what is espresso macchiato

Espresso macchiato, being the excellent drink it is, have been one of the most popular coffee beverages in recent years. This “stained” drink offers a true espresso experience to those who love their coffee as espresso. Yet, when it comes to understanding what it really is, we have some problems. Do we really know what an espresso macchiato is?

In this article, we will start with giving some background information about both macchiato and espresso in order to comprehend what espresso macchiato is. After it’s done, a comprehensive guide about espresso macchiato coffee is waiting for you; from how to make one to how to properly order an espresso macchiato is in there.

Let’s waste no more time and start.

What is Macchiato?

what is macchiato
“Macchiato” by jonathan mcintosh is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Macchiato is one of the three musketeers of Italian coffee culture, the others being espresso and cappuccino. Between espresso and cappuccino, it can be considered as a bridge, or middle man. Your traditional macchiato isn’t as strong as espresso shot, but it’s certainly stronger than a cup of cappuccino.

The word literally means “stained” or “marked” and is derived from Italian (what a shock, huh?). The theory of its invention is that baristas had to understand which one is just espresso and which one is diluted with milk. Therefore, they would just stain the coffee to understand which is which.

As you can probably guess, espresso macchiato is a drink of one or two shots of espresso marked with steamed milk.

What is unique for macchiato coffee is its ratio. A traditional macchiato has a 2:1 ratio of espresso and milk while the other espresso-based drinks (cappuccino, latte, etc.) tend to have more milk in it compared to the espresso. It is mostly prepared by using one shot of espresso and two tablespoons of foamy milk. The milk is steamed in order to have a foamy and bubbly structure that will top the espresso, which is called micro-foam. In this way, macchiato protects its intense espresso flavor and addition of milk complements it with sweet and balanced notes. Hence, the perfect drink.

What is Espresso?

what is espresso
“Espresso” by scottfeldstein is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Being a concentrated form of coffee, espresso is one of the best ways to get your caffeine-kick. It is usually served in shots in what is called espresso cups. A well-prepared espresso has a full-bodied and intense flavor which will make those who love strong coffees happy. In addition, its unique crema resulting from the preparation method will create the stunning aftertaste of espresso. Overall, it’s one hell of a beverage to drink.

Making an espresso requires an espresso machine as it’s preparation process is somewhat complicated. To put it simply, you need to have an espresso machine which will shoot the pressurized hot water through finely ground coffee beans. The method is what gives it’s complex and intense flavor to espresso.

Although espresso is commonly reckoned as having a stronger caffeine content than a regular brewed one, it is false. Because of the serving sizes, a cup of regular brewed coffee contains more caffeine than a shot of espresso. Yet, if you compare them by per ounce, then espresso coffee will be the one which has more caffeine.

What is Espresso Macchiato?

To put it simply, espresso macchiato is the original version of macchiato. The word itself derives from Italian and is mostly known in Italy as just “macchiato. It is a drink that is made from a single shot of espresso and a touch of steamed, foamy milk on top of it just to stain it (Hence, the name.) If you use two shots of espresso instead of one, that will be called doppio espresso macchiato. Some might say double espresso macchiato, too!

what is espresso macchiato
“Espresso macchiato” by karen_neoh is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Espresso macchiato is the perfect drink for those who love espresso flavor better than the milk’s. In this drink, milk’s flavor doesn’t overshadow espresso’s as it’s fewer in amount. Milk actually compliments espresso’s strong and well-balanced flavor with a sweet and dairy taste and voilà! It’s a joy to drink on snowy winter nights and rainy fall days. What’s more, you can make it into an iced espresso macchiatoand enjoy it in summer too!

How to Make One

You’ll be surprised when you learn how easy it is to make a proper espresso macchiato. The only ingredients you need are 1-2 shots of espresso and some steamed foamy milk.

  1. Pour one or two shots of espresso into an espresso cup (aka demitasse cup).
  2. Add steamed, foamy milk on top of the espresso. (remember, the aim here is just to mark it, not add too much)
  3. You are ready to go, enjoy!

How to Order Espresso Macchiato

Let’s learn how to order an espresso macchiato as it can be quite confusing sometimes.

If you’re a fan of specialty coffee houses, ordering a macchiato will get you an espresso macchiato. This is because specialty coffee houses tend to respect coffee’s original history and variations. As espresso macchiato is called just “macchiato” in Italy and is regarded as the original form of the drink, specialty coffee houses follow that method.

Other places except for specialty coffee houses, on the other hand, is totally a different story. When you order a macchiato, you’ll get a sugar-and-calorie-bomb macchiato which usually has caramel syrup in it. You need to explicitly order for an “espresso macchiato” in those kinds of places to avoid misunderstanding.

Wrapping Up

Italian’s authentic drink, espresso macchiato, is a must-drink espresso-based drink that not many people are aware of. With its strong but full-bodied flavor and its sweet foamy micro-foam, espresso macchiato won’t disappoint you.

Next time you go to a coffee shop, you can order an espresso macchiato and see if that place is a specialty one or just a regular chain by just looking at what they gave to you. Maybe you can tell your friends about espresso macchiato’s secrets too. Enjoy your coffee.

Espresso Macchiato: Worth a Try

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