Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Copycat

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A recreation of the Starbucks popular Caramel Macchiato, see how easy it is to make this hot coffee drink in just 5 minutes. Get my trick to making perfect froth at home using a French press!

Drizzling caramel sauce on top of a Caramel Macchiato drink.

Recipe Highlights

  • Caramel Macchiato is a classic Starbucks drink that has been on their menu for over 20 years. There are 2 macchiato drinks on their menu and they’re completely different. One is an espresso macchiato, which is a small drink with espresso and a tiny bit of milk, and the other is the Caramel Macchiato, which is like an upside down latte.
  • Macchiato means “stained” or “marked” and the Caramel Macchiato is made by adding espresso into frothed milk, leaving a dot or a mark of crema on top.
  • The name of the drink is a little confusing since there isn’t any caramel in the coffee. It’s flavored with vanilla syrup and the caramel is only drizzled on top of the milk.
  • To best recreate the drink, use espresso from an espresso machine or a Nespresso. Frothed milk can easily be made using a French press.

Make more Starbucks favorites at home, like Iced Caramel Macchiato, Peppermint Mocha, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew with Cold Foam, and Irish Cream Cold Brew.

See the Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Copycat recipe web story.

Ingredient Notes

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato copycat ingredients.
  • Espresso
    Caramel Macchiato is best when made with espresso, but if you don’t have an espresso machine, use an Nespresso, or double-strength coffee made in a coffee machine or a Keurig.
  • Vanilla syrup
    Use store-bought or homemade vanilla syrup. The drink is flavored with vanilla.
  • Milk
    Starbucks makes theirs with 2% milk but you can use any milk you like but some milk will froth better than others. The more protein in the milk, the better it’ll froth.
  • Caramel sauce
    Store-bought is what I use since I find it tricky to make it at home. It’s only used to drizzle on top of the drink.
My Espresso Machine Pick

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Step-by-Step Instructions

Four photo collage with steps to make Caramel Macchiato.

For full ingredients and instructions, scroll down to the recipe.

Froth milk.

  1. Use the steam wand in an espresso machine. If no steam wand, heat milk on the stovetop (low, on simmer) or in the microwave. Pour heated milk into a French press and move plunger up and down until milk doubles in volume.

Assemble drink.

  1. Put vanilla syrup into a mug, then add frothed milk.
  2. Pour espresso shots into the cup.
  3. Top with a drizzle of caramel sauce.

Expert Tips

  • For a drink to be called a Caramel Macchiato, the vanilla syrup and frothed milk needs to go into the cup first, then the espresso, followed by the caramel drizzle. It’s the espresso crema mark on top of the milk that makes a drink a Caramel Macchiato and not a latte.
  • If the espresso goes in first, then the milk, then it’s just a latte since it would be missing the drink’s signature espresso crema mark in the milk. 
  • Nespresso makes an espresso-style coffee and it would be the closest to an authentic espresso made in an espresso machine. You can also use strong coffee, made double-strength in a coffee machine or French press.
  • Make a batch of homemade vanilla syrup ahead of time. It’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • To make this drink with strong coffee, use less milk (1/2 cup) and more coffee (1/2 cup).

Questions You May Have

How is a Caramel Macchiato different from a latte?

A Caramel Macchiato is a vanilla flavored latte but the order in which the ingredients go into the drink is what makes it different. Frothed milk goes in first, then the espresso. In a latte, the espresso goes in first, then the frothed milk.

How is this different from a vanilla latte with caramel drizzle?

All the ingredients would be the same, but the Caramel Macchiato is made by assembling the drink with vanilla syrup, frothed milk, the espresso, then the caramel drizzle. The vanilla latte would have the frothed milk last, then the caramel drizzle.

How many shots of espresso goes into the drink?

Starbucks makes theirs with 1 shot for a short (8 ounces) and tall drink (12 ounces) and 2 shots for a grande (16 ounces) and venti (20 ounces). You can use 1 or 2 shots of espresso, depending on how strong you want the drink.

Do you stir before drinking?

Nope. The drink is intended to be layered and not mixed together. Drink it as it, without stirring. You’ll taste the caramel drizzle with the milk first, then get more of the espresso as you keep sipping.

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato drink in a glass mug.

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Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Copycat

Author: Jee Choe
A recreation of a classic Starbucks drink.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Yield1 serving

INGREDIENTS
 

  • 2 shots of espresso
  • cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla syrup
  • 2 teaspoons caramel sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Froth milk.
    Use the steam wand in an espresso machine. If no steam wand, heat milk on the stovetop (low, on simmer) or in the microwave. Pour heated milk into a French press and move plunger up and down until milk doubles in volume.
  • Assemble drink.
    Put vanilla syrup into a mug, then add frothed milk. Pour espresso shots into the cup and top with a drizzle of caramel sauce.

NOTES

  • For a drink to be called a Caramel Macchiato, the vanilla syrup and frothed milk needs to go into the cup first, then the espresso followed by the caramel drizzle. It’s the espresso crema mark on top of the milk that makes it a Caramel Macchiato. 
  • If the espresso goes in first, then the milk, then it’s just a latte since it would be missing the drink’s signature espresso crema mark in the milk. 
  • The drink is intended to be layered and not mixed together. Drink it as it, without stirring. You’ll taste the caramel drizzle with the milk first, then get more of the espresso as you keep sipping.
  • Nespresso makes an espresso-style coffee and it would be the closest to an authentic espresso made in an espresso machine. You can also use strong coffee, made double-strength in a coffee machine or French press.
  • To make this drink with strong coffee, use 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup coffee.
  • Make a batch of homemade vanilla syrup ahead of time. It’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Starbucks makes theirs with 1 shot for a short (8 ounces) and tall drink (12 ounces) and 2 shots for a grande (16 ounces) and venti (20 ounces). You can use 1 or 2 shots of espresso, depending on how strong you want the drink.

    NUTRITION

    Calories: 253 | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 157mg | Potassium: 322mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 278IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 199mg | Iron: 2mg
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