Latte vs Macchiato: Understanding the Key Differences


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Latte and macchiato are two popular coffee drinks that are often confused with one another. While both are espresso-based drinks, there are distinct differences between macchiato vs latte.

Understanding these differences can help you choose the right drink for your taste preferences the next time you visit your favorite coffee shop.

A latte is a popular coffee drink that originated in Italy.

It is made with espresso and steamed milk and often topped with a layer of foam. The ratio of espresso to frothed milk is typically 1:3, which gives the drink a creamy texture and a mild coffee flavor. Some coffee shops also add flavorings like vanilla or caramel to lattes.

A macchiato is a smaller and stronger coffee drink, also from Italy.

It is made with a shot of espresso that is “stained” with a small amount of steamed milk. The ratio of espresso to milk is typically 1:1, which gives the drink a strong coffee flavor. Macchiatos are often served in smaller cups and are a popular choice for those who prefer a stronger coffee taste.

Difference Between Latte and Macchiato

Difference Between Latte and Macchiato


The main difference between macchiato vs latte lies in their ingredients.

  • Latte is made with a shot or two of espresso, steamed milk, and a small layer of foam on top.
  • Conversely, a macchiato is made with a shot of espresso, a dollop of milk foam, and a small amount of steamed milk.

The key difference is that a latte has more milk and less foam, while a macchiato has more foam and less milk.

Preparation and Serving

The preparation of latte and macchiato is also different.

  • To make a latte, the barista starts by pulling a shot or two of espresso and steaming the milk. The espresso is then poured into a cup, followed by steamed milk and a small layer of foam on top.
  • To make a macchiato, the barista pulls a shot of espresso and adds a dollop of milk foam on top. Then, a small amount of steamed milk is added to the espresso.

When it comes to serving, a latte is typically served in a larger cup than a macchiato. Latte is also often served with a latte art design on top, while macchiato is served in a smaller cup or glass without any decoration.

Taste and Texture

The taste and texture of latte and macchiato are also different.

  • Latte has a smooth and creamy texture due to the steamed milk, and the taste is balanced between the espresso and milk.
  • Macchiato has a stronger espresso flavor due to the smaller amount of milk, and the foam adds a slightly sweet and creamy texture to the drink.

Overall, the main differences between latte and macchiato lie in their ingredients, preparation, serving, taste, and texture. While both drinks contain espresso and milk, the ratios and techniques used to make them are different, resulting in distinct flavor profiles and experiences.

latte vs macchiato

Which is Healthier: a Latte or a Macchiato?

When it comes to choosing between a latte and a macchiato, many people consider the health benefits of these two popular coffee beverages.

While both drinks contain caffeine and milk, there are some key differences in their nutritional value.

Calorie Count

A typical latte is made with espresso and steamed milk, with a small amount of foam on top. Depending on the size and type of milk used, a latte can range from 120 to 300 calories. Whole milk is the most calorie-dense option, while skim milk or almond milk can significantly reduce the calorie count.

However, a macchiato is a shot of espresso with a small amount of steamed milk and foam on top. This means that a macchiato is generally lower in calories than a latte, with a typical serving containing only 20 to 70 calories.

Of course, it is worth noting that some coffee shops may offer variations of the macchiato that include added syrups or sweeteners, which can significantly increase the calorie count.


When it comes to nutritional value, both lattes and macchiatos can be good sources of calcium and protein, thanks to the milk content. Due to the additional milk, lattes do tend to have a higher fat content than macchiatos, especially if they are made with whole milk.

This means that a macchiato may be a better option for those looking to reduce their overall fat intake.

Overall, the health benefits of a latte or a macchiato depend largely on the type of milk used and any additional flavorings or sweeteners.

  • For those looking to reduce their calorie intake, a macchiato may be the better choice.
  • But for those looking for a more filling coffee with a higher protein content, a latte may be the way to go.


After examining the differences between latte and macchiato, it is clear that these two popular coffee drinks have distinct characteristics that set them apart from each other.

I enjoy drinking both, depending on the time of day and my mood, I may choose one or the other.

Ultimately, the key to enjoying a good cup of coffee is to experiment with different drinks and find the one that best suits your taste preferences.

Whether you prefer a latte, a macchiato, or any other coffee drink, there are endless possibilities to explore and enjoy.

Find out about all the different types of coffee drinks in our complete guide.

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