Macchiato Vs. Latte: Which Should You Order?

If you love milk with your coffee, you might be debating getting a latte or a macchiato in your favorite café. Our macchiato vs. latte guide will help you pick.

Macchiato vs. Latte
Macchiato vs. Latte

As a mom, I take my caffeine seriously. Knowing exactly how different coffee beverages are made can help you choose the perfect option for getting the boost that you need–and the flavor that you want. When you’re going over the menu at your favorite coffee shop, it can be tempting to stick to your old tried-and-true favorites–after all, you love them for a reason.

Venturing off the beaten path, however, can help you explore new flavor profiles and find a unique coffee drink that you love. Here, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the differences between a macchiato and a latte, helping you choose the coffee beverage that’s the best fit for your taste buds (and caffeine needs).

What Are Macchiatos And Lattes?

A macchiato is made from two espresso shots with a small layer of steamed milk poured over the coffee. The ratio is typically two parts espresso and one part steamed milk. 

A latte is a single shot of espresso, steamed milk, and a layer of milk foam. The ratio is typically one part espresso and two parts milk. However, some coffee shops use double espresso shots in all their coffee drinks. 

What A Macchiato And A Latte Have In Common

The commonalities between the two beverages are clear: both are made of milk and espresso. Both are typically served hot (although many coffee shops offer iced versions).

These coffee drinks also lend themselves to flavorings and toppings, making them the perfect way to get the vanilla or cinnamon taste that you crave with your coffee while also enjoying a handcrafted beverage. You can use any kind of milk or milk alternative for these brews. Traditionally, both lattes and macchiatos are served without sweeteners. 

Macchiato Vs. Latte: The Differences

While macchiatos and lattes have quite a bit in common, there are also some stark contrasts. Take a look at the chart below to help you decide which drink is the right choice for you.

More CaffeineMay contain less caffeine
Stronger espresso flavorWeaker espresso flavor
Less milkMore milk
Lower in caloriesHigher in calories

What’s Better About Macchiatos?

Coffee macchiato
A macchiato is also less filling than a latte

A macchiato gives you the boost of energy that you want and has far fewer calories than a latte. When you choose a macchiato, you’re getting coffee and a little bit of milk–and nothing else.

Macchiatos allow coffee lovers to fully enjoy the smoky and robust flavor of espresso. A macchiato is also less filling than a latte, which can make it a better fit alongside a large breakfast.

What’s Better About Lattes?

If you’re someone who often counts coffee as breakfast, a latte makes it easier to get through your morning, as the protein and carb boost provided by the milk makes it a more satiating option. Lattes have a weaker espresso taste than macchiatos, which can make them a good fit for people who don’t love the acidity and bite that often comes with espresso. Check out our guide on the best milk for latte art.

Who Should Get A Macchiato (And Why)?

If you’re a true coffee lover who wants unadulterated espresso, a macchiato is probably the right fit for you. This can also be a great choice if you want a coffee drink with flavoring that helps to bring out the hidden notes of espresso. Ordering a dark chocolate macchiato can help you fully appreciate all that the espresso used in your drink has to offer.

If you’re watching your calories or are looking for a lower-carb option, a macchiato is a better fit than a latte. Keep an eye out for hidden sugars in the flavored varieties offered by many coffee shops. If your stomach doesn’t care for large amounts of dairy, you’ll definitely want to stick with a macchiato over a latte.

Who Should Get A Latte (And Why)?

Latte coffee cup
Latte coffee doesn’t have a super strong coffee flavor

If you’re searching for a coffee drink that doesn’t have a super strong coffee flavor, a latte is likely a good fit for you. Lattes lend themselves to all sorts of fun flavoring combinations and can be a fun treat to sip on throughout the morning.

If you’re sensitive to caffeine, a latte is also a good fit, as it typically offers half the boost of a macchiato. Lattes, by definition, have a larger volume than macchiatos, making this a good choice if you want to make your drink last for a while. You might also be wondering, what is a skinny latte?


  • Amanda Berkey

    Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts. Find Amanda on LinkedIn.