There are a number of different espresso drinks that you can buy and making sense of the differences between them can be confusing at times.
This post will show you the differences between latte and macchiato, how they taste, what impacts their taste, questions people ask about them and drinks that are similar to them.
So, what is the difference between latte and macchiato? Latte is where steamed milk and some milk foam are added to espresso. Macchiato is where a small amount of milk foam is added to a double shot of espresso. Latte has a more creamy taste and macchiato has a stronger coffee like taste.
There are actually a number of drinks that are similar to both of them and the way that they are made will greatly impact the way that they taste.
Differences between latte and macchiato
Below, I will show you the differences between the two drinks, how they taste, how to make them yourself, other drinks that you might like and questions that people ask about them.
Latte is where a lot of steamed milk and a small amount of milk foam is added to espresso. This gives latte a very creamy taste with a small coffee like taste as well.
How to make latte
Espresso is the mixture that you get where you push hot and pressurized water through finely ground coffee.
Since it is necessary to make espresso using pressurized water making espresso requires the use of a specially designed machine that can build up enough pressure to create the espresso.
Many of these machines will come with milk frothers. To make latte, while the espresso is being made, you use the frother to froth the milk and then you add it to the espresso when it is ready.
The video below shows you how to make latte using a traditional espresso machine.
There are three main types of espresso machines that you can use which are traditional espresso machines like in the video above, pod machines and stovetop espresso makers.
To make espresso using a traditional machine you need to get the beans, grind them, put water in the machine, push the coffee grind into a container, put the container into the machine and to turn it on.
It seems simple but there can actually be quite a steep learning curve to learning how to make a good espresso using a traditional machine. They also require the most amount of effort in making the espresso, cleaning the machines and in 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.
To make latte using a pod machine you just put water and a pod into the machine, press a button, froth the milk and then add it to the espresso once it is made.
Pod machines do not give you as much control over the way that the espresso tastes. However, they do give you good tasting espresso and they come with a number of different flavors that you can choose from.
The pod espresso machine that I would recommend the most would be this one on Amazon.
To make espresso using a stovetop espresso maker you put water into the pot, then you put coffee grind above it and heat up the pot.
The issue here is that they don’t normally come with milk frothers so it will be necessary for you to buy one separately if you want to make latte.
The video below shows how to make espresso using a stovetop espresso maker.
Stovetop espresso makers are the cheapest option so they are good for if you are on a budget. However, they do not produce the highest quality espresso and it will be difficult to make latte without a milk frother. The stovetop espresso maker that I would recommend would be this one on Amazon.
What impacts the taste of latte
There are a number of factors that will impact the way that latte tastes.
If whole milk is used then it will give the latte a creamier taste and if semi-skimmed milk is used then it will be less creamy with a more coffee like taste. Additionally, if a lot of milk is used then it will also make it taste creamier.
The way that the espresso is made will also have an impact on the way that the latte tastes.
If Arabica beans are used to make the espresso then it will give it a less bitter taste but it can sometimes result in it tasting sour. However, this won’t be as noticeable in the latte since the milk will balance it out.
Robusta beans will normally give the espresso a more bitter taste. It would be worthwhile for you to try making the latte using Arabica beans, Robusta beans and a blend of the two to see which you like best.
If the beans have a light roast then it will also usually taste less bitter and a light roast can also cause the espresso to taste sour at times. It is the opposite case with beans with a dark roast which normally give the espresso a more bitter taste. Espresso is meant to be slightly bitter which is why a dark roast is normally used to make espresso.
The type of grind used to make the espresso will also impact the way that it tastes. If a very fine grind is used to make the espresso then it will mean that more of the coffee will mix with the water. You want some of the coffee to mix with the water but if too much of it mixes then it will cause the espresso to taste too strong.
Related drinks to latte
If you like creamy tasting drinks then it is likely that you will like latte and you should try it to see if you like it. There are also a number of other drinks, in addition to macchiato, that taste similar to latte that you might also like.
These drinks can include:
Cappuccino is very similar to latte. Cappuccino is where steamed milk and milk foam are added to espresso. The difference between the two is that more milk foam and less steamed milk is used to make cappuccino. Cappuccino tends to have a stronger coffee taste than latte.
Breve is where half and half milk and cream are added to espresso. The breve will normally have a more creamy taste than latte due to the higher fat content in the cream.
Mocha is where steamed milk and chocolate syrup, cocoa or hot chocolate are added to espresso. It has a chocolatey and coffee like taste.
- Flat white
Flat white is espresso with just steamed milk added to it and no milk foam. It has a creamy taste that is similar to latte.
Questions people ask about latte
Is latte cold or hot? Traditionally, latte is served hot. However, you can also get iced latte which will often contain more additives than with hot latte especially compared to when you make the hot latte yourself.
Is latte strong? No, latte has a lot of milk which reduces the strength of the espresso. If you want it to be strong then consider cappuccino instead.
Macchiato is where a small amount of foamed milk is added to espresso. This reduces the bitterness of the espresso but it still has a very rich and coffee like taste.
Any type of milk can be made to make macchiato but the type of milk that is used will have an impact on the way that it tastes. If whole milk is used then it will make it taste creamier.
To make macchiato the traditional way you add milk foam to two shots of espresso. However, you can also get a short macchiato which is where you add milk foam to a double shot of espresso instead.
The way that the espresso is made will have a larger impact on the taste of the macchiato than with the latte since macchiato has a higher concentration of espresso compared to milk.
The things that impact the way that the espresso tastes will be the same things as mentioned in the section above.
Related drinks to macchiato
There are a number of drinks that are similar to macchiato and if you like strong tasting coffee then you might like them as well.
They can include:
The cortado is where foamed milk is added to espresso. It is different to macchiato in that more foamed milk is added with the cortado. The cortado has a creamier taste compared to the macchiato.
The noisette is where hot milk is added to espresso. It is has a strong coffee taste but it is less bitter than espresso on its own.
- Cafe creme
Cafe creme is where heavy cream is added to espresso. It has a more creamy taste compared to macchiato.
Questions people also ask about macchiato
Is macchiato stronger than latte? Yes, macchiato is stronger than latte.
Is macchiato sweet? It has a slightly sweet taste that is also rich.
Is macchiato served hot or cold? Traditionally, it is served hot. However, you can also have macchiato cold.