Macchiato vs Latte

9 min read MAY 05, 2022

When you walk into your local coffee shop or make your morning coffee at home, it’s helpful to know the differences between each type of coffee. 

There are many different types of coffee, ranging from macchiatos to americanos, cappuccinos, lattes, and many more. This makes knowing the differences between them very confusing.

So, what’s the difference between a macchiato and a latte? In this article, we discuss macchiato versus latte, macchiato vs coffee, and an in-depth explanation of them.

After reading this article, you’ll be an expert at making your coffee at home or ordering your preferred coffee at your local coffee shop. 

What this article covers:

Difference Between Macchiato and Latte

The macchiato and latte both originate from Italy. However, they’re different drinks with their own unique flavor and texture. 

Macchiato is a similar beverage to espresso as it shares strong bold flavors, while a latte has a creamy texture with some containing flavored syrups. Let’s take a look at the basic differences between these two drinks.

Macchiato Versus Latte


latte vs macchiato

A latte can be served either hot or cold. 

A hot latte is creamy and topped with milky foam. To make a hot latte, simply combine espresso with steamed milk, and then top it off with a layer of foam. 

To make an iced latte, combine espresso with cold milk, and then pour it over ice. This creates a cool, creamy beverage.

When you translate the term “cafe latte” it means “coffee with milk.” While macchiatos are more similar to espressos in terms of flavor, lattes often have a pleasant, milky taste. This is why lattes come in different varieties of flavors.

An authentic Italian latte has rich notes of espresso with creamy milk. However, in the United States, lattes come in many different flavors and varieties.

Some flavors of lattes include vanilla, chai, chocolate, and caramel. You can also use milk alternatives like soy, almond, and oat milk.


difference between macchiato and latte

In Italian, ‘macchiato’ means ‘stained’ or ‘marked.’ Macchiatos are now commonly known as “espresso macchiatos.” 

An espresso macchiato is an espresso with a small amount of steamed milk added, and foam on top. The flavor of espresso in this drink is bold and strong, but the milk that is added provides slight relief to the strength and texture. 

A macchiato has a strong flavor, but the size of the coffee is small, averaging between two to four fluid ounces.

A macchiato should be mostly espresso with a dash of warm milk or heavy cream added to it. 

It's important to use the highest quality espresso beans. This helps bring out the coffee flavor of the beverage, which is what makes the macchiato.

Lifeboost coffee has some great low acid, dark roast coffee beans that make an excellent authentic macchiato coffee.

difference between latte and macchiato

Macchiato vs Coffee

People sometimes get caught up on the distinction between macchiato and espresso, when, in reality, there isn’t really one. Since macchiato has to have espresso, they’re more or less the same, only one has textured milk. 

However, the difference between macchiato and coffee is more noticeable.

A macchiato is a unique espresso drink because it usually contains high-quality, premium espresso. Because of this, macchiatos are incredibly creamy, rich, and smooth.

So, what is coffee? Regular coffee is a beverage that’s brewed with boiling water. It consists of coffee beans that have already been roasted and ground.

Coffee has a slightly acidic and bitter taste. It’s also known to have health benefits, but it's mainly known for its caffeine content.

The word ‘macchiato’ originates from baristas needing to show waiters the difference between an espresso and an espresso that has a bit of milk added to it.

So instead of ordering just a “regular” coffee when you go to a restaurant, you can now order the correct beverage as you will know the right terminology to use.

What Should I Choose: Latte or Macchiato?

what is the difference between a latte and a macchiato

Are you wondering whether to choose a latte or a macchiato? Making a decision depends on what kind of flavor you prefer and whether you are in the mood for a stronger coffee or a milkier one.  

Your location also plays a role in your decision because macchiatos and lattes are slightly different in each country.

In America, there isn’t a big difference between a macchiato and a latte. A macchiato in America has a little bit less flavoring to it, but still usually has the same amount of milk as a latte because the same size cup is used. 

In America, this is sometimes considered a “latte macchiato” rather than a traditional macchiato because of the ratio of milk.  

In Europe, macchiatos and lattes might look different from those in America. 

Ordering a latte in Italy will just get you a glass of milk. There is no coffee or espresso in it and it’s not even steamed. You may as well be ordering a plain glass of milk.

Ultimately, If you feel like having an indulgent flavored coffee, then a latte may be the right option for you. Lattes are also a great choice if you prefer a weaker, more milky coffee.

