Macchiato vs Latte: Similarities & Differences In Your Favorite Coffee Drinks

machiatto vs latte

Imagine coming home after a rough day at work.

In fact, it was a terrible day and your energy was completely drained.

What you need at the moment is a rant session with a good listener at your favorite coffee shop!

Now, you’re sitting at the corner of your nearby coffee shop, detailing everything that happened to your mate and the waiter brings you the menu.

Oh man, it has just two options available, which of course are two of the most popular coffee drinks ever; macchiato and latte.

But wait, aren’t they the same?

If not, then latte vs Macchiato, what are the differences?

For people who are often confused about whether to have macchiato or latte, this article brings you an in-depth guide on both.

It explores the key differences between the two so that the next time you go to your favorite coffee shop, you’ll know exactly what you’re ordering.

Macchiato vs Latte: What’s the Difference?

What is a Latte?

A latte, which is popularly known as caffe latte (coffee milk), is a rich, creamy Italian espresso that is prepared using steamed milk and fresh shots of espresso.

In Italian, caffè Latte means milk coffee, and they are usually topped with whipped cream, milk foam, and frothed cream.

The varieties

The taste of classic latte is slightly different from country to country.

For instance, a French latte has at least twice the shots of espresso and is termed Café au Lait.

However, a German latte is simply milked coffee and called Milchkaffee.

The traditional lattes in Italy are usually basic, rich in espresso and milk cream whereas the American latte includes a wide range of ingredients, which gives them a variety of flavors.

Some of these ingredients include; sweet syrups, caramel, chocolate, and flavored milk.

The Nutritional Content of Lattes

The nutritional value of a latte coffee usually depends on its composite ingredients.

Let’s say you’re having a genuine Italian latte that is unsweetened and has a huge quantity of steamed milk.

So, it isn’t any worse than a few cups of hot milk.

On the other hand, lattes made with sugary syrups, caramel, and other sweets have a high caloric content and may be unhealthy if taken in excess.

A fairly sweet latte with low-fat milk is, however, a healthier option to consume.

Skim milk, almond milk, or coconut milk are some healthy options, as they enhance the nutritional content of your lattes.

As it relates to the caffeine content of your latte, it usually depends on the espresso shot and coffee beans used.

One shot of espresso has 75 milligrams of caffeine and a double shot of espresso will have twice the amount of espresso.

So, if you want to have some extra caffeine, you can increase the number of espresso shots.

In any coffee shop, have you ever had the server or cashier ask you whether you want a flat white or not?

A latte is topped with foamed milk, which is usually 5mm thick, whereas flat white is topped with a thin layer of foamed milk, which is around only 2 mm thick.

What is a Macchiato?

Now that you know about lattes, it is time for the second part of the story; the Macchiato!

It is a very confusing term among coffee lovers.

The word Macchiato has its origin in Italy and is loosely translated to marked.

It usually refers to a beverage composed of espresso in milk.

In simpler terms, a macchiato is a cup of espresso coffee marked with milk. It is usually made of mostly espresso than milk; however, it isn’t the case always.

The varieties

Depending on where you get them, Macchiatos are variably different.

For example, Starbucks’ caramel macchiato is steamed milk with espresso lined with caramel syrup on the top.

Whereas, other coffee brands may provide you with double espresso shots and a dash of milk in the name of Macchiato.

In general, a macchiato is an espresso with a splash of milk or sometimes heavy cream to balance it out.

Of note, the finest quality espresso beans ought to be used in macchiatos because it is these beans that are credited for imparting a certain taste to the beverage.

High-quality, premium espresso shots are what make Macchiatos exceptionally creamy, rich, and smooth.

In any case, if you don’t have espresso beans, you can use the best of the coffee beans that you have.

It might not give the characteristic taste of a macchiato but it will surely be a nice treat to your taste buds!

The quantity of steamed milk will also help to build the taste.

Is a macchiato the same as a latte macchiato?

This coffee drink is a real classic Italian beverage that has been adopted by many other countries.

