Is there anything more luxurious than sipping on a freshly brewed macchiato? With rich, indulgent layers of espresso and foam, a macchiato is one of the best coffee drinks, no matter the time of day. But how can you get your hands on a macchiato if your favorite coffee house isn't open?
To help you get your macchiato fix, this article will explain all things macchiato — from what a macchiato is to how to make one at home with or without an espresso machine, flavoring, and ice. Now, you can bring home the same level of macchiato euphoria you'd get at the corner coffee shop by following these easy macchiato recipes.
What Is a Macchiato?
Macchiato is short for caffe macchiato, which translates to "coffee with a spot of milk" in Italian. Making a macchiato involves staining espresso with a spot of milk. The resulting espresso drink achieves a delightful taste somewhere between the strength of a straight espresso shot and a cappuccino.
There are two main versions of a macchiato — a traditional caffe macchiato and a latte macchiato. Because the idea of a macchiato is to lightly stain one element with the other, a conventional macchiato has a more robust espresso taste, while a latte macchiato primarily tastes like steamed milk.
Preparing a regular macchiato, also known as an espresso macchiato, involves adding a light portion of foamed milk on top of espresso to give it a small dollop of foam. At its most basic, a Caffe macchiato is an espresso shot with about a teaspoon or two of steamed milk and foam. Order a caffe macchiato for a rich coffee taste and a more substantial afternoon caffeine pick-me-up.
On the other hand, making a basic latte macchiato requires you to do those steps in reverse by pouring a shot of espresso into a larger amount of steamed milk. Most coffee shops offer the option of adding a flavored syrup like caramel to your latte macchiato, which is where the term caramel macchiato comes from. So if you want a milkier, frothier drink with a splash of added flavor, go for a latte macchiato.
How to Make a Macchiato Without an Espresso Machine or Steam Wand
Though espresso is one of the fundamental ingredients in a macchiato, you can still make this drink at home if you don't have an espresso machine or steam wand. Check out the recipe below to learn how to prepare a macchiato without these two elements.
What You Will Need
First things first: Round up these ingredients and pieces of equipment before beginning to make your macchiato.
- Whole dark roast coffee beans
- Measuring utensils or a kitchen scale
- A burr grinder set to fine
- An appliance to heat both the water and milk
Depending on what type of appliance you have for heating your water, follow one of these three methods for making your espresso.
- Moka pot: Using this stovetop device will get you as close to authentic espresso as you can get without using a machine. First, finely grind the espresso or coffee beans. Next, pour cold water into the lower chamber of the Moka pot, then place the funnel into the pot and dump your ground coffee into the filter. Attach the Moka pot's lower and upper chambers, then start slowly heating it on the stovetop. Once the boiling water starts to gurgle, indicating the water is flowing into the upper chamber, check the funnel spout for milk foam. If foam comes out, the espresso is ready, and you can remove the Moka pot from the stove.
- French press: Grind the espresso or coffee beans, then transfer the grounds to the French press. Heat some water and pour it into the French press, pausing for a few seconds to allow the coffee to bloom before adding more water until it reaches halfway up the French press. Secure the lid of the French press and leave the plunger up as the coffee steeps. Finally, apply even pressure to slowly lower the plunger and create your espresso.
- AeroPress: While an AeroPress is similar to a French press, the main difference is that you will need filters for this method. Put a freshly rinsed filter on the filter cap, then weigh or measure the exact amount of coffee and water you want. Put the coffee into the AeroPress chamber and start gradually pouring in hot water. Swirl the AeroPress for a bit to make sure the coffee and the water combine. Finally, attach the filter cap, invert the AeroPress over your mug, and quickly plunge the espresso into it.
How to Make Foamed Milk Without a Steam Wand
Now that you've made the espresso for your macchiato, it's time to steam the milk. If you don't have a steam wand in your kitchen, use one of the following techniques for frothing milk.
- Microwave: To make foamed milk in the microwave, first shake the milk in a jar to generate foam. After the foam has formed, microwave the jar for a few seconds to stabilize the foam and keep it from collapsing back into the milk. To produce the fluffiest foam possible, use low-fat milk rather than whole-fat milk.
- French press: Pour your milk into a saucepan on the stovetop and bring it to a simmer, stirring occasionally to keep a thin top layer from forming. Once you begin to see steam come from the milk, turn the heat off. Next, pour your heated milk into the French press, filling the device no more than a third of the way full. Place the lid on the French press, then rapidly pump the plunger up and down until the milk becomes more voluminous and foamy.
How to Assemble the Macchiato
Once you've made both components of your macchiato, it'll be time to put it all together. Carefully pour the milk into the espresso and spoon your desired amount of foam on top. It might take a bit of practice to figure out the exact espresso-to-foam ratio that suits your tastes, but that means more macchiatos for you!
How to Make a Macchiato With an Espresso Machine and Steam Wand
If you are lucky enough to own an espresso machine and steam wand, whipping up a macchiato at home will be a breeze. Follow the straightforward directions below to achieve macchiato nirvana.
What You Will Need
Gather these supplies before you begin the process of making your macchiato:
- Whole dark roast coffee beans
- A kitchen scale
- A burr grinder set to fine
- An espresso machine
- A tamper
- A steam wand
After you've assembled your macchiato-making equipment and ingredients, follow these five easy steps.
- Turn on the espresso machine and leave it to heat up while you prepare the coffee beans.
