Your ultimate macchiato guide

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What is a macchiato?

Your ultimate macchiato guide

The macchiato has emerged as a firm favourite among coffee drinkers in cafes, offices and homes alike. But what exactly is a Macchiato? We’ve got the ultimate guide on this popular drink.

ultimate macchiato guide

What exactly is a macchiato?

Like many of the great coffees out there, the macchiato (pronounced mah-key-AH-toe) is of Italian origin. It is one of the simplest coffees to make, rivalled only by the classic espresso. It consists of a single shot of espresso, a small splash of milk, a delicate foam top and is served in a demitasse glass.

What is a long macchiato?

The long macchiato, or macchiato topped up, is a simple variation of the traditional drink. It refers to the amount of liquid you’re served – either double the espresso or a little extra milk.

Why is it called a macchiato?

The name is a reflection of how the coffee is made. The word macchiato roughly translates to ‘stained’ or ‘marked’ and the drink is completed when the barista marks or stains a double espresso shot and small amount of warm milk with a foam top.

The reason for marking the drink is simple. When the crema of an espresso shot mixes with a small dash of milk, it looks almost identical to a regular espresso. This can cause confusion for the busy barista so, the barista marks the macchiato with dollop of foam on top.

What does macchiato taste like?

The macchiato is an intense coffee with a subtle milky sweetness. This makes it the perfect option for anyone who finds an espresso a little too intense but finds a cappuccino too milky. Its small portion size also makes it perfect as an after-dinner treat.

What is the difference between a macchiato and a latte?

Macchiatos are more intense to taste than lattes. This is due to the quantity of milk in each drink. A macchiato is an espresso shot topped with a small splash of milk and a foamy top, and is served in a demitasse glass. A latte is a milkier coffee made with roughly one third espresso and two thirds steamed milk, and is served in a tall latte glass.

Which coffee should you use in a macchiato?

The beauty of using a Nespresso machine to make your macchiato is that you can tailor every coffee to your personal preferences. You could choose a deep and intense flavour such as the Ispirazione Roma blend or you could opt for something lighter with Volluto. With Nespresso, you have the flexibility to adapt every single macchiato you make to just how you like it. But, if you’re unsure, here are a few of our favourite macchiato recipes along with some suggestions on capsule selection.

Ispirazione Roma

Full and Balanced. The balance of lightly roasted South and Central American Arabicas with Robusta, gives Ispirazione Roma coffee capsules sweet and woody notes and a full, lasting taste on the palate.

Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio

Intense and creamy With an intensity of 9/12 this strong and creamy coffee capsule works beautifully in a macchiato.


Sweet and creamy This sweet and creamy capsule is the perfect option for anybody who prefers a lighter approach to the macchiato. With an intensity rating of 4/12 you can expect a delicately balanced flavour.

Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano

A blend of South American and East African Arabicas, with a touch of Robusta, roasted separately to create the subtle fruity note of this full-bodied, intense espresso.

Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano Decaffeinato

Powerful and contrasting with a hint of fruity. Intensely roasted and rich in flavour, Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano Decaffeinato has the same powerful character and contrasting taste as the original Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano. A selection of the best Latin American and East African Arabicas is sophisticatedly blended with a touch of Robusta, roasted separately to create the subtle fruity note of this full bodied, intense Espresso.

Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar

Exceptionally Intense and Syrup. A daring blend of two Robustas from Brazil and Guatemala and a separately roasted Arabica from South America, Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar is a coffee capsule of exceptional intensity. Its powerful bitterness and notes of pepper are balanced by a full and creamy texture.

Which milk should you use in a macchiato?

The main feature of a traditional macchiato is the foamy milk mark on the top of the drink. In order to recreate this, you need to use a milk that foams well. Generally speaking full cream milk stretches and foams the best. But like all things coffee, your personal preference is the most important thing to consider. See our guide to milk frothing for more.

How to make a macchiato at home

One of the most important points of consideration when making a macchiato is the quality of coffee. Each Nespresso capsule contains specially selected ground coffee from coffee farms around the world. Nespresso chooses the best quality coffee beans from over 100,000 farmers, all committed to cultivating rare beans and delivering the best flavour to you.

The coffee capsules are hermetically sealed, meaning they’re airtight and guarantee the coffee within the capsules is as fresh as the day it was ground

Once you have selected your preferred capsule, the coffee making process is relatively easy – simply prepare your espresso shot, add a splash of milk and mark the espresso with a touch of foam – it’s that simple.

Should you mix a macchiato?

A traditional macchiato is not mixed so to maintain the foamy mark on top. However, if you do choose to mix, the coffee will cool slightly as the foam mixes with the espresso.

Our favourite macchiato recipes

Macchiato recipe featuring Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar

Nespresso Latte Art

The ideal choice for anybody who enjoys the integrity of a short black with a touch of creaminess.


  • 1 Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar coffee capsule
  • 15ml of milk

How to make

1) Extract the Ispirazione Palermo Kazaar coffee capsule as an espresso.

2) Heat and froth your choice of milk using your Aeroccino milk frother,Lattissima or Creatista coffee machine.

3) Prepare a small quantity of milk and pour very slowly against the rim of the cup.

4) Spoon a small amount of froth to the centre of the espresso to 'mark' the crema.

Long macchiato

Nespresso’s coffee is the star ingredient in this recipe. This macchiato is a delicious blend of rich, coffee aroma with the velvety creaminess of milk foam. It might seem simply with only two ingredients but this macchiato is full of complex flavour.


  • 2capsules of either Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio, Volluto or Decaffeinato coffee
  • Sugar to taste
  • 20 ml of milk
  • Chocolate flakes to taste

How to make

1) Prepare two Espressos (2 x 40 ml) in a cappuccino cup and sweeten to taste

2) Add a dash of hot milk froth prepared using the steam nozzle of your Nespresso machine or the Aeroccino milk frother

3) To give the macchiato average mildness, the quantity of milk froth added should be about 20 ml, or the equivalent of a half cup of Espresso

4) Sprinkle chocolate flakes on the froth and enjoy!

How to make an iced macchiato

Nespresso macchiato on ice

The delicious intensity of the classic Macchiato with a little more chill.


  • 90g of ice
  • 1 Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano coffee capsule
  • 20ml of cold milk

How to make

  • Place ice cubes into your glass/mug
  • Add 40 ml of Ispirazione Ristretto Italiano coffee
  • Froth 90 ml of cold milk using your Aeroccino milk frother or the steam wand of your Nespresso machine
  • Pour the milk on the top of your coffee and finish with a froth stain on top.

The final word on macchiatos

Nespresso machines make the coffee-making experience easy. Whether you’re a macchiato drinker through and through or only indulge in the intense brew every now and then, there’s a machine that’s perfectly suited to your needs.

Which coffee machine is right for you?

Use our coffee machine buying guide to find your perfect match.

Nespresso coffee is sourced from some of the best coffee growing regions from across the world. This includes Colombia, Brazil, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Kenya, India and Mexico.

Want to know more about Nespresso’s world of coffee blends?

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