The latte macchiato is a coffee beverage that is similar to the caffè latte and is a longer version of the caffè macchiato, also known as the espresso macchiato. These three beverages are often confused for one another.
As with the espresso macchiato, the name is derived from the Italian word “macchiato”, which means stained.
A latte macchiato differs from a caffè latte in its preparation. A latte macchiato is prepared by slowly adding espresso to steamed milk, thus staining the milk. This is directly opposite to both the caffè latte, where the steamed milk is poured on top of the espresso, as well as the espresso macchiato, where a small amount of foam is conversely added to the espresso to stain it.
A latte macchiato is also typically prepared with less espresso, often as little as half a shot, in order to create the steamed look and not to discolor the beverage too much. The late macchiato also generally has more foam than a latte, more similar to the volume in a cappuccino.
These days, a version of a macchiato drink is regularly served in the United States by coffee shops such as Starbucks. These coffees are made with with varying ingredients such as cream and caramel syrup which bear very little resemblance to the original macchiato beverages.