The Perfect Cup: Macchiato vs Cappuccino

Welcome to our blog. Today, we will discuss the difference between macchiato vs cappuccino. As coffee lovers, we know these two drinks can be confusing. We are here to help clear things up and give you all the information you need to make the best choice for your next coffee drink.

What is a Cappuccino?

Factors Affecting The Caffeine Of Cappuccino

A cappuccino is a coffee drink made using espresso topped with steamed milk and milk foam. Espresso is the strong, dark coffee brewed using an espresso machine and espresso beans. This coffee originated in Italy. The word cappuccino comes from the Italian word for the hood, which refers to the hooded robes that the Capuchin monks wore. It was first mentioned in Italy in the 1930s.

Now, it is a popular drink around the world, the cappuccino is an espresso drink, but it is not as vigorous asana the espresso shot. The design on a traditional cappuccino is called a monk’s head when the coffee is expertly poured so that a circle of white is perfectly encircled by the darker coffee.

Variations Of The Cappuccino

There are many variations of the cappuccino, from the traditional Italian cappuccino to the more modern versions like a “dry” or a “wet” cappuccino (the dry cappuccino has less steamed milk and sometimes a little extra foam) with different flavors and toppings including the following:

  • Different flavors: Many different flavors can be added to a cappuccino, such as chocolate, vanilla, or caramel.
  • With different toppings: The foam on a cappuccino can be topped with chocolate shavings, cinnamon, or whipped cream.
  • Iced cappuccino: It is made with cold milk and espresso and is served over ice.
  • Cappuccino with espresso shots: A cappuccino can be made with more than one shot of espresso for a more robust coffee flavor.

What is a Macchiato?

How To Make A Macchiato

A macchiato is a strong coffee drink that originated in Italy. It is made of espresso coffee with a small amount of foam and steamed milk on top. The word macchiato means “stained” or “spotted” in Italian and refers to the coffee being “stained” with the milk and foam.

Macchiatos are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and many coffee shops offer them on their menus. However, there is often confusion about what exactly a macchiato is.

In Italy, a macchiato is simply espresso with a small amount of milk. The milk is added to the espresso to “cut” the bitterness of the coffee and make it more palatable. The milk also adds a bit of sweetness and creaminess to the drink.

In the United States, however, the term “macchiato” has come to mean a coffee that is espresso with milk and foam on top. The milk is steamed and then added to the espresso, and the foam is added on top. This type of macchiato is more like a latte than a traditional Italian macchiato.

Variations Of The Macchiato

Nowadays, you can find countless different variations of the macchiato. The following are some of the most popular:

  • Flavored macchiato: A flavored macchiato is made with flavored espressos, such as vanilla, caramel, or chocolate.
  • Iced macchiato: It is made with cold milk and espresso and is served over ice.
  • Macchiato with espresso shots: A espresso macchiato can be made with more than one shot of espresso for a more robust coffee flavor.

What’s the Difference: Cappuccino vs. Macchiato?

Taste Macchiato vs. Cappuccino

The most significant difference between macchiato and cappuccino is the taste. A cappuccino is made with 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 foamed milk. This gives it a sweeter, creamier, and richer taste. While a macchiato is made with espresso and a small amount of steamed milk and foam, which gives the macchiato a more bitter taste.

Caffeine Content

For starters, let’s compare the caffeine content. A typical 8-ounce cup of cappuccino contains about 75 milligrams of caffeine, while a macchiato has about half that amount. So if you’re looking for a coffee that will give you a little more caffeine boost, cappuccino is the way to go.

Calorie Content

For most people, when it comes to choosing between a cappuccino and a macchiato, the deciding factor is usually the amount of caffeine they want to consume. But for those watching their waistlines, the calorie content of these two popular coffees is also an important consideration. So, which one is the better choice when it comes to calories?

