There are a number of different espresso drinks that you can buy and figuring out the differences between them can be challenging.
This post will show you the differences between espresso and macchiato, how they are made, how they taste and what impacts their taste.
So, what is the difference between espresso and macchiato? Espresso is the result of pushing pressurized water through finely ground coffee. It is sweet, bitter, dense and rich in taste. Macchiato is a double espresso that has a small amount of milk foam on the top. Macchiato is slightly less strong and slightly more creamy in taste.
There are actually a number of things that can impact the way that a macchiato and espresso taste and there are a number of other similar drinks as well.
Difference between macchiato and espresso
Below, I will mention the differences between espresso and macchiato, how they taste, how they’re made and drinks that are similar to them.
Espresso is made by pushing hot pressurized water through finely ground coffee. The result is a mixture that is dense, rich, sweet and slightly bitter.
Espresso will also have a “Crema” which is a foamy substance that will be on the top of the espresso. It has a very bitter taste and some people prefer to remove it with a spoon.
Since it is required to create pressure in order to make the espresso it is necessary to use a specially designed machine to make it. There are three types of espresso machines that are popular which are traditional espresso machines, pod espresso machines and stovetop espresso machines.
Traditional espresso machines
To make espresso using a traditional espresso machine it will be necessary for you to get the coffee beans, grind them, push them down into a container (portafilter), put the container into the machine and then to turn it on.
If you want to make truly authentic espresso then it will be necessary for you to use a traditional espresso machine to make it. They also have the advantage that you have full control over all of the variables that go into making the espresso meaning that, with some experimenting, you should be able to make the espresso exactly how you want it.
However, espresso machines can be expensive, there can be a steep learning curve to using them and it can be difficult to replicate your favorite espresso due to all of the variables that can impact its taste. This can be solved by recording what you used to make the espresso and measuring the amount of coffee that you use and the grind.
The traditional espresso machine that I would recommend the most would be this one on Amazon. Mainly because it allows you to also make regular coffee so it will help you to reduce the amount of space that coffee machines are taking up in the kitchen.
To make espresso using a pod machine it is just necessary for you to fill the machine with water, put the pod in the machine and to turn it on.
The advantages of using a pod machine are that it is easy to do, quick and it will reliably give you espresso that you like.
However, it doesn’t give you as much control over the taste of the espresso. But, there are many different pod flavors for you to choose from so it is unlikely that you won’t be able to find a flavor that you like.
The pod style machine that I would recommend the most would be this one on Amazon.
Stovetop espresso makers
Stovetop espresso makers create pressure by heating up the water inside of them and allowing for the steam created to build up pressure inside of it.
To make espresso using a stovetop espresso maker it is necessary for you to get the beans, grind them and then to put them into the pot with the water below it and to heat it up.
You can watch the video below to see how to make espresso using a stovetop espresso maker.
The advantages of using a stovetop espresso maker are that it isn’t very difficult to do, it is much cheaper than the other options and you can use it to see whether or not you would get full use out of an actual espresso machine.
However, the problem with them is that they will not give you espresso that is of as high of a quality as a traditional espresso machine.
The stovetop espresso maker that I would recommend would be this one on Amazon.
What impacts the way espresso tastes
There are a number of factors that will have an impact on the taste of espresso.
The origin of the beans used to make the espresso are one of those factors. If the beans are from a single origin then it will normally result in a stronger tasting espresso that can often taste sour. If the beans are a blend from multiple sources then it will normally allow for a more balanced taste.
The type of roast that the beans have will also be a factor. If the beans have a light roast it will give the espresso a slightly more sour taste. Whereas, if they have a dark roast then it will give the espresso a slightly more bitter taste.
The type of beans used is also a factor. If the beans are Arabica beans then it will normally have a more strong taste that can also be slightly sour. Whereas, Robusta beans will give a more bitter taste. Generally, a blend of the two is recommended.
The way that the beans are ground will also be a factor. If the coffee beans are ground very finely then it will cause the espresso to taste sourer because the water will mix with more of the coffee as it passes through it. The opposite is true for when the grind is less fine.
Other espresso drinks
Espresso is used as a base for many other types of drinks.
Americano is where espresso is added to water. It has a similar taste to regular coffee but it is slightly more sweet.
Cappuccino is where steamed milk and foamed milk is added to the espresso. It is sweet and creamy with a coffee like taste.
Latte is where a lot of steamed milk and a little bit of milk foam is added to an espresso. It has a more creamy taste than with cappuccino and a smaller coffee taste.
Lungo is where the espresso is made with more water. This reduces the strength of the espresso.
Ristretto is where the espresso is made using less water. This increases the strength of the espresso.
Macchiato is a double espresso with a small amount of milk foam added to the top.
Adding the milk foam reduces the bitterness of the espresso but it is still rich, dense and sweet.
The things that impact the taste are the same things that impact the taste of a regular espresso as mentioned above. However, the type of milk used will also have an impact. If whole milk is used then it will give it a creamier taste.
You can also get a short macchiato which is a single shot of espresso with a small amount of milk foam added to it.
There are a number of drinks that are similar to macchiato.
- Cortado which is an espresso with milk foam added to it. Cortado is different to macchiato because a cortado has more milk foam than with a macchiato.
- Flat White which is espresso with steamed milk added to it
- Con Panna which is an espresso with a small amount of whipped cream added to the top of it.
Questions that people often ask about macchiato
Is macchiato sweet? Yes, macchiato is sweet. It is also dense, rich and can be slightly bitter depending on how it was made.
Is macchiato strong? Yes, macchiato is strong. It is also dense, rich and can be slightly bitter depending on the type of beans used and how finely they were ground.
Does macchiato have coffee? Yes, macchiato has coffee. This is because it is just an espresso with some milk foam added to it. Espresso is made using coffee so a macchiato will also have coffee and caffeine in it.