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Macchiato vs Cappuccino

Macchiato vs. Cappuccino – Who Wins the Battle of Brews?

Fun Fact: Surprisingly, the Macchiato means 'stained' or 'marked' in Italian, while the Cappuccino's frothy top was inspired by Capuchin friars' robes.

Macchiato Vs. Cappuccino?  What are you in the mood for today? Did you know that an exclusive vocabulary is dedicated to the choice of coffee? Interesting. And we thought they were all the same. Well, not quite, and there are specific differences between each of them. The only way you can enjoy your cup of coffee is when you know, ‘What is your cup of coffee’? So, let’s look at what’s brewing and how each brew differs from another. 

Understanding Espresso-Based Coffee

There is nothing like a steaming cup of your favorite coffee to soothe your soul. Essentially espresso and milk make the perfect match when it comes to forming the perfect base for your favorite coffee kind. There is a specific Coffee significant to various regions, countries, and even cultures. However, the Espresso-based kind is fairly new and finds its popularity in the US. But did you know that espresso finds its origins in Italy? It was in the Italian Baristas that each Coffee type, like macchiato, cappuccino, or latte, could be just as similar as they are different.

What is a Cappuccino?


Cappuccino is one of the most popular espresso-based drinks and was first introduced in Vienna, Italy. It was in the 19th century that the espresso machine was invented in Italy, and these soon grew to become a popular item in the menus during the 1030s. The original recipe comprises milk-based coffee that has been sweetened using Chocolate or Cinnamon. This was later ‘topped’ with whipped cream. The main reason for the preparation of elaborate Cappuccino recipe due to the poor quality of the ‘bare espresso.’ It was important to somehow ‘decorate’ it with flavors and taste.
The popularity of the Cappucino grew further after World War II. With the advent of technology, it became easier to prepare the much-beloved beverage.

Flavor Profile:

  • Single shot of espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. 
  • Total volume is around 6oz. 
  • The flavor is more espresso-forward with a creamy and velvety texture

What is a Macchiato?


Macchiato is yet another form of espresso-based coffee made by blending expresso and just a bit of steamed milk. In this preparation, foam milk is not included; hence, this product comprises a ‘more coffee’ content compared to the cappuccino. Macchiato originates in Italy, where the word means ‘stained’ or marked in Italian. In this preparation, only a small dollop of milk is added to the espresso. This results in a beautiful contrast of colors due to the dark espresso and the lighter milk.
The main aim of introducing milk to an espresso macchiato is to mellow the intensity of the espresso while still maintaining its boldness. The small amount of milk offers a touch of creaminess and can help balance any bitter notes in the espresso. So, you see, the main star of an espresso macchiato is the espresso itself.

Macchiato flavor Profile

Macchiato flavor profile:

  • A single shot of espresso along with a tiny amount of steamed or frothed milk.
  • Mostly only a few ounces in volume.
  • The importance is on the flavor of the espresso; here, the milk serves as a subtle addition to mellow the overall intensity.

Comparison of Macchiato and Cappuccino

Macchiato vs Cappuccino

Let us take a look at the various comparative aspects of the two Espresso-type:

Overview of the Cappuccino

The Taste

A cappuccino has a softer taste as compared to other espresso drinks. This is generally owing to the high milk content. Between the steamed milk and milk foam, a cappuccino is two-thirds milk. If you fancy mellower drinks with less focus on espresso, a cappuccino is the best choice for you.

The Texture

Cappuccinos are popular for having a smooth, velvety texture that is due to the milk foam. A lot depends upon the order in which the ingredients are added to the mu. This is important if you want to enjoy an authentic cappuccino experience. The milk foam is usually added last so that the first sip you take breaks the “crust” and offers you the rush of coffee and milk foam that cappuccino lovers desire.

The Ease of Preparation

The cappuccinos are much loved, but we usually order them at coffee shops rather than make them at home. Steaming milk is easy; however, frothing the steamed milk to make milk foam is a messy and difficult process that is much more difficult than you can bargain for.



Lesser powerful coffee taste

Too milky for some individuals.

The texture is smooth, velvet-like

Making a cappuccino at home is troublesome.

Milk foam is simply delicious

Overview of Macchiato


Since macchiatos are virtually entirely espresso, the coffee flavor is stronger than the cappuccinos. In case you do not love the taste of espresso, there are chances that you will not like a macchiato as much as a cappuccino. Likewise, if cappuccinos are too milky for you, you will probably like macchiatos much better.

The Mouthfeel

You will be surprised at how different a macchiato feels on your palate compared to a cappuccino. The layer of milk foam within a cappuccino has a large impact on how a cappuccino tastes and flows through your lips. Whatever you prefer, one or the other entirely depends on personal choice. However, there’s no denying that a macchiato is a harsher experience overall.

Ease of Preparation

If you like to make espresso drinks at home, macchiatos are the perfect option, as they are easy to make. If you can prepare espresso, you can also prepare a macchiato, as you only need a tiny amount of steamed milk. Here the milk foam adds a nice flair to cappuccinos and makes them much more complex to prepare than macchiatos.



More coffee-flavored

Harsher flavor profile

Stronger taste

Can be too strong for some individuals.

Easier to make

Differences Between Macchiato and Cappuccino



This is a coffee type that comprises equal quantities of espresso and steamed milk and milk foam.

This is espresso with a little amount of foamed milk on top.

Can be prepared by using equal amounts of Espresso, Steamed milk, and milk foam.

This is prepared by adding just a dollop of milk to espresso.

The taste is more on the milky and creamy side.

Has a stronger taste.

The flavor lies between the Macchiato and the latte.

