Latte Vs. Macchiato – The Most Delicious Dilemma

Unless you’re a skilled barista or a coffee enthusiast, it’s probably quite difficult to tell apart all coffee drinks you can find in café menus just by looking at their name. There are just so many options.

One of the most common challenges is telling the difference between latte and macchiato, as both have milk, both are foamy, and both make your mouth water just by thinking of them. Let’s find out more about each of them to see what you’d want to order next time you’re going out.



macchiato vs latte

A latte, as known in the English speaking world, is a drink made with steamed milk and espresso. However, note that, if you go to Italy and order a latte, you may be brought a glass of milk, as this is what the word means in Italian – they generally use “café latte” for the now-familiar coffee drink.

While in Europe café latte may simply mean just coffee mixed with milk, in America, the term refers to a specific proportion of the two ingredients. It seems that, years ago, an Italian barista started to make traditional cappuccinos in California, but they were deemed too strong by the local market.

Therefore, he adjusted his recipe to make it milder, and so the latte as we know it today came to be. Therefore, the drink is mainly, milk with a smaller amount of espresso added to it.

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latte or macchiato

Macchiato, on the other hand, is espresso with just a touch of milk on top, having a much richer, stronger taste than a latte. You can say you “mark” the coffee with milk, as actually this is what the word means in Italian – spotted or marked.

The origin of the name comes from the fact that waiters had trouble telling the difference between a simple espresso and one with very little milk in it, and so the latter was “spotted” by baristas to mark it and avoid confusion.


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The Differences between Latte and Macchiato

Is the difference between macchiato and latte clearer to you now? How about we recap to make sure there’s no confusion here:



Latte has more milk than espresso. Macchiato is mainly coffee with just a touch of milk in it.
Latte has a mild, balanced flavor. Macchiato has a robust taste, especially the first sip.
The name refers to an ingredient in the drink. The name denotes the appearance of the drink.
In lattes, the milk and coffee are stirred and mixed together, for an even taste. In macchiato drinks, the milk goes in first and espresso is added on top – they aren’t stirred.


Now that you know the exact difference between latte and macchiato, what will you order next time you’re out in a café? Subscribe to our newsletter and you’ll have something interesting to read while you drink your coffee.

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