Paying keen attention to the proportions used, a delectable latte macchiato is made by mixing delicious espresso with warm milk that’s been frothed to give a creamy mouthfeel.

Therefore, it is safe to say that a macchiato is not the same as a latte macchiato, since one uses milk that’s frothed and the other doesn’t.

It’s a slight difference but it makes a whole lot of change to the texture of latte macchiatos.

it’s not just a super-sized cappuccino, the technique and quantity of each ingredient also vary along with the layers.

Cappuccino vs Latte vs Macchiato

No doubt, these three drinks are quite similar, as they are all made primarily of coffee and milk, whether cold milk, warm frothy milk, or whole milk.

These popular drinks may be served in the same sized glass; however, they are not the same amount.

Regular coffee drinkers would know that:

  • a cappuccino uses 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 foamed milk.
  • a latte is made using 1/3 espresso at the bottom, and the rest is milk. Roughly 50% is steamed milk, and a layer of foamed milk makes up for the rest of the coffee.
  • a macchiato is made from 50% espresso and 50% steamed milk.

So, What is the Difference?

Since both of these coffee types have similar ingredients, how can one differentiate between the two? Well, the major difference lies in the quantity of the dominant ingredients.

For instance, a macchiato is an espresso with a small amount of steamed milk to subdue its powerful taste. Whereas, the latte has espresso shots combined with a creamy mouthful amount of steamed milk.

In simpler terms; latte is 1/3 espresso in 2/3 steamed milk but macchiato is 2/3 espresso and 1/3 steamed milk. So, a latte has more milk and a macchiato has more espresso and less milk.

Is a Latte or Macchiato Healthier?

Lattes contain the most milk and are the highest in calories, fat, and protein and macchiatos contain only a splash of milk and are significantly lower in calories, fat, and protein.

It is important to bear in mind that macchiato recipes typically use more sugar than other coffee recipes.

Making The Best Latte and Macchiato at Home

Here we have the one best recipe for each type. You can follow them to treat yourself with the best.

If you are fond of Starbucks’ macchiato, the caramel flavor, you’ll be amazed to know that you can create that magic at home.

Just follow the tips below and ta-da your coffee is ready!

  • Drizzle caramel syrup all around the inside of your coffee cup to make this macchiato coffee drink.
  • In the bottom of the cup, pour about a half-inch of caramel syrup.
  • Top your macchiato with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel when you’re done.
  • Make three espresso shots and steam roughly half a cup of milk for an authentic Italian espresso macchiato.
  • Pour the milk into the espresso without allowing it to settle. A true Italian espresso macchiato will usually include more espresso than milk.

For café latte, here is the recipe;

  • To begin, in a heat-safe jug, steam the required amount of milk. A steaming wand or an espresso machine steamer can be used to steam milk. To make a 16-ounce caffe latte in the style of a coffee shop, steam 12 ounces of milk. Heat the milk to 140° for about 40 seconds.
  • Help your steamed milk to settle after it has been steamed. This will allow your steamed milk to attain its ideal consistency.
  • The higher the quality of your coffee beans while pulling each shot of espresso, the creamier and more flavorful your espresso shots will be. Arabica coffee beans or dark espresso beans, freshly ground, are excellent additions to any cafe latte.
  • After you’ve drawn your espresso shots, place them in the cup you’ll be using. Now you begin to pour the steamed milk into your cup slowly. Your steamed milk will naturally separate from the milk foam as you pour.
  • Don’t rush this step; the foamiest section of the steamed milk will be the last to be removed from the jug.
  • Pour the foamy milk foam on top when your cup is almost full. Instead of frothed milk foam, whipped cream can be used to enhance sweetness.


If you’re curious about what the greatest distinctions between a latte and a macchiato are, it all boils down to the milk-to-espresso ratio.

The same can be said for cappuccinos and everything in between.

Some people believe that a latte is best for rushing around in the mornings, while a macchiato is ideal for relaxing afternoons with friends.

All of these beverages, in our opinion, are fantastic when properly made.

It all comes down to how smooth and frothy you want your drinks to be.