Macchiato Vs Latte: What’s The Difference?

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When you walk into a coffee shop, the first decision you need to make is what kind of coffee you want. There are dozens of different types and variations, but two of the most popular are the macchiato and the latte. So, what’s the difference between them? The difference is how much milk is used and how it is added to the drinks. Let’s take a closer look.

Espresso Drinks 101

Before we get into the specifics of macchiatos and lattes, let’s review some basic espresso information.

Espresso is a type of coffee that’s made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans. The result is a strong, concentrated coffee that has a slightly bitter flavor.

Espresso is the base for many popular coffee drinks, including macchiatos and lattes. These drinks are made by adding steamed milk and other flavors to espresso. Keep reading to learn more about the key differences between macchiatos and lattes.

What Is A Macchiato?

Macchiato vs latte
Macchiato Layers

A macchiato is an espresso-based coffee drink made with steamed milk and a small amount of foam.

The name comes from the Italian word for “marked,” referring to the way the milk stains the surface of the espresso. Traditionally, macchiatos are made with just a small splash of milk,

but today they are often served with more milk and less espresso. Macchiatos can be made with any type of milk, but most baristas use whole milk or2% milk.

Macchiatos are typically served in a small glass or cup. 

While macchiatos originated in Italy, they are now popular around the world. In many coffee shops, they are made using a double shot of espresso and served with steamed milk on the side so that customers can add their own desired amount.

The drink can also be made ahead of time and stored in a fridge for later enjoyment.

What Is A Latte?

Macchiato vs latte
Latte Layers

A latte is a type of coffee drink that is made with espresso and steamed milk.

The espresso is added first, and then the steamed milk is slowly poured in on top.

A latte can also be made with flavored syrups or spices.

A latte typically has a higher percentage of milk than a cappuccino, which is another type of coffee drink that is made with espresso and milk. 

Macchiato vs latte

Macchiato vs Latte: The Differences

One of the main differences between these two drinks is in the amount of milk that’s used. Lattes are made with significantly more steamed milk than macchiatos. This gives lattes a smoother texture and sweeter flavor than macchiatos.

Another key difference between these two drinks is in the way that the milk is added. When making a latte, baristas pour steamed milk into the espresso until the cup is around ⅔ full. Then, they use a spoon to hold back the foam as they pour it into the cup. This results in a latte with a layer of foamy milk on top.

Macchiatos, on the other hand, are made by adding a small amount of steamed milk to espresso. This creates a light drink with a strong espresso flavor. The steamed milk helps to cut some of the bitterness from the espresso and makes the drink more refreshing than if it were made with just espresso alone.


Choosing between a latte and macchiato comes down to personal preference—but it can also be helpful to know what sets these two popular drinks apart.

In general, lattes are smoother and sweeter than macchiatos thanks to their higher milk content. Macchiatos, on the other hand, have a stronger espresso flavor and are more refreshing than lattes.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which drink is right for you!