The flavor lies somewhere between espresso and cappuccino

Serving Size and Presentation

A cappuccino comprises one shot of espresso which is approximately 30ml, and it’s topped up to a total of 185 – 200 ml with milk foam. This is at 65 degrees and comprising of about 20 mm of froth. This can be served in a 5.5oz round porcelain cup, 12 oz, or 8 oz, depending upon individual preferences.
A macchiato comprises a single shot of espresso with just a dash of milk froth, equal to about one tablespoon. This drink is about 45 ml and is served in an espresso cup.
Here is a comprehensive Coffee cup guide for different coffee types:

 Type of Coffee Cup 

 Approx. Measurement 

Espresso cup

60 ml

Cappuccino cup


Flat white cup


Standard mug


Macchiato cup




Latte glasses


Cortado glass


Irish coffee glass


Turkish coffee cup


Caffeine Content

Let us take a look at the coffee content of both Macchiato and Cappuccino:

Caffeine Content

  • Cappuccino: 63-126 milligrams
  • Macchiato: 65-85 milligrams


Cappuccino: This is accompanied by latte art

Macchiato: Can also feature latte art, albeit on a smaller scale

While your regular cup of coffee is essential to start your day, nevertheless there are a few aspects to consider, like certain Symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, gastrointestinal upset, muscle twitching, restlessness, and periods of inexhaustibility. Additionally, High caffeine intake is linked with acute and chronic daily headaches. This is due to the stimulation of a pro-nociceptive state of cortical hyperexcitability.

Ideal Occasions for Macchiato and Cappuccino

Macchiato and cappuccino are generally regarded as morning drinks because of their milk content. 

Traditionally a cappuccino is regarded as a drink that should only be consumed in the morning. It comprises a shot of espresso and frothed milk. Drinking a cappuccino in the morning implies that the lactose and fat content of the milk can offer an energy boost for the rest of the day. A cappuccino is also more filling than most other coffee types, so it may not be the best coffee to choose after a large meal. The same goes for the macchiato, as it also offers the morning boost of espresso, much of what is required to start an energetic day, except it is far low in milk content as compared to that of the cappuccino. 

Cultural Significance and Regional Variations

Italy is the birthplace of the espresso machine. The beverage has a large importance on espresso, where the individual can get their espressos suited to their tastes. The most popular coffee-based beverages are: 

  • Caffè (espresso)
  • Caffè macchiato: espresso with a small amount of milk or milk foam
  • Cappuccino: espresso with steamed milk foam
  • Caffè corretto: espresso with a small amount of an alcoholic beverage, such as brandy, sambucagrappa, or cognac
  • Caffellatte (or caffè latte): coffee and milk, usually in a 1:1 proportion
  • Latte macchiato: coffee and milk, usually in a 1:2 or 1:3 proportion
  • Caffè americano: an espresso with more water.


Cultural significance of latte macchiato: Italy

The macchiato is a staple in the morning routine, mostly enjoyed with breakfast. It is also popular for various social gatherings, where friends and family get together to savor the rich flavors and indulge in the creamy texture. Macchiato has also grown to become a symbol of Italian coffee culture, signifying the art of enjoying a leisurely moment with a delicious cup of coffee.


The cappuccino originated in Italy in the early 1900s. It was considered a breakfast drink and was made famous by baristas who added milk foam to espresso shots. Cappuccino is considered a main part of everyday life in Italy and serves as a social lubricant for friends and colleagues catching up over the beverage. Cappuccino has grown to be a beloved beverage worldwide due to its frothy texture and rich espresso flavor, enticing coffee drinkers all over the globe.

Macchiato Vs. Cappuccino: Conclusion

Macchiato and cappuccino have the same origins as the espresso. However, these are just as similar as they are different. A regular coffee drinker or an expert will be able to enjoy each of the beverages within the Coffee vocabulary once they know about the significance of their constituencies and their precise and absolute differences. It is always a great idea to be able to walk into a Barista or your favorite coffee shop where you can explore the various titillating varieties of the coffee offered. Also, it is an experience worth taking note of to go to a new place and explore their ‘beverage’ as it offers a great deal of insight into their cultures and customs. However, whatever might be your indulgence, it is always a great idea to grab your favorite cup on a nice rainy day and watch the raindrops trickle down as you sip into your cup of brewing flavors and memories.

Macchiato Vs. Cappuccino: FAQ's

Question 1. What does "Macchiato" mean?

Answer: It is an Italian word meaning ‘marked’ or ‘stained.

Question 2. How is the milk-to-espresso ratio different in Macchiato and Cappuccino?


    • Macchiato: only a dollop of milk
    • Cappuccino: equal milk to the espresso used

Question 3. Which drink has a stronger espresso flavor?

Answer: Macchiato has a stronger espresso flavor.

Question 4. Can I customize the sweetness or flavor of Macchiato and Cappuccino?

Answer: Yes.

Question 5. Are there any regional variations or adaptations of these drinks?

Answer: Yes, while the basic preparation remains the same, however, every region will infuse its version in a certain manner.

Question 6. Can I order a decaffeinated version of Macchiato or Cappuccino?

Answer:  Yes, you can.

Question 7. How do I properly pronounce "Macchiato" and "Cappuccino"?


  • Caffè Macchiato (cahf-FEH mahk-kee-AHT-oh)
  • Cappuccino (cahp-pooch-CHEE-noh)

Question 8. Which is stronger cappuccino or macchiato?

Answer: Macchiato.

Question 9. Which is sweeter cappuccino or macchiato?

Answer: Cappuccino 

Question 10. What tastes better cappuccino or macchiato?

Answer: This depends upon the individual.

Question 11. Does a macchiato have milk?

Answer:  Yes.

Question 12. Which is healthier, cappuccino or macchiato?

Answer: Macchiato.

Question 13. Which has less milk, cappuccino or macchiato?

Answer: Macchiato.