If you enjoy drinking espresso but need to cut the edge slightly and try something a bit less bitter, then a macchiato is the perfect option to try.

What's a “Macchiato Latte”

what's the difference between a latte and a macchiato

Apart from the original versions of these two drinks, another beverage, called the ‘latte macchiato,’ also exists. 

Instead of containing mostly espresso, this drink is made with mostly steamed milk. However, it shouldn't be confused with a latte, because a macchiato latte has less milk, and involves more of a technique.

To make a macchiato latte, you need to steam a large amount of milk, and then add shots of espresso. 

With this beverage, the espresso marks the milk. You must pour the espresso slowly over the milk. This will create layers of espresso and milk within the drink. 

This type of macchiato is similar to a latte, except for the slow pouring of the espresso and the layers that are created.

Is a Macchiato Stronger Than a Latte

A macchiato is stronger than a latte, it offers more bold flavors and caffeine.

A latte contains more milk, which is why the strength of flavor is weaker than a macchiato. 

So what's the difference between espresso and macchiato? Macchiatos are known for their strong, bold flavors because a macchiato is essentially an espresso, with a small amount of milk added.

Difference Between Latte and Latte Macchiato

what is the difference between a macchiato and a latte

Latte macchiato is different than a latte in many ways. 

In a latte macchiato, the espresso is added to the milk, whereas with a latte, the milk is added to the espresso. 

A latte macchiato contains more foam whereas a latte has more hot milk. 

A latte macchiato usually contains only half an espresso shot or less, and, a latte macchiato has layers, whereas a latte is mixed.

With a latte, the emphasis is on the coffee, and in a latte macchiato, the emphasis is on the milk.

Macchiatos have a little "spot" of crèma on top of the milk to distinguish them from a macchiato. The Macchiato latte, therefore, has this spot on top whereas a regular latte does not.

Macchiato vs Latte Caffeine

A small latte typically has around 80mg of caffeine and a large 16-ounce (475-ml) latte contains about 173 mg of caffeine.

Meanwhile, a 2-ounce (60-ml) macchiato has about half as much caffeine, with a little over 85 mg per serving.

Although the caffeine content can be quite high in a latte, its weaker taste comes from the fact that it contains a lot more milk.

Drinks Similar to Macchiato

There are many different types of coffees to choose from. From cortado to americano, to flat white and frappuccino, it’s important to know the differences.

The difference between a cortado and macchiato is that although they are both small drinks made by combining milk with espresso, a macchiato is a shot of espresso with foamed milk floating on top and a cortado is a double shot of espresso made with an equal amount of steamed milk.

When we look at an americano vs a macchiato, an americano is made with hot water and espresso, while a macchiato is made with milk and espresso. 

An americano is slightly stronger and has a more bitter flavor than a macchiato, which is why milk is normally added to a macchiato to soften the flavor.

A flat white is one part espresso to four parts milk, topped with a layer of microfoam. A macchiato is two parts espresso to one part milk. Therefore, the difference between a flat white and a macchiato is essentially the ratio of espresso to milk.

A frappuccino is an icy, blended beverage that sometimes contains espresso but always contains some form of milk and sweeteners. Sweeteners can include flavored syrup, sugar, whipped cream, chocolate chips, etc. Therefore, the difference between frappuccino and macchiato is quite large.

difference between a latte and a macchiato

Using some of Lifeboost’s Mocha Caramel Latte Beans not only gives you a delicious cup of coffee no matter what style you choose, but it also cuts down the preparation time needed to make it. There’s no more stirring, foaming, and fiddling. Simply brew the coffee, add the milk, and you’re good to go.

Key Takeaways

Essentially, the biggest differences between lattes vs macchiatos are the ratio of milk to espresso and how these beverages are made. 

Macchiatos are similar to espresso with their strong, bold flavors, while a latte is a weaker, more milky beverage.

Because of the different ratios, the caffeine content may vary. 

Therefore, whether you decide to order from a coffee shop or make your own at home, it all comes down to your personal taste and preferences.

Some may say that a macchiato is a perfect beverage to drink as part of your morning routine, while a latte is better to enjoy at a coffee shop with friends. Both of these options, however, can be an excellent choice for any occasion. It all depends on how milky and frothy you prefer your coffee to be.

Whichever option you decide to try, making your own at home is a great way to experiment with different coffee beans and flavors, so that you can make it the way you like.

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