What is a Macchiato

A macchiato is a coffee drink prepared with espresso and steamed milk but no foamed milk. Macchiato (literally “stained” in Italian) refers to the practice of “staining” or spattering a small amount of milk on top of an espresso drink. This means it has less foam than a latte or cappuccino. What makes it different from just adding steamed milk to an espresso beverage is how the espresso shots are tamped into the portafilter.

Origins of Macchiato

The word was first used in English by Starbucks in 1984. This drink originated in Italy during World War II when the country was under heavy embargo. The government was forced to control the flow of coffee. That meant that it could only be made with espresso machines (which had been invented by Angelo Moriondo in 1884). What resulted were shots of espresso containing less milk than normal, which made them easier to taste. 

Today, Macchiato means any drink made with steamed milk stained by an added shot(s) of espresso. Macchiatos can include a latte (espresso added to fully steamed milk). A cappuccino (espresso added to 1/3. Or ½ steamed milk and 1/3 or ½ foamed milk). And other drinks like cortados and cafe au laits.

What are the ingredients to make a cup of Macchiato

macchiato cup

What you do is add the shot of espresso to an 8 oz cup. Then add your steamed milk slowly while mixing in sugar until you have reached the desired sweetness. I recommend 2-3 teaspoons, depending on how sweet or bitter you want your drink to be. You then will top it off with a few tablespoons of the foamiest part of your steamed milk, and enjoy!

How to make the perfect cup of Macchiato

The ingredients you need for a Macchiato are a shot of espresso, milk, and sugar.

Macchiatos can be enjoyed hot or cold, which makes them great for any time of year. If served cold, they make perfect lattes that aren’t watered down like some iced coffee drinks out there. 

What’s also lovely about these is that you can get creative with the milk and flavoring components, making them extremely customizable, all while coming in under 200 calories for a 16-ounce beverage. What more could you ask for?

Macchiato art is the process of “staining” the top layer of foam on an espresso beverage with a pattern or design created with the surface area of the frothing pitcher while performing latte art. It requires a special pitcher and a lot of practice to perform. In addition, because macchiato art requires more focus on the appearance of the beverage, several attempts often need to be made before achieving an aesthetically pleasing result.

Macchiato art is not simple.

The pressure needed to extract the flavors from the beans during brewing doesn’t change whether you’re making one-shot (for a single) or three (for a double). What differs between these two types of drinks is how much of those extracted flavors make their way into your final product. 

Here’s where “macchiato art” comes in. What macchiato art does is force the espresso shot to move through the milk, not around it as you might expect with a latte or cappuccino. This results in more flavor (lighter overall color), less steamed milk (more foam), and a visually appealing result that people will swoon when they see yours.

Macchiato art only looks good when the cup size for this particular drink is small (like 8-10 oz). Still, larger cups are capable of producing beverages with nice macchiatos designs as well. So it might seem not very easy at first can become a very relaxing and enjoyable experience with just one cup. 

We should keep in mind that macchiato art is not about creating pictures or drawing but rather about the beauty of simplicity and how shapes and colors come together to create something truly unique.

The difference between a cappuccino, latte, and Macchiato

What is the difference between a cappuccino, latte, and macchiato

Cappuccinos, macchiatos and lattes are all popular coffee drinks. Here is a comparison of the three:

Cappuccino – the drink consists of one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk, and one-third foamy milk foam.

Macchiato – a macchiato consists of one-third espresso and two-thirds foamy milk.

Latte – a latte is made of one-third espresso, five-sixths steamed milk, and one-sixth foamy milk.

Coffee marks an excellent start of the day, enjoy it!

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