- Use the kitchen scale to weigh how many coffee beans you'll need for a shot or two of espresso, depending on the size of your espresso machine's portafilter and your taste.
- Grind the measured-out coffee beans on your coffee grinder's finest possible setting until they become almost powdery.
- Once the espresso machine is hot, remove the portafilter, then pour your freshly ground coffee into it and use the tamper to tightly pack it.
- Follow the machine's settings to pull the espresso shot.
How to Make Foamed Milk With a Steam Wand
If you have a steam wand, you won't have any problem frothing up some delicious foam to go with your freshly pulled espresso. Check out these simple directions for foaming milk with a steam wand:
- Clear any excess water out of the steam wand.
- Pour your milk into a frothing pitcher.
- Submerge the steam wand into the pitcher, doing so quickly to avoid too much bubbling on the milk's surface.
- Keep using the steam wand to heat the milk until you feel the bottom of the pitcher getting hot, then remove the steam wand.
- Wipe down and blow out the steam wand.
How to Assemble the Macchiato
Now that you've got your espresso and your freshly frothed milk, all you have to do is put them together. Firmly tap the frothing pitcher against the counter to loosen the foam and swirl it into the milk before pouring the milk into your espresso. Use a spoon to add a few dollops of foam to top off your macchiato.
How to Make a Caramel Macchiato
On days you want something a bit fancier than a plain macchiato, try making a caramel macchiato to satisfy your sweet tooth. As long as you have some caramel sauce in your cupboard, whipping up a caramel macchiato at home is easy. While a caramel simple syrup will work just as well, using real caramel sauce will make your caramel macchiato taste that much more delicious.
To make a caramel macchiato, pour about a tablespoon of your caramel sauce into the bottom of a mug before adding espresso to the mug. The hot espresso shot will melt the caramel sauce and blend beautifully with it. Next, pour your frothed milk into the mug and spoon out some foam. Try drizzling some extra caramel sauce on top of the foam to complete the caramel macchiato-making process.
But why limit yourself to a caramel macchiato? Get creative with your macchiato-making and experiment with different flavors like vanilla, hazelnut, cinnamon, or even coconut. If you have the right kinds of syrup or flavoring, feel free to use your macchiato imagination!
How to Make an Iced Macchiato
You still need the occasional caffeine boost on the most scorching days of summer, but a steaming hot macchiato might not sound as appealing. In that case, try making an iced macchiato to cool down while you caffeinate. To make your macchiato an iced coffee, you'll need to fill your cup with ice before pouring in your milk, so the liquid remains cold. Then, you'll be able to add your espresso to finish up your iced macchiato masterpiece.
If you're in the mood for something icy cold and a little sweet, an iced caramel macchiato might be just the drink for you! Making an iced caramel macchiato is similar to preparing a regular iced macchiato, but you begin by pumping some vanilla simple syrup into the bottom of the glass, followed by the milk, so it can thoroughly mix with the syrup. A vanilla-flavored simple syrup makes a better sweetener for an iced caramel macchiato than genuine caramel sauce because the caramel will not have a chance to heat up to help it dissolve into the milk.
After you've put both the vanilla simple syrup and milk into your cup, you can add the ice. Next, pour the espresso on top of the ice — whether you wait for the espresso to cool or pour it in while still warm is up to you. Finally, drizzle a bit of caramel sauce on top of the iced macchiato to give it the delicious caramel flavor that characterizes an iced caramel macchiato.
How to Make a Latte Macchiato
After you've mastered making a regular caffe macchiato, you might want to try your hand at a latte macchiato. Flipping the caffe macchiato on its head, a latte macchiato stains steamed milk with espresso, instead of vice versa. A latte macchiato contains more milk than a caffe macchiato, and tastes less strongly of coffee.
To make a latte macchiato at home, start by frothing milk using whatever method is most convenient for you and filling a glass about a third to half of the way full with the steamed milk. Once the hot milk is in the glass, you'll be able to add the espresso. The secret to incorporating the espresso into a latte macchiato is pouring incredibly slowly to achieve the latte macchiato's signature layered look. When done correctly, a latte macchiato will have the distinct gradient of a thicker steamed bottom to the middle espresso layer, finished with a layer of foamy topping.
How to Make a Macchiato With an Espresso Pod Machine
If you have an espresso pod machine, your macchiato-making process will require even fewer steps than a regular homemade macchiato recipe. To make a macchiato with a machine, put away the espresso grinder. Instead, insert your coffee pod into the machine and run it until the espresso finishes brewing. While the espresso pod is doing its work, froth your milk by using the attached steam nozzle.
Once you've frothed the milk and your espresso is ready, you can begin combining your macchiato components. Gently pour some of the frothed milk into your espresso and top it off with a dollop of foam. The amount of milk added should equal only about half a cup of espresso. Use the extra time to sprinkle your macchiato with chocolate shavings, whipped cream, or anything else fun!
Use Espresso Pods From Real Good Coffee Company for Your Homemade Macchiato
Next time you make a macchiato at home, use espresso pods from Real Good Coffee Company to give your macchiato the richest flavor possible. At Real Good Coffee Co, we don't add anything to our coffees, so you can experience their pure, naturally occurring flavors. Along with delighting your taste buds, the 100% recyclable and 100% satisfaction guarantees that come with all Real Good Coffee Co products make our espresso pods excellent for the planet and your wallet, too.