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What is a Macchiato, Really?

What Everyone Ought to Know About a True Macchiato

Macchiato comes from the Italian word that means "stained". Quite literally it is a short espresso with a dollop of steamed milk foam added to it, one to two teaspoons max.

In this Starbucks-obsessed world there is some confusion as to what a macchiato is because Starbucks sells a long coffee drink with caramel flavor added to it that it calls a macchiato.

To distinguish the true macchiato from the one on offer at Starbucks, you will find many coffee shops refer to a true macchiato as an "espresso macchiato".

Many that I have ordered here in the U.S. have been presented me in a full-sized (12oz) paper cup, drowned in milk-foam. That's what I call a cappuccino, or bad training.

A true macchiato
This picture of a macchiato I made at home should give you an idea of what a true macchiato should look like and how to make one.

If you're not feeling like a lot of milk, but in dire need of a double shot, give the real macchiato a go at home. You will need good quality fresh whole beans that have not been roasted to the point that they have been shiny from the oils. A mid-roast is best. Hopefully you have a good independent coffee shop in your town that does its own roasting and you can buy some beans there. If not, then head on over to Amazon and order what I use most of the time: Coffee Masters Gourmet Coffee, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Whole Bean, 12-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4).

Oh, and this snobby post I just wrote reminded me of this very funny video in which two bitchy barista girls terrorize a customer for having the audacity to ask for a "caramel macchiato".  Enjoy!

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