Caramel Macchiato Vs Caramel Latte: Explained

crazy by Editorial Staff | Posted on April 3rd, 2023

Welcome, coffee lovers! Today, we’ll explore the delicious world of two beloved espresso-based drinks—the caramel macchiato and the caramel latte.

You’ve probably seen them on coffee shop menus, but have you ever wondered about the differences between these two caramel-infused delights? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Macchiato vs latte caramel

Let’s dive into the key differences, similarities, and tips for making these drinks like a pro.

A Tale of Two Caramel Drinks

First things first, what is a macchiato? In Italian, “macchiato” means “stained” or “spotted.” Traditionally, an espresso macchiato is a shot of espresso “stained” with a dollop of milk. But the caramel macchiato we know and love is a modern twist, featuring espresso, milk, vanilla syrup, and caramel drizzle, often served with a lovely foam on top.

On the other hand, a caramel latte is an espresso-based drink made with steamed milk, caramel syrup, and a shot of espresso. The key difference is in the order of ingredients and the type of syrup used. In a caramel latte, the espresso is poured first, followed by caramel syrup and milk. The result? A creamy and sweet coffee treat!

The Art of Layering: Caramel Macchiato

The beauty of a caramel macchiato lies in its layers. Start by pouring steamed milk into your cup, then add vanilla syrup. Next, carefully pour the espresso over the milk, creating a lovely contrast between the dark espresso and the light milk. Finally, drizzle caramel sauce on top for that signature finish. For an iced version, use cold milk and ice, and follow the same layering process!

The Creamy Classic: Caramel Latte

The caramel latte is all about that smooth, creamy texture. Begin by adding caramel syrup to your cup, followed by a shot of espresso. Finally, pour in steamed milk and give it a gentle stir. Want to go the extra mile? Top it off with whipped cream and an extra drizzle of caramel. To make it iced, just replace steamed milk with cold milk and add ice.

Caramel Macchiato Vs Caramel Latte: At a Glance

Caramel MacchiatoCaramel Latte
Espresso on TopYesNo
Caramel on TopYesOptional (whipped cream)
Syrup FlavorVanillaCaramel
Order of IngredientsMilk, Syrup, EspressoEspresso, Syrup, Milk
Layered PresentationYesNo

Barista Tips for the Perfect Drink

  • Steaming Milk: For rich foam, use full-fat milk, and start with a cold pitcher. Practice steaming until you achieve small, silky bubbles.
  • Espresso Shots: Aim for shots that take 25 to 30 seconds. Use freshly ground, high-quality Arabica beans for the best flavor.
  • Syrup to Espresso Ratio: One pump of syrup is roughly half a tablespoon. Adjust sweetness to your preference.

Popular Variations: Customize Your Drink

Caramel Macchiato Variations:

  • Iced Caramel Macchiato: Made with cold milk, ice, and served in a tall glass.
  • Extra Caramel: Drizzle extra caramel sauce for a sweeter treat.
  • Vanilla Bean: Use vanilla bean syrup for a more pronounced vanilla flavor.

Caramel Latte Variations:

  • aramel Mocha Latte: Add chocolate syrup for a chocolate-caramel fusion.
  • Salted Caramel Latte: Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top for a sweet and savory balance.
  • Cinnamon Caramel Latte: Add a dash of cinnamon for a warm, spiced twist.

Milk Options for Your Drink:

  • Whole Milk: Creates rich, creamy foam and a full-bodied texture.
  • Skim Milk: Results in a lighter texture with less fat and calories.
  • Oat Milk: A dairy-free alternative that froths well and has a natural sweetness.
  • Almond Milk: Another dairy-free option with a subtle nutty flavor.


  • Can I use caramel sauce instead of syrup? Absolutely! Caramel sauce is thicker and adds a luxurious touch.
  • Is a caramel macchiato just a reverse caramel latte? Yes, that’s one way to think of it! The order of ingredients is key to their distinct tastes.
  • Can I make it without caramel? Of course! Simply omit the caramel for a classic latte or vanilla macchiato.

A Sweet Note on Caramel

When it comes to adding that irresistible caramel flavor, you have options! You can use store-bought caramel syrup, drizzle some caramel sauce, or even make your own homemade caramel drizzle by melting caramel candies. If you’re watching your sugar intake, sugar-free caramel toppings are also available. Feel free to experiment with different types and brands to find the caramel that makes your taste buds sing!

Celebrating Individuality

The takeaway is that both caramel macchiatos and caramel lattes are delightful treats made with the same core ingredients—espresso, milk, and caramel—yet they offer two distinct taste experiences. Whether you prefer the layered elegance of a caramel macchiato or the cozy warmth of a caramel latte, there’s no right or wrong choice—just your personal preference.

The fun part of being a home barista is the freedom to experiment and customize. Once you’ve mastered the art of making these classic drinks, you can start exploring unique combinations, variations, and twists. From adding a hint of cinnamon to trying different milk alternatives, the possibilities are endless.

The Final Sip

Whether you’re a fan of the layered caramel macchiato or latte, you’re now equipped to enjoy these drinks to the fullest. So go ahead, experiment, and find your perfect cup of coffee bliss!

Thank you for joining us on this flavorful journey! We hope this guide has inspired you to explore and savor the world of coffee. And remember, the best cup of coffee is the one that brings a smile to your face.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.


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.