Macchiato Definition Macchiato Definition

What is a Macchiato?

By the Lavazza Team 2–3 minutes

Have you ever had a macchiato? Perhaps you’ve seen it on a cafe menu, or heard the name in passing. A caffè macchiato is now one of the most popular drinks offered at coffee shops around the world, however, it may take different forms.

You may be wondering, what is a true macchiato? Or maybe you’d like to learn how to make your own? Let’s learn about it!

Definition of macchiato

Translated from Italian, ‘macchiato’ literally means ‘stained’ or ‘marked’. Supposedly, the origin of the word’s usage for the beverage came from baristas explaining to restaurant servers the difference between a neat espresso, and one ‘marked’ with a tiny splash of milk. The Portuguese name for the same type of drink - Café Pingado - also reflects this meaning, directly translating as “coffee with a drop of milk”.

What is a macchiato?

As you may have guessed from the previous description, a caffè macchiato is made up of a shot of espresso, topped up with a very small amount of steamed milk. Part of the appeal of a macchiato is that the milk moderates or dilutes the strong taste of the coffee without overwhelming or drowning out the flavor.

Variations and Insights

Since its invention and subsequent popularization, there have been a few twists and variations on the original Italian macchiato coffee.

Latte vs latte macchiato vs macchiato

Another type of macchiato is the latte macchiato, which consists of a larger amount of foamed milk - closer to the amount used in a traditional latte - topped off or ‘marked’ with a shot of espresso on the top. It is different than a cafe latte, which involves adding steamed milk to espresso. The latte macchiato uses more milk, since it is the base of the beverage and just a drop of coffee is added.

lavazza latte macchiato

What is a double macchiato?

Beyond the latte macchiato, there are a few more variations on the macchiato. The drink that we have explained earlier in this article, with two shots of espresso, is sometimes referred to as a double macchiato, or a “doppio macchiato” in Italy.

In Australia, this is known as a long macchiato, and its counterpart, a short macchiato, contains - you guessed it - just a single shot. In Perth, Western Australia, you might even hear someone ordering a “long mac topped up”, which involves a double shot of espresso in a glass, topped up with textured milk. In Melbourne, this same drink refers to a concoction of a double shot of espresso, a glass half-filled with water, and topped up with a dash of frothed milk.


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