With new caffeinated drinks being invented all around today, knowing the right words to explain and talk about yours is no small task. The difference between a macchiato and latte comes all the way from Italy. Macchiato means ‘stained’ or ‘marked’. Latte means ‘milk’. Combinations of each phrase creates a confusing roster of orders.
Each player, however, needs only three ingredients in varied ratios and order make the list:
- Steamed & frothed milk
Alternatives or any dairy does just fine, but 1-2% often froths easiest. Iced versions, obviously, require some frozen cubes!
A simple macchiato uses espresso with a bit of cream. This matches the namesake’s original definition. A macchiato tastes more intense than lattes seeing as it’s more coffee. It’s an on-the-go favorite; only a matter of ounces and never iced; any iced macchiato is a latte. The difference between this classic, full-flavored macchiato and a latte macchiato is just about the reverse: a base of milk.
Lattes themselves are a shot or two topped with steamed and then foamed milk. Latte macchiato means the same with one difference: dairy going in the cup first. Both are fancy-looking, served in tall glasses. Baristas pour three clear layers and might top with extra cream for an extra level of aesthetics.
For an iced latte, you pour cooled milk over shots on ice. To make it an iced latte macchiato, add espresso second.
There are major differences in what people may mean by macchiato or even latte. New flavored versions, with added in syrups or unorthodox ingredients for a twist, go by the same names. Know the right questions to ask your barista and be sure to order whichever one you actually choose to try!