There are a number of different espresso drinks that you can buy and making sense of the differences between them can be confusing.
This post will show you the differences between cappuccino and macchiato, how they are made, how they tase and other similar drinks that you might like.
So, what is the difference between cappuccino and macchiato? Cappuccino is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 milk foam. Macchiato is espresso with a small amount of milk foam added to it. They both have a creamy and coffee-like taste but macchiato will normally be stronger.
Cappuccino and macchiato can both actually differ greatly in the way that they taste depending on how they are made and there are a number of other drinks that are similar to them.
Differences between cappuccino and macchiato
Below, I’ll show you the differences between cappuccino and macchiato, how they are made, what impacts their taste, similar drinks and questions that people ask about them.
Cappuccino is where an equal amount of steamed milk and milk foam are added to espresso. It has a strong coffee-like taste that is also creamy.
Espresso is the mixture that you get when you push hot and pressurized water through finely ground coffee. Espresso has a very strong taste that can be slightly bitter. Adding milk to the espresso reduces its strength.
How to make cappuccino
To make cappuccino you make espresso and then add the foamed milk to it afterward.
There are three main ways that you can make espresso and they are to either use a traditional espresso machine, a pod machine or to use a stovetop espresso maker.
Traditional espresso machine
To make espresso using a traditional espresso machine you will need to get the beans, grind them, push them into a container called a portafilter, put the portafilter into the machine and then turn it on.
You can watch the video below to see how to make cappuccino using a traditional espresso machine.
Traditional espresso machines have a steep learning curve and they require the most amount of effort in terms of making the espresso and in cleaning and maintaining the machine.
However, traditional espresso machines will give you the highest quality espresso and they give you the greatest amount of control over the way that the espresso tastes.
Pod espresso machine
You can also make cappuccino using a pod espresso machine. To make cappuccino using a pod espresso machine you put water and a pod into the machine, press a button, foam the milk and then add it to the espresso.
Pod machines won’t give you espresso that is of the same quality as with traditional espresso machines. However, they do still make good tasting espresso, they have a wide variety of flavors to choose from and they require the least amount of effort.
The pod espresso machine that I would recommend the most would be this one on Amazon.
Stovetop espresso maker
To make espresso using a stovetop espresso maker you put water into the pot, then you put ground coffee in above it and then you heat the pot up. The water will then heat up and create steam pressure, the steam will then mix with the coffee and espresso will come out of a filter.
You can watch the video below to see how to make espresso using a stovetop espresso maker.
However, stovetop espresso makers don’t come with milk frothers so it will be necessary for you to find another way to froth the milk in order to make cappuccino.
With that being said, stovetop espresso makers, such as this one, are the cheapest option and they are good for if you are unsure of whether or not you would get full use out of an actual espresso machine.
What impacts the way that cappuccino tastes
There are a number of factors that can have an impact on the way that the cappuccino tastes.
If the cappuccino is made using more milk or whole milk then it will give it a creamier and less strong taste.
If the beans used to make the espresso are Arabica beans then it will give the cappuccino a smoother taste. Whereas, Robusta beans will tend to give it a stronger and slightly more bitter taste.
If beans with a light roast are used then it will usually give the cappuccino a less strong taste but it can sometimes cause it to be sour or slightly tangy. Whereas, beans with a dark roast will give it a slightly more nutty or sometimes bitter taste.
If the beans are from a single source then it will normally give the cappuccino a sharper taste but it can often cause it to be sour. Whereas, if the beans are a blend of beans from multiple origins then it will normally give it a more balanced flavor.
Drinks that are similar to cappuccino
There are a number of other drinks that are similar to cappuccino such as:
Latte is where a lot of steamed milk and a small amount of milk foam are added to espresso. Latte has a creamier taste compared to cappuccino and it is less strong.
Mocha is where chocolate syrup and steamed milk are added to espresso. Mocha has a chocolatey and coffee like taste.
Breve is where half and half cream and milk are added to espresso. Due to the higher fat content in the creme breve is creamier compared to cappuccino.
- Flat white
Flat white is where only steamed milk is added to espresso. It is less creamy compared to cappuccino and latte.
Questions about cappuccino
Can you have cappuccino cold? Cappuccino is traditionally served hot. However, you can also get iced cappuccino. If you get it pre-made then it will generally have other additives in it.
Can you get decaf cappuccino? Yes. However, be aware that it will still contain caffeine just a bit less than a regular cappuccino.
Macchiato is where a small amount of milk foam is added to espresso. Macchiato has a slightly creamy taste and adding milk foam reduces the bitterness of the espresso. However, it still has a strong coffee taste.
To make macchiato you first make the espresso and then make the milk foam while it is being made and add the milk foam to the espresso.
You can watch the video below to see how to make a macchiato.
The type of milk and the amount of milk foam that is used will have an impact on the way that the macchiato tastes. If more milk foam is used then it will make it creamier and if less is used then it will have a stronger taste.
As mentioned above, the type of beans used, their roast and their origin can all impact the way that the macchiato tastes as well.
Drinks that are similar to macchiato
There are a number of other drinks that are similar to macchiato such as:
The cortado is very similar to the macchiato. It is where milk foam is added to espresso. However, the cortado has more milk foam added to it than with macchiato so it has a creamier taste.
- Con panna
Con panna is where a small amount of whipped cream is added to espresso. It has a creamier taste than macchiato due to the higher fat content in the cream.
Questions about macchiato
Is macchiato hot or cold? Traditionally, it is served hot. However, you can also get macchiato served cold. If it is pre-made then it will likely have other additives in it.
Is macchiato sweet? It has a slightly sweet taste that is also rich, slightly creamy and depending on how the espresso is made it can be slightly bitter.