Cappuccino vs Macchiato

10 min read MAY 05, 2022

The cappuccino vs macchiato: are they the same? Both of these drinks use espresso as the base and they can be difficult to differentiate if you don’t know your stuff. 

The taste, look, and ingredients are all similar, so what makes them different? Are there even any differences? 

In this article, we go through the differences between a cappuccino and a macchiato. 

We’ll also take cover the various differences between a cappuccino and a whole array of various coffees so you never get confused again. 

Latte vs cappuccino vs macchiato, espresso vs macchiato, the difference between cappuccino and latte macchiato, dry cappuccino vs macchiato, and the differences between latte, macchiato, cappuccino, and frappuccino, by the end, you’ll be an expert.

Even though they may sound similar, some subtle differences can help you tell them apart.

What this article covers:

Latte vs Cappuccino vs Macchiato

latte vs cappuccino vs macchiato

Knowing the similarities and differences between a latte, cappuccino, and macchiato can be extremely helpful.

They may sound similar and have some of the same ingredients, but the ratio of milk and how they’re made makes a big difference to the taste and texture.

Latte vs Latte Macchiato

A latte macchiato and a classic latte (also known as a ‘caffè latte’) have the same two ingredients. These ingredients are milk and espresso. 

It’s how the beverages are made that makes each drink unique. 

Latte macchiato is a latte with an espresso base. The drink is made with mostly steamed milk instead of the majority being espresso. 

A macchiato latte has less milk than a caffe latte and involves more steps. To make a macchiato latte, you need to steam a large amount of milk and then add shots of espresso. 

When you pour the espresso slowly over the milk, this creates a mark in the milk. A latte macchiato is distinguished by its layers of espresso and milk within the drink. 

Milk Difference Between Macchiato and Cappuccino

Coffee is usually a combination of milk foam, steamed milk, and espresso. 

To make milk foam, you need to whip steamed milk to incorporate air and give it the necessary bubbles and foam. 

Cappuccinos consist of equal ratios of milk foam, steamed milk, and espresso. Cappuccinos have a milkier taste compared to a macchiato. 

Cappuccinos still have an espresso taste, but their flavor is less bold than a macchiato which is perfect for those who dislike the bolder taste of macchiatos.

A macchiato only consists of espresso and steamed milk. There’s a lot of espresso within the drink and usually a thin layer or even a dash of milk on the top. Macchiatos normally come in smaller cups, since they only need to hold the espresso and a dash of milk.

macchiato vs latte vs cappuccino

What’s in an Espresso vs a Macchiato?

The difference between an espresso and a macchiato is that a macchiato is an espresso, but with a small amount of steamed milk added, and foam on top. 

Macchiatos are commonly known as “espresso macchiatos.” This is because macchiatos are made mostly from espresso. 

In Italian, ‘macchiato’ means ‘marked.’ An espresso macchiato is named this because of the mark that forms on the surface of the coffee when you add steamed milk.

Espresso has a strong, bold flavor, and when you add milk to it, it makes the taste slightly weaker and less bitter. This is great for someone who is looking for a slightly weaker version of espresso, but something not too milky. 

A macchiato is also served in a demitasse as it’s mostly espresso with a dash of warm milk or heavy cream, so there’s no need for a larger cup. 

Difference Between Cappuccino and Latte Macchiato

A latte macchiato is different from a cappuccino, a latte, and a macchiato.

This drink is made using mostly steamed milk, instead of mostly espresso, and a macchiato latte has less milk than a latte.

To make a latte macchiato, you can use light roast coffee beans. Lifeboost coffee has a delicious range of these low-acid coffee beans.

You need to froth a large amount of warmed milk, and then add your espresso into the warm frothy milk. 

The espresso leaves a mark in the milk. You should pour the espresso slowly over the milk. By doing this, you will create layers of frothy milk and espresso.

A cappuccino is different from a latte macchiato as it contains equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. If it doesn’t have equal parts of these three ingredients, then it’s not a cappuccino.

A cappuccino has a softer taste compared to come other espresso drinks because it contains a lot of milk. Cappuccinos are similar to latte macchiatos because of the smooth, velvety texture that comes from the milk foam. 

The order in which the ingredients are added to the coffee is different from a latte macchiato. 

The espresso is added first and the milk foam is added last, whereas, with a latte macchiato, it is the other way around. A cappuccino is made like this so that the drinker gets a sip of the espresso and milk foam at the same time.

Espresso vs Latte vs Cappuccino vs Macchiato

macchiato vs cappuccino vs latte

There are many different types of coffee to choose from. You may be wondering about the differences between espresso vs latte, flat white vs macchiato, or cappuccino vs macchiato.

Let’s take a look at espresso vs latte vs cappuccino vs macchiato and the differences between them.


Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee. It’s served in small, strong shots and is used as the base for most coffee beverages. It uses the same beans as coffee but is stronger, thicker, and has higher caffeine content. However, because espresso is usually served in smaller cups than coffee, it has less caffeine per serving.


