Thanks to a certain coffee retailer (we won’t mention their name), coffee enthusiasts have become confused with all the fake Italian names they’ve created for their drinks. Confused to the point where they aren’t sure what the real ones even are anymore. “What in the world is a macchiato?” is something you’ve probably overheard waiting in line, right? With all the Frappuccino’s and lattes they’ve created, it’s tough to know which drinks are actually authentic. I wont even get into the disgrace that is the Unicorn Latte.
The Macchiato is a name that’s particularly been lost among the fakes. I mean think about it. If I were to ask you what a latte or cappuccino is, you’d probably be able to tell me – even point to one. But would you be able to spot a macchiato? Or even further tell me how it’s made or what’s in it? My guess is probably not.
A macchiato or “caffé macchiato” is quite simple. It’s an espresso based drink with a small amount of foamed milk. The word macchiato translates to “spotted” in Italian. With the highest ratio of espresso to milk than any other drink, a macchiato is designed to be easy to drink when compared to a straight shot of espresso. The milk is meant to calm the espresso drink down while adding a bit of sweetness as well. Really quite delightful when prepared properly.
Look for the spot and understand how it’s made. Macchiatos are made with a shot or two of espresso topped with a dollop of foamed milk. When the milk is added, it creates a “spot” in the middle of the drink.
Latte Defined - Coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk (source: wikipedia).
Macchiato Defined - Espresso coffee drink with a small amount of foamed milk.
So, the important language in the above definitions is "steamed" and "foamed" when referring to the milk preparation. Lattes contain steamed milk - a completely different process when using your espresso machine at home. When steaming for latte milk, you're going for a velvety texture that looks like stirred paint in a can. Foamed milk, on the other hand, requires more air to be inserted into the milk to create more of a bubbly texture.
Is the macchiato your drink of choice? Let us know in the comments below!