I was recently reading different peoples takes on what a macchiato is. Am i wrong or does no one know what it is? i thought it was a shot of espresso with a dollop of foam on top. 'Mark' in Italian = mark the espresso with the foam?

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Lots of discussions on this recently.

 

Italian tradition says it's a solo with stiff, dry foam on top.  In America we've moved to something more closely related to a half size cappuccino.  Who's right or wrong or misinformed depends on who you're talking to and where their opinions rest.

 

-bry

I've always understood it to classically mean exactly what Bryan explains, a single shot with a spoonful of foam on top to mark and sustain the shot.

 

More and more though I am seeing "macchiatos" being prepared as a small (around 4oz.) beverage more like a mini-capp.  I really think that it has more to do with our fascination with latte art more than anything else.

Our macchiato is a double shot with a dollop of foam, as you mentioned. But I feel like customers have gotten really confused as a result of the starbucks macchiato... But that's starbucks for you.

Just because there's debate on the precise definition of something doesn't mean that "no one knows what it is"... in the case of a drink like this (absent official Italian definition), there is some variation and interpretation.

 

I'm assuming that when you say "macchiato" you actually mean espresso macchiato or cafe macchiato? If so, then yes, cafe macchiato is usually espresso marked with milk or foam.

 

If you actually meant latte macchiato, then that is a different drink.

interesting.

you mean there is a difference in cafe' macchiato and espresso macchiato? (or did u mean the same?)

latte macchiato is like a latte but upside down then. shots on the foam like buxys caramel macchiato?

personally i never knew the recipe change over the years until today.

hamburger::triple bacon cheddar shroom burger

as

espresso macchiato::caramel macchiato

Sorry for the lack of clarity..

 

Yes, caffe' macchiato = espresso macchiato. I often (incorrectly) interchange the Italian and French spellings of coffee, for some strange reason.

 

Shouldn't post when rushed. Apologies again.

lance battenfield said:

interesting.

you mean there is a difference in cafe' macchiato and espresso macchiato? (or did u mean the same?)

latte macchiato is like a latte but upside down then. shots on the foam like buxys caramel macchiato?

personally i never knew the recipe change over the years until today.

I understand a macchiato as an espresso marked with foam. One of my preferred styles of coffee is the cortado, or piccolo, but unless I'm in a knowledgeable cafe, most places in London haven't heard of either of these. Usually when I describe either of these two drinks the response is "Oh!  A macchiato!".

 

Just to check: are "cortado" and "piccolo" names that people here use?  They seem to be interchangeable in my favourite coffee shops here in London.

For me, a Macchiato is:  two shots espresso with a tiny little bit of steamed milk and a little froth/foam. In my mind its not a mini-capp, only because the ratio of espresso to milk is much less than that of a traditional 5oz cappuccino. Since milk ratio's for the most part are all that differentiate Lattes, Cappuccinos, and Macchiatos; I am looking for almost 27% less milk product in my Macc than my Capp; and that my friend makes the taste of the espresso so much more prevalent and splendido.

 

That's my preference anyway.  Bellow is how I see it, but I am sure not every one will see it this way.

 

 

Yes, this.  

Mike Greene said:

I've always understood it to classically mean exactly what Bryan explains, a single shot with a spoonful of foam on top to mark and sustain the shot.

 

More and more though I am seeing "macchiatos" being prepared as a small (around 4oz.) beverage more like a mini-capp.  I really think that it has more to do with our fascination with latte art more than anything else.

I also heard it explained that the "marking" came about because the Italian espresso blends of old (and perhaps now, who knows) were of such high robusta content that any milk applied (granted it was not steamed per order) would sink below the crema, making it difficult to distinguish between a double espresso and a macchiato if the bar was particularly busy or if multiple drinks were ordered by the same person.  In the end they started "marking" the macchiatos with a little milk foam on the top so you could tell which is which.

 

This would actually make what we serve today in the USA (well, what a lot of us do... the 3 oz free pour beverage of new) much closer to the "traditional" than what we think.  It's not that milk wasn't poured into the beverage in the past in Italy, it's that the foam was applied afterward because the milk sank and the crema floated.

 

I don't know if this is true, and now, can't even remember where I heard it, but interesting none-the-less.

 

-bry

That is interesting.  I do think that the experience between the two different concepts is different enough to warrant two names for both drinks.  

 

I typically prefer the dollop of foam.  It's like a dessert a the end of your espresso rather than diluting the espresso with dairy.

Bryan Wray said:

I also heard it explained that the "marking" came about because the Italian espresso blends of old (and perhaps now, who knows) were of such high robusta content that any milk applied (granted it was not steamed per order) would sink below the crema, making it difficult to distinguish between a double espresso and a macchiato if the bar was particularly busy or if multiple drinks were ordered by the same person.  In the end they started "marking" the macchiatos with a little milk foam on the top so you could tell which is which.

 

This would actually make what we serve today in the USA (well, what a lot of us do... the 3 oz free pour beverage of new) much closer to the "traditional" than what we think.  It's not that milk wasn't poured into the beverage in the past in Italy, it's that the foam was applied afterward because the milk sank and the crema floated.

 

I don't know if this is true, and now, can't even remember where I heard it, but interesting none-the-less.

 

-bry

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