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How to Make a Macchiato – Real Step-By-Step Recipe

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Oh, I must have drunk a million macchiatos in my life! It is definitely one of my favourites whenever I need a quick pick-me-up from my day-to-day routine.

So how do you make a macchiato? Well, you have landed on the right website!

To help get you started on your journey toward creating fantastic macchiatos at home, I’ve put together the best all-in-one guide featuring an easy step-by-step recipe that will have your homemade macchiato tasting just like one from your favourite cafe!

How To Make a Macchiato - Recipe

What Is a Macchiato?

A macchiato is a popular Italian espresso-based drink, typically made with steamed milk and a small amount of foam. The word “macchiato” means “stained” or “spotted” in Italian, which reflects the way the milk is added to the espresso.

The beverage is made by first pulling a shot of espresso and then adding a dollop of frothed milk on top, creating a “mark” or “stain” on the espresso.

More about making a macchiato soon!

Did you know that there are two main types of macchiatos? There is the traditional macchiato, also known as an espresso macchiato and the latte macchiato.

The traditional macchiato is made with a single shot of espresso and a small amount of milk foam. It is typically served in a demitasse cup.

On the other hand, the latte macchiato is made with steamed milk and a small amount of espresso, creating a layered effect in a tall glass aka caffe latte.

In this guide, I will show you how to fix yourself a classic macchiato, of course.

What Tools Do You Need to Make a Macchiato?

To make a macchiato, you need the following:

  • An espresso machine that can produce strong coffee in just a few seconds.
  • Freshly ground or roasted coffee beans that have a rich, aromatic flavour.
  • Fresh whole milk that has been cold and placed in a milk pitcher to steam.
  • A milk pitcher that can hold enough milk to make two servings of macchiato.
  • A shot glass or demitasse cup that can hold 1-2 oz of coffee.
  • A spoon or frother to create a silky layer of foam on top of the milk.

How to Make a Macchiato Like a Real Barista?

Making a macchiato like a real barista is not just a recipe, it’s an art. The key to a good macchiato is getting the balance right between the espresso, milk and foam, and also ensuring that the shot of espresso is of the highest quality.

Making a Macchiato Step-By-Step
  1. Start by grinding your coffee beans to the required texture, usually quite fine or use fresh pre-ground coffee beans from a bag.
  2. Then, heat your espresso machine, place coffee grounds in a portafilter, tamp them nice and even, and make a shot of espresso.
  3. Next, froth a small amount of milk, taking care to ensure that you don’t create too much foam. The milk should be heated to around 60-70 degrees Celsius, and you should only use enough milk to create a small teaspoon-sized dollop.
  4. Once your espresso shot is ready, pour the small amount of steamed milk on top of it, creating a layer of white. The steamed milk should blend with the espresso but not cover it entirely.
  5. Finally, add a small amount of micro-foam on top of the milk.
  6. Voila! Your macchiato is now ready to be served.

Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all recipe for the perfect macchiato, as it largely depends on personal preference. However, by following these steps, you should be able to create a delicious macchiato like a true barista.

What Is the Ratio of Espresso to Milk in Macchiato?

The ratio of espresso to milk in a macchiato can vary depending on the specific type of macchiato being prepared.

For instance, the one that I showed you how to make above, an espresso macchiato (left in the image below), typically follows a 2:1 espresso-to-milk ratio, where a single shot of espresso is topped with a small amount of milk foam.

Macchiato Milk Ratio

In contrast, a latte macchiato, also known simply as a “macchiato” in some cafés, features a higher milk-to-espresso ratio (right drink in the image above).

This type of macchiato is made by adding a small amount of espresso (usually a single or double shot) to a tall glass of steamed milk, resulting in a drink that is mostly milk with a “stain” of espresso.

How Many Shots of Espresso Are In a Macchiato?

A traditional macchiato is crafted with a single shot of espresso.

However, if you crave a bolder and more robust coffee taste, adding an extra shot of espresso can enhance the macchiato by imparting an added layer of depth and complexity to the flavour profile.

What Milk to Use For Making a Macchiato?

The answer largely depends on personal preference and dietary restrictions, but there are a few key factors to consider.

Traditionally, whole milk is often preferred as it creates a richer, creamier texture and complements the bold flavour of the espresso.

However, those who are lactose intolerant or following a vegan diet may opt for alternative milk options such as almond, soy, or oat milk. Keep in mind that these alternatives will not offer the same macchiato experience as whole milk.

How Is Macchiato Typically Served?

Macchiato, particularly the Italian version, is served in an extremely small cup, usually no more than 3 oz in size also known as the demitasse cup.

Macchiato Recipe

This stunning coffee drink is then served at the perfect temperature, usually just below boiling point, to preserve the delicate balance of flavours and aromas.

Traditionally, a macchiato is served without sugar or other additives, although some people prefer to add a dash of sugar or syrup to sweeten the flavour.

Did you know that in Italy, macchiato is consumed as a small, intense pick-me-up, typically sipped quickly while standing at a bar, as it is a popular drinking ritual?

Do You Stir a Macchiato Before Drinking?

In general, a traditional macchiato should not be stirred before drinking. This is because the frothed milk on top is meant to be enjoyed separately from the espresso.

The idea behind a macchiato is to have a small amount of milk to complement the intense flavour of the espresso. By stirring the two together, you may dilute the flavour of the espresso and lose the unique taste of the macchiato.

But if you prefer it stirred, there’s nothing stopping you.


All in all, making a macchiato is a simple art that requires careful attention and preparation. The tools you need, the steps you must take, and the tips you should adhere to are outlined in this guide.

So what are you waiting for? Now that you know how to make a macchiato at home with just a few simple steps, get creative and start working on your new barista skill!

Oh, by the way, if you want to add another drink to your portfolio, I have also created this step-by-step recipe for making an authentic cappuccino. Give it a try too!

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Author: Ivan Brozincevic

Ivan fell in love with everything about espresso while he was in college back in 2010, so much so that he decided to quit his education and pursue a career as a barista. Today, Ivan has extensive knowledge about espresso, espresso gear, and everything else related and loves sharing it with others who share his passion.

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