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Macchiato Definition Macchiato Definition

Macchiato Definition

By the Lavazza Team 2–3 minutes

Ever had a macchiato coffee? Perhaps it’s your go-to order at the cafe. A caffè macchiato is slowly becoming one of the most popular coffee drinks on the menu around the world.

However, you might be wondering what exactly is a macchiato coffee? Or maybe you’d like to learn how to make a macchiato coffee at home?

Definition of macchiato

When you directly translate the word ‘macchiato’ from Italian, it means ‘stained’ or ‘marked’. Allegedly, the origin of the word is in from when baristas tried explaining to the waiters the difference between an espresso and one that had been ‘marked’ with a splash of milk. The Portuguese also has a similar drink - Café Pingado - directly translating as ‘‘coffee with a drop of milk’’.

What is a macchiato?

As you may have guessed from the previous description, a macchiato coffee is made up of a shot of espresso, topped up with a very small amount of steamed milk. Part of the appeal of a macchiato coffee is that the milk moderates or dilutes the strong taste of the coffee without overwhelming or drowning out the flavour.

Variations, tips and trix

Since its invention and subsequent popularisation, there have been a few twists and variations on the original Italian macchiato coffee.

Latte vs latte macchiato vs macchiato

Another popular type of macchiato is the latte macchiato, which consists of a larger amount of foamed milk - closer to the amount used in a traditional latte - topped off or 'marked' with a shot of espresso on the top. It is different to a cafe latte, which involves adding steamed milk to espresso.

lavazza latte macchiato

What is a double macchiato?

Beyond the latte macchiato, there are a few more variations on the macchiato. The drink that we have explained earlier in this article, with two shots of espresso, is sometimes referred to as a double macchiato, or a ‘doppio macchiato’ in Italy.

In Australia this is known as a long macchiato, and its counterpart, a short macchiato, contains - you guessed it - just a single shot. In Perth, Western Australia, you might even hear someone ordering a ‘long mac topped up’, which involves a double shot of espresso in a glass, topped up with textured milk. In Melbourne, this same drink refers to a concoction of a double shot of espresso, a glass half-filled with water, and topped up with a dash of frothed milk.


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