A standard cappuccino contains around 80-100 calories, while a macchiato has just 50-70 calories. However, it’s important to note that these figures can vary depending on the size of the drink and the type of milk used. For example, a large cappuccino with whole milk can have over 200 calories.

Fat Content

When it comes to fat content, a cappuccino has slightly less fat than a macchiato. This is because it contains more milk than a macchiato. However, the difference in fat content is usually negligible, and both drinks are generally low in fat.


Next, a cappuccino is larger in size than a macchiato. A typical cappuccino is around 8 ounces and served in a taller cup, while a macchiato is only about 4 ounces and is usually served in a shorter, wider cup.

P/s: A cappuccino mug is smaller than a latte mug but bigger than the demitasse cup used for espresso.

Ratios of Coffee to Milk

A cappuccino has more coffee than a macchiato. The ratio of coffee to milk in a cappuccino is 1:1, while the ratio in a macchiato is 2:1. Which means that a macchiato has less milk, making it a more robust coffee.

Another difference is in the foam. A cappuccino has a thick and creamy foam, while a macchiato has only a little and more like a thin layer of milk foam.


Cappuccinos are made with an equal amount of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam, which gives them a smooth and velvety texture. On the other hand, macchiatos contain a smaller proportion of espresso and more steamed milk, resulting in a softer, sweeter taste. Microfoam is used for lattes and gives them their classic milky, velvety feel that is also present in cappuccinos.

Which is Stronger: Cappuccino or Macchiato?

Now it’s time to decide which one you should order. So, which drink is stronger? It depends on how you define strength. If you’re talking about caffeine, a macchiato will have more since it has less milk to dilute the espresso. But a cappuccino is typically more robust if you’re talking about flavor since the milk doesn’t mask the espresso as much.

What Type Of Milk Is Best For Making Each Drink?

When it comes to making Macchiato and Cappuccino, whole milk is the best choice. This is due to its thick and rich consistency, which gives the foam a velvet finish that pairs perfectly with buttery notes. Whole milk will also help to create the three layers required for these drinks – espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. It should be noted that almond milk can be used as alternative nondairy milk, which will make a nice latte, but it will make the drink even brighter, sweeter, and delicate.

Are There Any Special Rules I Should Know About Ordering Cappuccinos Or Macchiatos In Italy?

When in Italy, do as the Italians do and order a cappuccino or macchiato at the local café. Here is a guide on how to order like a native:

  • First, specify if you would like your drink “al banco” or “a Tavola.” “Al banco” means you will drink your coffee standing at the counter, while “a Tavola” means you will be sitting at a table. Second, it is customary to have a small snack with your coffee, so order something like a pastry or biscotti to go along with your drink.
  • When ordering, simply say “Un cappuccino, per favore” or “Un macchiato, per favore”. You can also ask for a caffè latte by saying: “Un caffè latte, per favore.”
  • To ensure you get the drink you want, it’s best to specify how you like it. For example, if you want a strong cappuccino, you can say: “Un cappuccino senza latte, per favore” (a cappuccino without milk). If you want a sweeter macchiato, you can say “Un macchiato scuro, per favore” (a dark macchiato).
  • Finally, be aware that cappuccinos are usually only served until around 11:00 am – after that time, it is considered too late in the day for such a milky drink!

P/s: Remember, coffee is meant to be enjoyed slowly in Italy, so take your time and savor the flavor.

How do I Know If I’m Getting a Good Drink?

How Do I Know If I’m Getting A Good Drink?
How do I Know If I’m Getting a Good Drink?

You can keep an eye out for a few things to ensure you’re getting a good one:

  • First, take a look at the espresso. It should be a deep, rich brown color with a thick crema on top. If it’s lighter in color or has a weak crema, that’s usually an indication that the espresso wasn’t appropriately brewed.
  • Next, take a sip of the drink and pay attention to the flavor. A good cappuccino or macchiato should have a balance of sweet and bitter flavors, with espresso being the dominant flavor. If the drink is too sweet, there’s likely too much milk or syrup. And if it’s too bitter, the espresso was probably over-extracted.
  • Finally, take a look at the appearance of the drink. A good cappuccino should have a layer of velvety, creamy foam on top, while a macchiato should have a more defined layer of foam with a slightly darker color. If it is too thick or too light, that’s usually an indication that the drink wasn’t made correctly.

