How to Make a Macchiato

October 13, 2017 2 min read

Comment faire un macchiato? - Café Barista

Macchiatos are made with one short espresso dose (single or double), a splash of hot milk and a thin layer of foam.

Even though the macchiato is a classic among coffee-lovers, it is sometimes misunderstood because of commercial coffee chains not serving it using the original recipe. Too often, it is mistakenly considered to be a large sugary coffee, but in reality, it is far from being a coffee that could almost be considered a dessert. In fact, the macchiato normally comes in a smaller size and is very similar to a cappuccino.

A Brief History

To understand the origins of the macchiato, it is important to know that the cappuccino is a coffee that is only served in the morning. In Italy, it is frowned upon, even insulting, to order one after 11 am. This is how the macchiato came to be. When playing with the ratios in the recipe, they invented a cappuccino alternative that could be ordered at any time of the day. In that sense, they decreased the amount of milk and coffee needed, and thus the macchiato was born.

In addition, the name macchiato doesn’t just come from anywhere. In Italian, ‘macchiato’ means ‘spotted’. Rightfully, according to the recipe, the macchiato is an espresso with a spot of milk (topped with foam). When it comes to studying the origins of this beverage, you could say they thought of everything!

How to Make a Macchiato

For Italian speakers, you can practically make a macchiato based on the translation of the word. As previously mentioned, ‘macchiato’ means ‘spotted’ in Italian. This is a good summary of the macchiato recipe, because we only add a small amount of milk to a short expresso. This is then topped with milk foam and that’s it.

The macchiato can be a single or a double, the proportions stay the same, but the quantities of each ingredient are doubled (espresso, hot milk, and foam).

The macchiato is good for people who want a drink that is somewhere between a cappuccino and an espresso. It is a simple way to thin an espresso or to make a stronger cappuccino than what we are used to.

For the Macchiato

  1. Froth a little milk like you would for a cappuccino. Set aside.

  2. Extract a short single or double espresso. You can use the blend of your choice!

  3. The hot milk should have separated: foam on top, liquid on the bottom.

  4. Pour one or two tablespoons of hot milk into the espresso (depending on whether your short espresso is a single or a double).

  5. Add one or two heaping tablespoons of foam on top, respecting the ½ coffee to ½ foam ratio.

  6. Enjoy!

Fun Fact

When ordering from a coffee chain, you should specify you want an espresso macchiato, if not you may be surprised to receive a larger coffee, similar to an enormous cappuccino. However, small independent business will not have a hard time understanding you.

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