Macchiato VS Cappuccino

Coffee which is one of the most popular beverages across the globe is mysterious in many ways. Imagine a cup of coffee that not only tastes good but can also keep you moving for several hours in a day. When we drink coffee, do we ever wonder what is there in a name?

I had especially had this feeling when I had started ordering either a Macchiato or a Cappuccino during my early days. Initially, I too had very less information about the difference between both the drinks and wanted to know more. It was only after proper research on both the drinks did I get to know where the difference lay.

To understand the difference, let us know the basics of these beverages first.

What is Macchiato Coffee?

An authentic Macchiato coffee pronounced as ‘mah-key-AH-toe’  is an espresso topped with a minimal amount of foamed milk. Often it is only a tablespoon of milk on top of the espresso. Many might disagree on the quantity of milk that is used in a Macchiato drink, but one thing is for sure that the amount of milk used is never too much.

Coffee shops across the globe have been modifying this drink to suit their purpose; however, the traditional drink is more espresso and less milk. Macchiato Coffee comes in a short macchiato, long macchiato, double macchiato and many other variations.

Originally from Italy, Macchiato means spotted in Italian and has got a bitter taste. Portugal too has a similar coffee called Pingado, and in Spain, they call it the Cortado. In the US it is popularly known as Caffe Macchiato or Espresso Macchiato.

The most apparent difference between a Cappuccino and a Macchiato lies in its ratio of milk to espresso.

The macchiato milk to espresso ratio is 1:2. This means for every one portion of milk, two portions of the espresso is ideal. So a double macchiato would have twice the espresso and twice the milk in similar ratios as is mentioned earlier. A long macchiato is nothing but a double shot of espresso with a single shot of milk. This ratio gives macchiato coffee a bold and bitter taste and also makes it the speciality of the drink. The milk in the drink is just a cover to the body.

In the US, the Cafe Macchiato variation also includes other ingredients like cocoa keeping all other ratios similar.

Coming to the cup size, a classic macchiato cup is an espresso glass or a demitasse cup of  2-3 oz and less milk. If you want to enjoy a classic macchiato at home, a double-walled espresso glass is a right size.

Know your Cappuccino Coffee

With its origin in Northern Italy in the 19th century, Cappuccino was originally made with black espresso beans and cream. However, the drink evolved with the invention of refrigeration, which made use of fresh milk common.

There is a similar drink in Austria, which is typically espresso with whipped cream and is known as Vienna Coffee.

The modern Cappuccino as we know it became popular after the 1950s when espresso machines started heating milk as well. In the contemporary variation, a classic cappuccino is one-third espresso, one-third scalded milk and one-third milk foam. It is this clever ratio that makes Cappuccino such a loved espresso drink across the world. In some regions, Cappuccino is topped with a light dusting of cinnamon or chocolate.

Talking about the milk to coffee ratio, a typical cappuccino would have a 2:1 ratio of milk to espresso. This means for every portion of milk used, half a portion of espresso shall be added. Remember here that the steamed milk and milk foam is always used in equal proportions.  This makes the coffee drink very strong flavoured with silky smooth milk and fluffy textured foam.

A classic Cappuccino is served in a 5-6 oz ceramic cup with a saucer, but you can also use a bigger cup size using similar ratios of milk to coffee.

Related: Best espresso machine under $200

Macchiato vs Cappuccino

With time, different regions across the globe have come out with variations of both Macchiatos and Cappuccinos. Macchiato is considered to be a more afternoon and evening drink while Cappuccino is consumed more in the morning. Traditional coffee lovers would always prefer a macchiato because of the strong coffee flavour in the beverages.

Cappuccino, on the other hand, is loved because of the proportion of coffee and milk used along with milk foam. What you would like to drink is your choice, but you cannot ignore the fact that both these beverages are widely popular. What makes the difference between the two is the ratio of milk and coffee.

Tell us which one is your favourite now that you have an idea of what a Macchiato and a Cappuccino is and how they are different,

I'm a coffee lover, foodie, and blogger - passionate about coffee and all the things that go with it. I write about coffee, and news, learn about new coffees from across the world, do some home roasting, and share my thoughts on various other topics.

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