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FAQs About Macchiato vs Cappuccino

Can You Steam Milk For a Cappuccino Without an Espresso Maker?

Yes, you can, but it will not be the same as a cappuccino made with an espresso maker. The espresso maker will extract the coffee grounds and create a concentrated coffee combined with milk and steamed milk. If you do not have an espresso maker, you can make it with brewed coffee, milk, and a milk frother.

How Many Calories are in a Cappuccino?

A cappuccino made with skim milk has about 70 calories, while made with whole milk has about 150 calories.

How Many Calories are in a Macchiato?

A macchiato made with skim milk has about 30 calories, while made with whole milk has about 80 calories.

Can I Make a Cappuccino With Almond Milk?

Yes, you can, but it will not be the same as a cappuccino made with cow’s milk. Almond milk is a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk, so it will not produce the same creamy texture or flavor.

Can Both Drinks Be Made With Non-Dairy Milk, Like Almond Or Soy Milk?

Yes, Macchiatos and Cappuccinos can be made with non-dairy milks, like almond or soy milk. These plant-based milks are becoming increasingly popular with baristas in third-wave coffee shops due to their similarity to cow’s milk and ability to make a good cup of coffee when prepared properly. Soy milk has long been considered the best non-dairy milk for frothing, as it froths up quickly and produces a very stable foam. Almond milk is also a great option; however, it is recommended that it is frothed at room temperature for the best results. Coconut milk is another popular choice and can be used to make delicious vegan cappuccinos.

However, it is important to note that not all non-dairy milks are created equal, so it is important to look at the ingredients and know what works best for your needs.

What Types Of Syrups Or Flavors Can Be Added To Macchiatos Or Cappuccinos To Enhance Their Flavor Profiles?

When it comes to enhancing the flavor of macchiatos or cappuccinos, there are several types of syrups or flavors that can be added. The most popular syrups for these drinks include classic vanilla and French vanilla, which evoke the sweet flavor of vanilla beans. Other popular flavors that can be added include chocolate, caramel, and other sweeteners. Additionally, different types of toppings can be added, such as sprinkles, chocolate shavings, or whipped cream, to enhance the flavor profile further. For a traditional Italian macchiato, no flavored syrups are added, as the milk is meant to cut the bitterness of the espresso. However, some coffee shops may offer flavored syrups like caramel to their macchiatos.

Is There An Easier Way To Make Each Drink At Home Without Having To Use Specialized Equipment Like An Espresso Machine Or Steamer Wand?

Yes, there is an easier way to make macchiatos or cappuccinos at home without using specialized equipment like an espresso machine or steamer wand. Instead of using an expensive machine, you can make a delicious homemade cappuccino right home with just a few simple steps.

One popular method is the Whisk Method, which requires just an electric whisk, a stove, and a small pot. Another option is to use the microwave, wherein you shake nonfat or 2% milk in a jam jar until it’s foamy and then pour it into your espresso or coffee. Finally, you can also use a hand blender to add delicate milk bubbles to your espresso or coffee gently. With these easy methods, you can whip up a delicious macchiato or cappuccino without investing in expensive equipment.


Macchiato Vs Cappuccino
Macchiato vs Cappuccino

Now that you know the difference between a cappuccino and a macchiato, you can confidently order your drink the next time you visit your local café. And while you’re there, try a piece of biscotti with your drink or, even better, enjoy it at the bar while chatting with the barista!

I hope this was helpful! If you have any other questions about Macchiato vs Cappuccino, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

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