Cappuccino vs. Macchiato: The Battle of the Italian Coffee Classics

crazy by Editorial Staff | Posted on March 30th, 2023

If you are a coffee lover or a regular in coffee shops, you have probably heard the terms “macchiato” and “cappuccino.” Even though they contain espresso and milk, they differ in how they are prepared and served. 

In this blog post, we’ll explain the difference between the two popular coffee drinks – cappuccino and macchiato – and help you choose which is right for you based on your preferences. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned coffee enthusiast, keep reading to learn more about these classic coffee beverages.

Macchiato Vs Cappuccino

What are espresso-based drinks?

Regarding coffee, espresso-based drinks are some of the most popular choices. These drinks use an espresso shot as the base ingredient and add milk and other flavors to create various options. 

The most common of these drinks include cappuccino, latte, and macchiato. The flavor profile of each drink depends heavily on the amount and type of milk used. 

It’s important to note that they are typically served in smaller quantities than regular coffee, making them a great option for those who prefer a quick, strong caffeine fix. 


The macchiato is the way for those who prefer a stronger coffee option. It’s a popular option for those who need a little more energy boost throughout the day. Its smaller serving size makes it a quick and easy option for those on the go. Whether you’re a die-hard coffee lover or just looking to switch up your regular order, the macchiato is worth trying.

How is it made

  • Start by pulling a shot of espresso. This involves forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee beans at high pressure, resulting in a concentrated, flavorful shot of coffee.
  • Pour the shot of espresso into a small cup or glass.
  • Add a small amount of steamed milk using a spoon. The milk should be “marked” with a dollop of foam on top, which is where the name “macchiato” comes from – it means “marked” or “stained” in Italian.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Note that variations of the macchiato, such as the latte macchiato or the caramel macchiato, are made with vanilla syrup, steamed milk, espresso, and caramel sauce.


Cappuccino is a type of coffee beverage that originated in Italy. It is made with espresso and steamed milk, topped with frothed milk. The drink is named after the Capuchin friars, who wore brown hoods similar to the drink’s light brown color.

How is it made

  • Start by brewing a shot of espresso (about 1-2 ounces) into a preheated cappuccino cup.
  • Next, steam about 6 ounces of milk in a milk frother until it reaches a creamy and velvety texture.
  • Pour the steamed milk over the espresso shot, holding back the foam with a spoon to achieve a smooth and even texture.
  • Using a spoon, scoop some frothed milk from the frother and layer it on top of the steamed milk.
  • If desired, sprinkle some cocoa powder or cinnamon over the frothed milk.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy your delicious cappuccino!

Key differences

As previously discussed, several key differences exist when comparing macchiato vs. cappuccino. 

Serving size

When it comes to serving size, macchiatos, and cappuccinos differ slightly. Macchiatos are typically smaller in size, usually around 60ml per serving, compared to cappuccinos which are usually around 16 ounces or 480 grams per serving. 

However, what they lack in size, macchiatos make up for in strength, as they contain approximately 85 mg of caffeine in each serving. On the other hand, cappuccinos are larger and typically contain around 173 mg of caffeine per serving. It all comes down to personal preference and what you need from your coffee. 

Milk texture and proportion

Regarding the difference between macchiato and cappuccino, milk texture and proportion are important factors. A macchiato contains very little milk and is marked with a small amount of foam. 

On the other hand, cappuccino contains a higher proportion of milk, which gives it a lighter texture. The milk in the cappuccino is steamed to create a thicker foam layer. 

Espresso strength

Macchiatos are known for being stronger and more acidic due to their use of just one shot of espresso. On the other hand, cappuccinos are typically made with equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam, resulting in a slightly milder taste. The strength of the espresso can greatly impact the overall flavor profile of the drink.

Which one to choose?

When choosing between a macchiato and a cappuccino, it ultimately comes down to the following:

Time of day

Italians usually prefer to drink espresso later in the day as it is believed to aid digestion, making a macchiato the perfect choice for an afternoon or evening pick-me-up. 

On the other hand, a cappuccino is the preferred choice for breakfast or early morning as it provides a delicious, creamy, and satisfying start to the day. 

Purpose of drinking coffee

When it comes to the purpose of drinking coffee, it ultimately depends on the individual’s preferences and needs. For some, the caffeine boost is necessary to power through a long workday or jump-start their morning routine. Preparing and indulging in a delicious drink is a moment of self-care and relaxation for others. 

Regardless, choosing between a macchiato and a cappuccino can fulfill the coffee-drinking experience’s purpose.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.