The espresso macchiato is one of those coffees that you will never see at the local convenience store because it is unique and only served at reputable coffee bars and restaurants.
In fact, if you heard someone ordering an espresso macchiato from the barista, you might be quite surprised by what the customer actually gets. (Hint: it’s really tiny!)
Origins of the Espresso Macchiato
This beverage originates from the lively culinary & lifestyle traditions of Italy. Italians will only drink espresso in the afternoon. So, the espresso macchiato was created for those afternoon coffee drinkers looking for an espresso with a stronger aromatic taste, but mellowed by the addition of a dash of milk!
Cappuccino is normally served in the morning and consist of a combination of espresso and hot milk, then the surface was topped with foamed milk. Espresso is served in the afternoon which is a very concentrated coffee beverage and some people feel it is too strong. So, then they came up with the ideal of espresso macchiato which takes the best of both worlds and brings them together.
What does ‘macchiato’ mean?
The word ‘macchiato‘ means spotted or marked. It is made by adding a small amount of foamed milk to an espresso which appeals to people who generally do not like such an unnuanced strong espresso but think cappuccino is too weak and milky tasting. The combination creates its own unique taste which we enjoy and appreciate. If you are a true coffee lover like me, this is something you definitely need to try.
How is Espresso Macchiato made?
The way to make an espresso macchiato is exactly the same as a standard espresso. Once the espresso is actually made, just spoon the foamed milk lightly over the top of the espresso. Please note that when we say ‘spotted’, we don’t mean drowned! You are not making a Cappuccino or a Latte… so use the foamed milk sparingly. You can watch the video to see how it’s done by coffee expert Mike Phillips.
The reason that Espresso Macchiato is a popular alternative is that the limited amount of milk actually balances the strong coffee flavors. I find that not everyone likes the overly sweet concoctions that the Latte and its Macchiato siblings have become.
Similarly, for some the Cappuccino can also be quite milky, if it’s not made with strong enough coffee, a common problem if the coffee is poor quality or the espresso machine isn’t maintained properly.
However, the Espresso Macchiato allows you to experience the naturally strong tones of espresso, while balancing the bitterness with a touch of sweetness from the milk. Wonderful!
First, add about 10cc of milk into the bottom of the espresso cup. Then place this under the steamer and create the foam.
Now, place the cup under the espresso outlet. Pull your shot(s) directly into the cup. For non-purists, you can sprinkle very lightly with cocoa powder for a finish. Otherwise drink as is! 😀
If you’d like to learn how to make other coffee drinks, check out these pages!