The coffee lovers of the world each have their individual preference. There is always that one type of blend that just speaks to the taste buds and creates a match made in heaven. For some, an espresso is the caffeine fix that their bodies crave, whereas others love a flat white with its creamy goodness.
Fortunately, there are plenty of coffee options available to please the many personalities desiring their daily cup.
However, with all the options, sometimes it can get confusing as to exactly what is what in the coffee world. This is particularly true when it comes to a latte and a macchiato.
What exactly makes the difference between a latte and a macchiato? What is it that sets these two individual coffee types apart, with their own identity to be recognised.
Now is your chance to find out what it the difference between a latte and a macchiato. Say goodbye to that awkward moment at the coffee store when you’re waiting in line and can’t decide between the two.
With this thorough understanding of the difference between a latte and a macchiato, you’ll never be left wondering again.
What is a Macchiato
In Italian, macchiato means ‘marked’ or ‘stained’. What this means when it comes to coffee is that the espresso makes the mark in the mug and the milk essentially stains it, changing the colour.
Traditionally, a caffè macchiato or an espresso macchiato features one or two shots of espresso, plus a small amount of steamed milk.
There are variations featuring flavours such as caramel and other tasty delights. Macchiatos are ideal all year round because they are light and easy to drink. They can also be served hot or cold, either way tasting refreshing and buzzed with caffeine.
What are Types of Lattes
Like a macchiato, a latte is created from espresso and steamed milk. In Italian, a latte essentially means coffee with milk. This is mostly because the Italian word for milk is literally ‘latte’.
However, since the English speaking world has adopted this Italian creation, the variations of lattes have grown and grown.
Now, there are endless styles and types of lattes available to send the taste buds on a creative, caffeine-infused journey. Coffee chains such as Starbucks are leading the way in introducing new and delicious ways to put a twist on a classic latte.
Some types of lattes that you can indulge in include vanilla, cinnamon, hazelnut, peppermint, and raspberry. Experimenting with these hot or cold will keep all the seasons of the year interesting!
What is the Real Difference
So far we have realised that both lattes and macchiatos are both based on espresso and steamed milk infusing together in a mug. So what is the real difference between a late and a macchiato?
What is really comes down to is the order in which the beverage is prepared. Timing is everything in life, as it is in the art of coffee making. While the ingredients are the same, the way they are prepared makes all the difference.
When it comes to a latte, the espresso goes in first. If syrup is requested for that extra hint of sweetness and joy, that becomes the first ingredient. After this steamed milk is poured on top. Optional foam can be included at the end of the process too.
With macchiatos, on the other hand, the steamed milk is the first thing to enter the mug. This can happen on top of flavoured syrup is so desired. The espresso hits the milk next and seeps its way through the mug. Generally, macchiatos are not stirred, rather the flavours just blend together naturally.
Another key difference is the origin. While both latte and macchiato are both Italian by nature, the roots of a macchiato is actually in America. It is essentially an American invention that introduced foam to the top of the coffee.
The amount of milk can make a major difference between the two as well. In Italy, macchiatos will have substantially less milk, with more spots than anything. In America now, macchiatos tend to mean a ‘smaller cappuccino’.
How to Make a Latte or Macchiato
As discussed above, a latte and a macchiato are made with the same ingredients of steamed milk and espresso. The difference between a latte and a macchiato is the order in which the ingredients are added to the mug.
When it comes to ordering one of these drinks in a coffee shop, the baristas have their fancy machines to do the prep work. However, it is just as easy for you to create a latte or a macchiato at home.
The main thing to focus on when making these delightful beverages at home is to ensure you have warm milk and quality espresso. After then, just remember to follow the right order to get the right drink.
Lattes want the espresso added first, and the milk second. You can remember this by practicing some Italian. Think of the official name for this coffee: caffe latte. The word order is coffee-milk.
For a macchiato, think of it in terms of how the drink blends. The coffee wants to seep through the milk, so the milk needs to be added first. You can remember this because macchiato starts with the letter m, which is the same letter as milk starts with, and the drink order starts with milk.
After making a latte or a macchiato, you can add foam as desired. Just keep in mind, if you want flavoured syrup at home, this needs to the be the first ingredient. This is where you prioritise your favourite flavour above all else.
*Watch How to Make a Caffe Macchiato in this video here.
*Watch How to Make a Caffe Latte in this video here.