What is Espresso Macchiato and how to Make it

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Johny Morrisson

Espresso macchiato – the mark of milk. This diminutive yet complex coffee drink packs bold espresso enveloped in a dollop of foamed milk.

Espresso macchiato is made by adding a small amount of milk foam over an Espresso shot. The Italian word “macchiato” means “marked” or “stained,” which refers to Espresso stained with milk foam. It is a popular choice for coffee drinkers who enjoy the strong flavor of espresso with a hint of sweetness and creaminess.

Espresso Macchiato

The traditional macchiato is made with a 1:2 ratio of frothed milk to espresso. However, some coffee shops and baristas may use a different ratio, depending on the customer’s preference.

Regional variations also come into play; a macchiato from an Italian coffee shop would taste different from one from an American coffee shop.

The drink can also be strengthened by adding another shot of espresso, or it can be made sweeter by sprinkling flavored syrup on top.

How to make Espresso Macchiato

Here is a quick and easy recipe for espresso macchiato at home.


1. Best Coffee Beans for Espresso Macchiato: Dark roasted beans are best for an awesome espresso macchiato. The deeper, richer flavors from those deep roasts give you a nice bold base to balance out the milky smoothness.

2. Best Milk for Macchiato: Whole milk is the best choice for making Macchiato. That higher fat content gives you that thick, velvety texture and rich mouthfeel that takes a macchiato to the next level. Skim or low-fat milk is an option too, but you miss out on that velvety decadence that really makes a macchiato shine. In non-dairy, Oat milk is the best option as it makes very nice froth.


1. Brew a Double Espresso Shot: Start with making a double shot in your Espresso Machine. Measure out 14-18 grams of coffee grounds, tamp them evenly, and extract 2 ounces of liquid in 20-30 seconds for a balanced shot.

If you don’t have an Espresso machine, you can use a Moka pot or a French press. Just make sure to use a very high coffee ratio to make a concentrated espresso-like coffee drink.

2. Froth the milk: Froth 1 oz of milk with the help of the steaming wand of your Espresso machine until the milk becomes completely aerated and bubbly.

If your Espresso machine doesn’t have the steaming wand you can buy a separate milk frother or you can froth the milk manually with a whisk or in a blender.

3. Add the milk: Pour the frothed milk over the already prepared Espresso shot. You can pour the milk directly over the espresso or use a spoon to layer the milk on top gently.

How to make Espresso Macchiato

Espresso Macchiato vs Latte Macchiato

Latte Macchiatos and Espresso Macchiatos lie at opposing ends of the spectrum. The Espresso Macchiato is prepared by staining espresso with a small dollop of milk, whereas the Latte Macchiato involves adding a shot of espresso to a large quantity of milk, usually around 6 oz akin to a traditional latte. This results in a taller drink with a prominent milky and sweeter flavor with hints of coffee in each sip.

Latte Macchiato
Latte Macchiato

Espresso Macchiato is often confused with Latte Macchiatos or Starbucks flavored Drinks like Caramel Macchiato and Iced Macchiato which are highly sweet flavored and milky drinks with only a touch of coffee.

If you’re ordering an espresso drink at a local or boutique coffee shop and the word “macchiato” escapes your lips, don’t be surprised if you get some side-eye upon making the request. This has become a bit of a red flag for baristas because while the rest of the coffee world knows a traditional macchiato to be an espresso topped with a dollop of milk foam, folks that know the name from ordering, for instance, a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks, are expecting something more akin to a sweetened latte.


Macchiato vs Latte

In Macchiato, the espresso-to-milk ratio is usually 2:1, which means 1 ounce of frothed milk is added at the top of the doppio shot. The milk is not much and has very little impact on the espresso’s flavor. In contrast, a latte is made with a double shot of espresso, a lot of steamed milk, and a layer of milk foam on top. The milk in a latte is much more prominent and contributes to the overall flavor and texture.

In Latte the espresso-to-milk and foam ratio is typically 1:3:1, which means 6 ounces of steamed milk and 2 ounces of milk foam are added at the top of the doppio shot.

While both drinks are made with espresso and milk, a macchiato has a stronger, more espresso-forward flavor, while a latte has a milder, creamier flavor.

Macchiato vs Latte

Also Read: Cortado vs Macchiato

The Taste of Espresso Macchiato

Espresso macchiato has a coffee-forward taste with just a hint of sweetness and creaminess of milk. The addition of milk makes the intense taste of Espresso more approachable. In contrast to the heavy lattes and cappuccinos, where the coffee flavors are less pronounced, the macchiato retains the espresso as the prominent flavor, with only a dollop of milk added.

Depending on whether the milk is steamed or frothed, the macchiato will have a slightly different flavor and consistency.

I love the bold and rich flavors of Macchiato. The espresso’s bitterness is perfectly counterbalanced by the sweetness of the milk, creating an irresistible bittersweet taste.

espresso macchiato

Final Thoughts

And that’s a wrap on crafting the perfect espresso macchiato!

I’ve shared a simplified recipe for making espresso macchiato at home, which calls for fresh espresso and whisking hot or frothed milk into it. The outcome is a coffee beverage that is bittersweet, creamy, and delicious and is ideal for any time of day.

Have your own espresso macchiato wisdom to share? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your go-to beans for bold shots, whether you prefer foam or steamed milk, and any other tricks you use to achieve coffeehouse quality.

Espresso Macchiato Recipe

Here is a quick and easy way to make an espresso macchiato at home
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 15kcal
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • 1 Espresso machine
  • 1 Coffee grinder
  • 1 Milk Frother


  • 2 Shots Espresso
  • 1 oz Milk
  • Sweeteners or Syrups (Optional)


  • Pull a shot of espresso: Use a high-quality espresso blend and make sure to properly dose, tamp, and extract the double shot of Espresso in 30 seconds. You can also use French Press or Moka Pot to make strong coffee.
  • Froth the milk: You'll only need a small amount of milk, about 1-2 ounces. Steam the milk until it's hot and has developed a nice microfoam.
    If your Espresso machine doesn't have the steaming wand you can buy a separate milk frother or you can froth the milk manually with a whisk.
  • Combine: Pour the espresso into a demitasse cup and Gently pour the frothed milk over the espresso shot.
  • Add sugar or sweetener if desired, stir, and enjoy!

Also, read the Recipe for other Espresso drinks


Is Macchiato a healthy drink?

Yes, Macchiatos are very healthy drinks and offer similar benefits as black coffee. They have very few calories, fat, and protein as they contain only a splash of milk.
Read a guide on benefits of Espresso

How many Calories are in Espresso Macchiato?

A typical espresso macchiato made with whole milk contains approximately 25-30 calories. The calorie count can increase or decrease depending on the type of milk, or sugars or sweeteners added.

What is a double Espresso macchiato?

A double espresso macchiato is made with a double shot of espresso (2 ounces) and 1 ounce of milk foam layered on top. A single espresso macchiato is made with a single shot of espresso.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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