Most often, a macchiato order is interchangeable with an espresso macchiato — the first version of the drink. It comes served in a demitasse, a small cup that holds around two to three fluid ounces. It’s typically prepared with a single shot of espresso, that’s then topped with a couple of teaspoons of foam. In fact, the Italian name macchiato translates to stained, referring to just the dollop of milk that’s combined with the coffee.
Nowadays, many specialty coffee shops, especially in the U.S., serve espresso macchiatos with two shots. Of all milk-based coffees, the drink is the best to enjoy the flavor and finesse of a pulled espresso. Not only full-bodied in taste, but it’s also the most prone to showcase any inconsistencies in the coffee. As a result, a well-crafted espresso macchiato is a true testament to a barista’s skill.
As with many creations in the coffee world, the drink is subject to a multitude of regional variations and barista deviations. Order a macchiato in Australia, and you’ll be served a shot in a large glass with only a dash of textured milk. Meanwhile, in North America, a macchiato will still arrive in an espresso cup but will contain closer to one to one ratio of milk to coffee.