What is a Macchiato?

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Coffee has become a ubiquitous part of modern life, and with it comes a seemingly endless array of coffee drinks to choose from.

One such drink is the macchiato, a classic Italian coffee made with espresso and a small amount of milk.

But what exactly is a macchiato, and how does it differ from other coffee drinks?

In this article, we’ll explore the history and origins of the macchiato, the different types of macchiatos, and how to make a macchiato at home.

What is a Macchiato

A macchiato is a type of coffee that is made with espresso and a small amount of milk.

The word “macchiato” means “stained” or “marked” in Italian, which refers to the small amount of milk that is added to the espresso.

There are two main types of macchiatos: the traditional macchiato and the latte macchiato.

  • The traditional macchiato is a shot of espresso with a small amount of foamed milk added to it which “stains” it with white.
  • The latte macchiato, on the other hand, is a glass of steamed milk with a shot of espresso added to it. So in contrast this is “staining” milk with dark coffee.

A macchiato, whether traditional or latte, should be drunk without stirring to maintain the different laters as this is what gives a macchiato its distinct flavor.

The history of macchiato

The macchiato originated in Italy, where it was typically served as a morning or mid-day drink. It is believed to have been invented in the early 20th century, although the exact origins are unclear.

The traditional macchiato has its roots in the Italian tradition of adding a small amount of milk to espresso to mellow out its bitterness.

The latte macchiato, on the other hand, was popularized in the 1980s as a trendy coffee drink in Europe.

How is a macchiato made?

A traditional macchiato is made by pulling a shot of espresso and adding a small amount of foamed milk to it. The milk is typically poured over the espresso in a way that creates a small, white mark on the surface of the coffee.

A latte macchiato, on the other hand, is made by steaming milk and pouring it into a glass, followed by a shot of espresso. The milk and espresso are not mixed together, which creates a layered effect in the glass.

Latte Macchiato
A freshly made layered Latte Macchiato

How to make a macchiato at home

Making a macchiato at home is easy if you have an espresso machine. Here’s how to make a traditional macchiato:

  1. Pull a shot of espresso into a demitasse cup.
  2. Heat up a small amount of milk and foam it using a milk frother to add volume and help it stay on the surface.
  3. Pour the milk gently over the espresso, creating a small mark on the surface of the coffee.

To make a latte macchiato at home, follow these steps:

  1. Steam milk and pour it into a glass.
  2. Pull a shot of espresso and pour it slowly over the milk.
  3. Allow the milk and espresso to remain separated, creating layers in the glass.

Macchiato FAQs

What’s the difference between a cappuccino and a macchiato?

While both cappuccinos and macchiatos are espresso-based drinks, they differ in terms of their milk content and preparation. A cappuccino is made with equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk, while a traditional macchiato has just a small amount of foamed milk added to the espresso. The foamed milk in a macchiato is used to “stain” or “mark” the espresso, whereas the milk in a cappuccino is meant to balance out the espresso’s bitterness. The result is that a cappuccino has a creamier texture and a milder coffee flavor, while a macchiato is stronger and more concentrated.

Is a macchiato stronger than an Americano?

Yes, a macchiato is generally stronger than an Americano. An Americano is made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso, which dilutes the coffee’s strength and bitterness. A traditional macchiato, on the other hand, has just a small amount of foamed milk added to the espresso, which does not significantly alter the coffee’s flavor or strength. As a result, a macchiato is a more concentrated and flavorful coffee drink than an Americano.

Why don’t you mix a macchiato?

The reason for not mixing a macchiato is to preserve its layered presentation and distinct flavors. In a latte macchiato, the milk and espresso are not mixed together, creating a layered effect in the glass. Similarly, in a traditional macchiato, a small amount of foamed milk is poured over the espresso in a way that creates a small, white mark on the surface of the coffee. Mixing the milk and espresso would disrupt this effect and alter the drink’s flavor and texture. As a result, macchiatos are meant to be enjoyed in their layered form without mixing.

Summary

In summary, a macchiato is a delicious coffee drink that is made with espresso and a small amount of milk.

Whether you prefer a traditional macchiato or a latte macchiato, this drink is sure to satisfy your caffeine cravings. And now that you know how to make a macchiato at home, you can enjoy this delicious drink whenever you want!

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

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