Macchiato Coffee - Its Origin and Different Varieties

Macchiato Coffee - Its Origin and Different Varieties - The Wood Roaster

Macchiato is a type of coffee beverage that is commonly described as an espresso with some milk. You can get varying types of macchiato in different cafes; there is no universal way to make one, and cafes have no choice but to create their own versions and let the customers decide which one they like the most.

The term macchiato translates as “spotted” or “stained” in Italian, which makes the direct translation of macchiato coffee a “stained coffee.” This name comes from the fact that it has a hint of milk, typically foamed, that gives the beverage a spotted appearance.

Although a macchiato can vary from one establishment to the next, it may interest you, as a coffee drinker, to understand how macchiato originated and what its types are.


History of the Macchiato

Many coffee experts and enthusiasts believe that the macchiato was first created in Italy during the eighties to distinguish a specific espresso beverage that includes a drop of milk. Since it does not have a universally known recipe, many people find it difficult to identify which drink is considered a macchiato. That is why you would most likely see a variety of macchiato products in cafes.

Many macchiato-like beverages are served worldwide, and each differs from one another based on the ratio of espresso to milk used. For instance, a piccolo latte is an espresso topped with foamed milk, while a caramel macchiato, popularly served in Starbucks, is a beverage made of steamed milk with some espresso and topped with caramel syrup.


Two Types of Macchiato Drinks

According to coffee experts, there are two types of macchiato: plain and espresso. Although there are no definite guidelines in making macchiato, this will help distinguish which type a specific beverage falls under.


1. Macchiato

In general, many agree that a macchiato is made of espresso, cold milk, and layered hot milk served in a tall glass. Some people say that it usually uses milk foam instead of regular milk. However, since there is no precise specification for this type of beverage, many coffee experts and enthusiasts describe it differently.

Some of the many descriptions of macchiato include:

  • A double espresso topped with a textured and spooned milk foam
  • A full-shot of espresso with a dollop of milk foam


2. Espresso Macchiato

Unlike the other, espresso macchiato is typically served in a small, espresso cup. This type is made mostly of espresso with just a few pours of either hot milk, cold milk, or foam. If you see a Macchiato with latte art, that is probably an espresso macchiato.

Most people who order an espresso macchiato are those that want a mild taste of espresso. This makes it ideal for coffee drinkers who like the taste of espresso with added sweetness and creaminess, similar to a latte. 



The macchiato is one of the most popular and ordered espresso beverages around the world. Since it does not have a specific universal recipe, many cafes have made their own versions based on what they think their customers would like.

As you may know by now, there are two types of macchiato drinks. First is the plain macchiato, which is typically served in a tall glass and topped with milk foam; second is the espresso macchiato, which is served in a small cup and often has a milk foam-topping or latte art. Whichever you like among the two, both are made with either cold or hot milk and espresso.

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