A latte is made with a single or double shot of espresso as the base of the drink. A latte differs from an espresso because it is combined with several ounces of steamed milk. This creates a rich, creamy beverage that has a more subtle espresso taste than an espresso. The ratio for espresso to steamed milk is typically about 1-to-2.

The difference between a macchiato and a latte is the ratio of milk. Latte has more milk than a macchiato.


cappuccino vs latte vs macchiato

As we already know, a cappuccino contains equal amounts of milk, espresso, and milk foam. A cappuccino is not as milky as a latte, but not as strong as espresso. It’s the perfect in-between beverage. If you are looking for a drink with a bit of milk, espresso, and foam, then this is for you.

So, if we have an espresso that contains no milk, a latte that has a lot of milk, and a cappuccino that has equal amounts of espresso and milk, then what is a macchiato and how is it different? 


A macchiato is more similar to espresso as the majority of the drink is espresso, however, the difference between a macchiato and espresso is that the macchiato has a small amount of milk added to it, just to break the strong flavor of the espresso. Therefore, a macchiato would be almost between an espresso and a cappuccino or latte.

The main difference between all four of these coffee beverages is the ratio of milk to espresso. This is what gives the drinks different flavors and textures. How they are made can also play a role in making them different.

What is a Dry Cappuccino vs a Macchiato?

latte vs macchiato vs cappuccino

Getting the term right when ordering coffee is important. Whether you’re ordering a macchiato, a latte, or a cappuccino, these descriptive terms are what you need to get the drink you’re expecting. 

This is especially true for cappuccino drinks because believe it or not, you get different types of cappuccinos. The two key terms you need to know when it comes to cappuccinos, are "wet" and "dry." 

“Wet" cappuccino is more creamy because it contains more steamed milk, whereas a "dry" cappuccino contains more frothed milk. 

A wet cappuccino may be slightly sweeter because of the steamed milk. The steamed milk helps to dilute the bitter espresso. Dry cappuccino is more bitter because it contains frothed milk instead of steamed.

The foam in a dry cappuccino keeps it more insulated, so it stays hotter for longer. Both wet and dry cappuccinos sometimes come with art on top of the foam.

A more complex cappuccino is "bone dry." This type of cappuccino is made with only espresso and foam and contains no steamed milk at all. A bone dry cappuccino might take longer to prepare because a large amount of foam needs to be created.

You can also ask for a "super wet" cappuccino. This is simply a latte since it consists of espresso and a lot of steamed milk.

What About Frappuccino?

So, we now know what a latte, cappuccino, and macchiato are, but what is a frappuccino?

A frappuccino is a blended iced coffee drink. This coffee usually has a coffee or crème base that is blended with ice and contains ingredients like flavors, syrups, spices, and whipped cream. 

difference between latte cappuccino and macchiato

Frappuccinos are different from other coffee drinks as they are far more sweet and indulgent. They are very similar to iced coffee.

A traditional frappuccino has blended coffee, similar to an iced coffee. Because of how many other ingredients come in this drink, it’s a favorite among those who don’t like a strong coffee flavor.

Just like a latte, cappuccino, and macchiato, a frappuccino is made with caffeinated coffee beans. However, you can get a Frappuccino without coffee. 

If you compare a frappuccino to a macchiato, they are completely different. The main difference between a frappuccino and macchiato is that one is hot and the other is blended.

They also have completely different flavors. A frappuccino is sweet and the macchiato is stronger and more bitter.

You can ask for your frappuccino to have a coffee-free base, or you can make your own at home without coffee, however, it’s a popular choice to opt for one with coffee.

Espresso and macchiato do not come flavored, however, frappuccinos are similar to lattes in the sense that they both can be made with flavored syrups such as vanilla, caramel, or mocha. Flavored beverages, however, sometimes contain less caffeine.

If you want to skip the syrup, try out our Caramel Macchiato Coffee Beans to take your brew to the next level. You get all the bold and complex flavors of a perfectly blended caramel macchiato, but you avoid the sugary syrups and all the hassle involved.

latte cappuccino macchiato

You may also wonder, what's the difference between iced vanilla latte vs iced caramel macchiato? The differences are in the flavor, the ratio of milk, and how they are made.

Key Takeaways

If you’re ordering an espresso drink at your local coffee shop, a cappuccino or a macchiato is always a good choice. They’re similar, however, if you want a balance of espresso, milk, and foam, then a cappuccino will be the perfect, smooth drink to go for. 

If you’re in the mood for something a little stronger, go ahead and order a macchiato, and if you’re not feeling like any milk in your coffee and are craving a strong, bold caffeinated drink, an espresso will be the right option for you.

If you decide to make these at home, a macchiato may be easier as making milk foam is surprisingly not as easy as it sounds.

For those who are craving a sweet and indulgent coffee drink, a latte or frappuccino is the perfect mix of coffee and sweet flavors. You can even choose from flavors like vanilla, caramel, or mocha to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Whichever option you decide to choose, knowing the differences and similarities between these common types of coffee will be a great help in ensuring you get exactly what you’re looking for.

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