically consists of a double shot of espresso and a dollop of steamed milk on top. The term “macchiato” translates to “stained” or “marked” in Italian, referring to the small stain of milk on top of the espresso. The Macchiato is a relatively simple drink compared to other espresso-based beverages, making it a popular choice for coffee aficionados who prefer a less complicated drink. However, there are several types of Macchiatos that you should be familiar with, including the traditional Macchiato and the Latte Macchiato. Understanding the key differences between these varieties will help you to order like a pro and get the perfect Macchiato every time.

Types of Macchiatos

In the world of coffee, macchiatos stand out for their unique flavor and presentation. There are various types of macchiatos available in coffee shops across the world. The most popular types of macchiatos are the traditional caramel macchiato, the latte macchiato, and the espresso macchiato. Caramel macchiato is a combination of vanilla syrup, steamed milk, espresso, and caramel drizzle. It is a sweet and creamy drink that is perfect for coffee lovers with a sweet tooth.

Latte macchiato is a milk-heavy drink that is the opposite of caramel macchiato. It is made of espresso layered with steamed milk and frothed milk, creating a rich and velvety texture. Espresso macchiato is a simple espresso shot with a dollop of steamed milk on the top. It is a harsh drink that is perfect for those who prefer a strong coffee flavor. These types of macchiatos are all unique in their own right, and each offers a different experience to coffee drinkers.

Tips for Ordering

Know the Lingo

Understanding the language used in coffee shops is essential when ordering a Macchiato like a pro. Here are some important terms to know:

1. Macchiato: This Italian word means “stained” or “spotted,” and refers to a small amount of milk that is added to espresso.

2. Espresso: A concentrated coffee beverage that is made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans.

3. Steamed Milk: Milk that has been heated and mixed with air to create a creamy texture.

4. Foam: The layer of bubbles that forms on top of steamed milk.

5. Cappuccino: A coffee drink that is made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam.

6. Latte: A coffee drink that is made with espresso and steamed milk, and typically has more milk than foam.

7. Flat White: A coffee drink that is similar to a latte, but has less milk and more espresso.

8. Americano: A coffee drink that is made by adding hot water to espresso.

By understanding these terms, you can confidently order a Macchiato to your liking and even experiment with customizations to create a drink that perfectly suits your taste preferences.

Specify Your Milk

One important aspect of ordering a Macchiato like a pro is to specify the type of milk that you prefer. When it comes to Macchiatos, there are several types of milk that you can choose from, each offering its unique taste and texture. For example, if you want a creamier taste, you may want to opt for whole milk, while those who prefer a lighter taste can go for skim milk. Similarly, if you are lactose intolerant, you can choose soy milk as it is lactose-free.

Another popular option is almond milk, which is a great dairy-free alternative. It has a nutty flavor that can add an extra dimension to your Macchiato, making it a great choice for those who want to enjoy a unique and tasty coffee. You can also choose oat milk, which is becoming increasingly popular among coffee lovers, thanks to its unique flavor and texture.

It is crucial to remember that the type of milk you choose can impact the overall taste of your Macchiato, so it is essential to choose wisely based on your preferences. By specifying your milk, you can ensure that you get the perfect Macchiato that suits your taste, making it an enjoyable coffee experience.

Size Matters

When ordering a macchiato, selecting the right size is crucial to ensure you have a satisfying coffee experience. Macchiatos are typically served in three sizes: short, tall, and grande. A short macchiato contains a single shot of espresso and a dollop of milk foam, while a tall macchiato contains two shots of espresso and a dollop of foam, and a grande macchiato contains three shots of espresso and a larger dollop of foam.

If you prefer a stronger coffee taste, opt for a short macchiato, but if you want a larger drink with a more balanced flavor, a tall or grande macchiato may be more suitable. Keep in mind that macchiatos are espresso-based, so they pack a strong caffeine punch regardless of size. Thus, when ordering your macchiato, make sure to specify the size of your drink to ensure that you get what you want.

Sweeten the Deal

The final step in creating the perfect Macchiato is adding sweeteners to your drink. This step enables you to fine-tune the taste according to your preference. Sweeteners can elevate the overall taste of your Macchiato and can add a pleasant aroma to your drink. Some people prefer their Macchiato unsweetened, while others prefer adding various sweeteners such as vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut syrup to their drink.

It is essential to specify the type and amount of sweetener you want to be added to your Macchiato to avoid any miscommunications with the barista. Understanding the language used in coffee shops can help you specify your sweetener accurately. You can ask for a double shot of espresso and a pump of syrup if you prefer a mildly sweet taste, or two pumps of syrup for a sweeter taste. Make sure to stir the sweetener well to ensure consistent flavor throughout the drink.

Customize Your Order

Customizing your Macchiato order is an excellent way to get exactly what you want out of your coffee shop experience. You may prefer a certain type of milk, a specific sweetener, or even an extra shot of espresso. Fortunately, most baristas are happy to accommodate your requests. If you aren’t sure what options are available to you, don’t be afraid to ask. Some coffee shops even have a menu that lists all the modifications and add-ons you can include in your drink.

When customizing your order, be sure to specify exactly what you want. For example, if you want almond milk instead of regular milk, say “almond milk” rather than simply saying “milk substitute.” The clearer you are about your modifications, the more likely you are to get the drink you want. Remember that customizing your order may take a little longer for the barista to prepare, so be patient and enjoy the process.


Ordering a macchiato like a pro can seem daunting at first, but with practice, you can master the art of ordering this delicious espresso beverage. Just like learning any new skill, practice makes perfect, and ordering macchiatos is no exception. Experimenting with different variations of macchiatos and trying out new cafes can help you become more confident in ordering your favorite beverage.

Additionally, taking note of the terminology used by baristas and studying the anatomy of a macchiato can give you the vocabulary and knowledge you need to communicate your preferences effectively. Asking questions and seeking recommendations from experienced baristas can also provide valuable insights and tips for ordering like a pro. Remember that everyone starts somewhere, and don’t be discouraged by the occasional misstep – even the most experienced macchiato aficionados had to start somewhere.

Tips for ordering a Macchiato like a pro – FAQs

1. What is a Macchiato?

A macchiato is a shot of espresso topped with a small amount of steamed milk and foam. It can be served hot or cold and is typically enjoyed as a morning or mid-day pick-me-up.

2. How do I order a Macchiato like a pro?

When ordering a macchiato, it’s important to be specific with your preferences. Specify whether you want a hot or cold macchiato, how many shots of espresso you prefer, the type of milk used for steaming, and the amount of foam desired.

3. What are some common variations of a Macchiato?

Some variations of a macchiato include the caramel macchiato, which adds caramel syrup to the shot of espresso, and the latte macchiato, which is made with more milk and less espresso.

4. Is there a specific way to drink a Macchiato?

Traditionally, a macchiato is sipped slowly in small amounts to fully appreciate the strong espresso flavor. However, there is no specific way to drink a macchiato – it can be consumed at any pace or in any way that is enjoyable to the drinker.

5. Can a Macchiato be customized?

Yes, a macchiato can be customized to suit individual preferences. This can include altering the number of espresso shots, type of milk used for steaming, and adding flavor syrups or sweeteners.

6. How is a Macchiato different from other espresso drinks?

A macchiato differs from other espresso drinks, such as a latte or cappuccino, in that it has a higher ratio of espresso to milk. It also has less milk and typically only a small amount of foam, making it a stronger and bolder option for espresso lovers.

Hanson Cheng

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