• Joe Brewer

Macchiato vs Cappuccino: Bold or Light Flavor?

Updated: Oct 21

For most people, drinking coffee has become a well-loved habit.

Every day involves either brewing their cup or going to their favorite coffee shop to get their fix. Some don’t even need to look at the menu.

Ah, the menu.

There’s no denying the long list of coffee blends out there. And if you’re not that into coffee just yet, you are probably unaware of what these names mean.

When it comes to coffee blends, many confuse macchiato vs. cappuccino. Both have a similar soothing taste and are often served in identical cup sizes.

In that case, how do you know which would suit your taste buds better?


Macchiato vs Cappuccino

Before you go to your local coffee shop to get your caffeine fix, it is better if you at least have an idea of what you are ordering.

If you love drinking coffee, you already have a general idea of your preferences.

Generally, you will find people who like milky coffee, while others enjoy drinking strong coffee.

Here are some things you need to know about macchiato vs. cappuccino.


Macchiato

Macchiato, espresso macchiato or Caffe macchiato, features a bold coffee flavor.

Unlike other coffee blends, there are no ratios involved when preparing macchiato. Its basic form is espresso with a dash or a spot of milk.

How it is prepared is where macchiato got its name.

The word “macchiato” means “spotted” or “stained” in Italian, which perfectly describes how the coffee blend is made.

In Portugal, a macchiato is called “café pingado” or “coffee with a drop.”

If you are wondering about the taste, it is more like pure espresso with just a bit of milk to reduce the intense flavor.

Then again, it doesn’t end there. You will find that there are two popular types of macchiato—espresso macchiato and latte macchiato.


1. Espresso Macchiato

This is the most common macchiato blend you can order in a coffee shop. If you ask for a macchiato, this is the drink you would serve.

Espresso Macchiato is served in a small, clear glass. Because of how small it is, you might be surprised if it is your first time ordering this drink.

As mentioned, it is an espresso shot with just a few teaspoons of steamed milk added to lessen the intense flavor of the coffee.


2. Latte Macchiato

If you wish to try this drink, you should ask for it. This is because it is not typically served in a coffee shop.

If you think about it, a latte macchiato is more like a latte than a macchiato.

In a single cup, you will get a 12-ounce glass with about 1/3 or 1/2 steamed milk mixed with one shot of espresso.

The espresso is added slowly to create a layered drink.


Cappuccino

Cappuccino is entirely different from macchiato because its three ingredients should have equal measurements.

The goal is to create a unique taste by balancing the different flavors of the ingredients instead of having just one component overpower the others.

Rather than reducing the espresso’s bold flavor, equal parts of milk are added to complement the taste of espresso and create a new flavor.

Just like the macchiato, cappuccino coffee also has other variants:


1. Wet Cappuccino

This is a type of cappuccino with more steamed milk.

Although we talk about cappuccinos as a coffee with equal portions of milk and espresso, some exceptions depend on your taste.

This type of cappuccino has a flavor closer to a latte.


2. Dry Cappuccino

A dry cappuccino is a bit stronger compared to a wet cappuccino. This is because it has less steamed milk.

They usually add more foam, but it won’t affect the taste of the coffee.


3. Bone Dry Cappuccino

As for the bone-dry cappuccino, no steamed milk is added, but it has a lot of foam on top.

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What Is the Difference Between Cappuccino and Macchiato?

If you go to Italy, you will find that the people there consider cappuccino as a morning drink.

Most are not fond of milky drinks with their meals, so macchiato is often a perfect choice for them during lunch and dinner.

As for other coffee drinkers, a macchiato is a better coffee during the morning. It keeps you energized and active throughout the day because of its bolder flavor.

Aside from these, what are the other factors that set them apart from each other?


1. Preparation

Macchiato and cappuccino are made differently as they have particular guidelines.

Macchiato is very simple to make since you only need an espresso machine. Please put it in a small cup, add a few teaspoons of milk, and you’re done.

Cappuccino is prepared differently. It contains equal portions of milk foam, steamed milk, and espresso.

Can you make them at home?

As long as you have an espresso machine, making a macchiato or a cappuccino is not too hard.

However, you must learn how to steam the milk properly and create the proper milk foam for your cappuccino.

Macchiato is very easy to make. You need to pour a cup of espresso and allow the guests to choose how much milk they will add.


2. Taste

The most noticeable difference between macchiato and cappuccino is the taste.

A cappuccino vs. macchiato debate between coffee enthusiasts would almost always mention the taste.

Cappuccino has a milkier taste since it has more steamed milk than a macchiato.

Although the amount of milk won’t cover up the taste of the espresso, it is added to complement the taste of the coffee.

Macchiato is bitter to the point where only a select few coffee lovers would enjoy it.

If you don’t drink macchiato regularly, you won’t be able to enjoy its bitter taste.

Macchiato is just like a regular espresso without anything. The milk is only added to give it a different taste.


3. Caffeine Content

The caffeine content of cappuccino vs. macchiato is the same.

The only difference is the amount of milk added and the taste.

If you are only after the caffeine, you can choose either a macchiato or a cappuccino, which won’t make a difference.


4. Fat Content

Another difference between macchiato and cappuccino is the milk in each drink.

If you are trying to lose weight but still want that daily dose of caffeine to help jumpstart your day, choose macchiato.

It is just pure espresso, so you don’t need to worry about getting more fat into your diet.

More milk means more calories, so if you are on a strict diet, you should choose a macchiato instead of a cappuccino.


Is Macchiato Stronger Than Cappuccino?

Yes. In terms of flavor, macchiato has a stronger taste than a cappuccino.

This is because macchiato is more like an espresso version 2. You add a small amount of milk to lighten up the strong taste.

The taste is the main difference between a macchiato and a cappuccino coffee. Their flavors are very distinct that you won’t even mistake one for the other.

It is tough to determine which of them is better because we all have different preferences when it comes to coffee.

Those who love black coffee will surely appreciate macchiato, and those who prefer to drink at home would love the milky taste of cappuccino.


Conclusion

Macchiato and cappuccino are both incredible drinks in their own right.

Macchiato offers a bolder and more robust flavor, which appeals to people who love black coffee.

The cappuccino is perfect for people who love to drink milky coffee. It provides an ideal balance between all the ingredients.

Then, others prefer to drink macchiato because they want a bolder coffee with just a hint of milk.

No matter what type of coffee you choose, you will surely get that morning kick that you need to jumpstart your day.

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