Macchiato Vs Latte – Easy Difference Spotting

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Poulami Ganguly

Macchiato vs Latte

There are people whose love for coffee gives birth to an unquenchable thirst for knowing the secrets that go behind their cups, and this curiosity comes out in the form of questions like what’s the difference between latte and macchiato or how does macchiato differ from the regular latte? This article aims to clear up this doubt by introducing you to the best-ever comparison of macchiato vs latte.

Those who love milky coffee definitely won’t want to miss a cup of mouthwatering macchiato or delectable latte. Both beverages hold the ability to steal your heart with their full-mouth feel, velvety, and creamy approach. However, the story is not limited to sipping just a cup, enjoying the taste for a while, and moving on.

A Brief about the Inception of Latte and Macchiato 

Latte – the drink that has stood the taste of time carries a long and fascinating history that is as rich as its layers. The term ‘Caffe-e-latte’ was first coined by William Dean Howells in his essay ‘Italian Journeys.’ Coffee was then becoming a worldwide sensation, and espresso machines had not been invented yet. 

Later, in 1884, the first patented espresso machine came out, which gave birth to the phrase – ‘pulling a shot’ and this is where the latte culture kicked in. Years later, Gaggia started marking their espresso shots as cafe creme, which points to the unique fact that coffee could make its own cream with the magic of espresso art. 

In 1903, espresso machines adopted a new innovation – steam wands. It made the art of heating and making texture in the milk extremely popular. Finally, in the 1980s, the baristas from Seattle, Washington, started painting their cups with highly textured milk and introduced the world to the well-loved practice of finishing the cup with latte art. Since then, caffe latte has continued to increase its fan base across the globe. 

Looking a Little Deeper into the Story of Macchiato

Now when you know the origin of the latte, let’s take you through the history of macchiato as well. Caffè macchiato or espresso macchiato has derived from the need of helping the serving waiters in understanding the difference between an espresso and an espresso with a little milk. Though it is believed that macchiato was invented in Italy in the 80s, a similar beverage called Caffè Pingado was quite popular in Portugal at the same time.

However, the notion has remained the same always – the recipe for a macchiato depends on the ratio of espresso to milk used. Another interesting fact is, that everyone’s ideal macchiato is different. While some want their macchiato to be layered with both cold and hot milk, others prefer huge froth on the top of their cup. 

Macchiato vs Latte – What are the differences?

Granted, both of them are well-loved and well-admired in the world of coffee, but each serves a different purpose for pacifying one’s coffee craving. While macchiato is a classic Italian beverage that enhances espresso, lattes are creamier, more flavorful, and smoother. Here’s a glance at the basics of these two beverages, followed by the reasons why they are different.  

What is a Latte?

Latte is a simplistic espresso drink with steamed milk and a thin layer of foam on top. Latte comes in an extensive range of flavors, making it highly customizable. 

What is a Macchiato?

Macchiato is a bold and simple coffee beverage that is typically flavored with a lot of sauces or sugary syrups. It highlights the original flavor of espresso and marks it with a small amount of steamed milk on the top. 

Macchiato vs Latte – The Difference

Well, much has been talked about latte and macchiato; now, let’s delve deeper into the primary differences between the two. Here we go!

Ground of differenceLatteMacchiato
RatioA latte contains more steamed milk than espresso, and the ratio looks like 2:1.Macchiato contains more espresso than steamed milk (2:1).
BoldnessLatte is lighter and more flavorful.Macchiato is stronger and comes with limited flavor options.
OriginThe idea of commercial latte originated in the United States of America.Macchiato has its roots in Italy.
ToppingLattes can be topped with frothed cream, whipped cream, or milk foam.Macchiato is topped with a thin layer of steamed milk, syrups, and chocolate sauce.
IngredientsThe primary ingredients of latte are coffee, espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. Macchiato needs espresso, coffee, and a little steamed milk – that’s all.

Recipes – Macchiato vs Latte

So, I expect that after going through the information shared till now, you have now got the ability to differentiate between macchiato and latte. I’m sure you must be looking for the best recipe to prepare both of these coffee-infused beverages at home to witness the difference and flaunt your barista skills. Thus, in the following section, I will share the world-class recipe of macchiato and latte and help you brush up your cafe brewing skills at their best. Bingo!

Recipe of Latte

Preparation Time – 5 minutes | Cook Time – 5 minutes | Total Time– 10 minutes

Serving: 1

Ingredients: Water 1 ounce, Coffee beans for espresso (preferably dark roast) – 1/2 tablespoon, Milk 3 ounces

Step 1: Pulling the Espresso Shot

  • Place water into the reservoir of your espresso machine. 
  • Put the coffee beans for grinding.
  • After grinding, place the coffee grounds into the portafilter.
  • Press the coffee down with a tamper to ensure that the grounds are tightly packed.
  • Place the portafilter into your espresso machine’s group head and lock it.
  • Place a latte cup under the group head and start pulling the shot for 25-30 seconds. To start this process, you will have to push the dedicated button.

(Don’t have an espresso machine, need some assistance in buying one – check our Guide about Best Espresso Machines for Home)

Step 2: Foaming the Milk

  • Put the milk into a small pitcher.
  • Use the steam wand to create foam. Ensure that you have kept the tip of the wand towards the side of the container and created a spiral vortex with the milk.
  • Move the container up and down to incorporate milk into the air.
  • When the milk doubles its size by creating foam, turn off the steam wand.

Step 3: Preparing your Cup

  • Take out the bubbles from the frothed milk using a spoon. 
  • Pour the milk into the latte cup where you have already kept the espresso shot.
  • Top the cup with the bubbles you have retained. Simply spooning the bubbles on the drink will do the job!

Yay! Your cafe-like latte is ready to serve! Enjoy it with a slice of brownie with hot chocolate.

Here is a detailed article – How to Make Latte at Home

Recipe of Macchiato

Preparation Time – 2 minutes | Cook Time – 2 minutes | Total Time– 4 minutes

Serving: 1

Ingredients: Coffee beans (preferably dark roast) – 1/2 tablespoon, Milk 3 ounces, latte cup, chocolate syrup/sauce.

Step 1: Pulling the Shots 

  • Pull half cup of espresso shot following the same method as described in the latte recipe.

Step 2: Steaming Milk

  • Again following the same method as latte, steam your milk. However, this time you need to put the wand a little longer inside the milk to bring a thin, ice cream-like consistency.

Step 3: Preparing Macchiato

  • Fill a macchiato cup with the espresso you have pulled.
  • Top the espresso with steamed milk. If you want, you can add chocolate sauce or syrup to the topping.

Your cuppa macchiato is ready to serve and enjoy! It was easy, wasn’t it?

Complete Recipe in more detail – How to make Macchiato at home

Wrapping Up

So, the macchiato vs. latte game ends here! Hope you have managed to retain useful information from this post. What are you waiting for? Rush to the kitchen and prepare yourself great cups of lattes and macchiatos and keep on celebrating your boundless love and passion for coffee!

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