Macchiato vs. Latte: What’s the Difference?

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Macchiatos and lattes are two beloved espresso drinks with distinct qualities. See exactly what sets these drinks apart.

Split photo with a macchiato drink on top and a latte on the bottom.

Macchiato vs. Latte

Macchiatos and lattes are both made with espresso and milk but there’s several differences that set them apart.


Macchiato: Macchiatos have 2 shots of espresso. The espresso flavor in a macchiato is more dominant than in a latte.

Latte: Lattes have 1-2 shots of espresso.

Milk Amount

Macchiato: Macchiatos are “stained” with a small amount (about 1 oz) of steamed milk.

Latte: Lattes are a larger drink with 8 oz or more of steamed milk.

Milk Texture

Macchiato: Like a latte, the milk in macchiatos is steamed, but it’s typically frothier.

Latte: The milk tends to be silkier and less frothy than a macchiato. The light layer of foam on top of the drink is perfect for pouring latte art.

Drink Size

Macchiato: Macchiatos are small drinks served in 3 oz cups.

Latte: Lattes are bigger than macchiatos and can range from 8-12 oz cups.

What is a Macchiato?

A macchiato (pronounced MAKI-AH-TOE), or espresso macchiato, is a coffee drink made with 2 shots of espresso and about an ounce of milk.

“Macchiato” means “stained” or “spotted” in Italian, which refers to how the milk is placed on top of the espresso. The milk is steamed until foamy, then either scooped or poured onto the espresso for a stained look.

While a traditional macchiato is a small drink at 3 oz, there’s also a drink called a latte macchiato, which is a flavored latte with espresso added last instead of first, so it leaves a dot or mark on top of the frothed milk. A popular version of a latte macchiato is the Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.

Popular recipes for making traditional and Starbucks macchiatos at home:

What is a Latte?

A latte (pronounced LAH-TAY) is a coffee drink made with milk and 1-2 shots of espresso. Latte is short for caffè latte, which translates to coffee and milk in Italian.

The milk is steamed until it has a light texture with a thin layer of foam at the top. The foam has the perfect level of frothiness for pouring latte art.

Lattes can range from 8-12 oz depending on how much milk you add. The standard size is 12 oz, which includes a double shot of espresso and 10 oz of milk.

Easy latte recipes:

Questions You May Have

Are lattes stronger than macchiatos?

In terms of caffeine, lattes made with 2 espresso shots are the same as a macchiato. But in flavor, a macchiato will be more intense and stronger since there’s a lot less milk in a macchiato than a latte.

Is there a difference between a macchiato and a latte?

Yes, a traditional macchiato is a small drink (about 3 oz) made with 2 shots of espresso and about 1 oz of frothy steamed milk. A standard latte is a larger drink made with 1-2 shots of espresso, 8-10 oz of steamed milk, and a layer of foam.

Does a macchiato taste different from a latte?

Yes, a traditional macchiato has a stronger espresso taste than a latte because it has less milk and 2 shots of espresso.


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