Espresso Macchiato is one of the most contested drinks in café history. Here in Oz, you can be served it in a million different ways with baristas often plonking down something that looks a lot more like a glass of milk with a shot of espresso than an espresso macchiato. But what’s the authentic (read Italian) way of preparing an Espresso Macchiato?
Naturally it’s all about personal preference, but in Australia, an Espresso Macchiato is most often interpreted as more of a mini foamy flat white. An espresso glass holds about 60ml of coffee. Obviously that’s quite a strong shot of caffeine all on its own, so Aussie baristas preparing an Espresso Macchiato will make a classic espresso, which is about 20ml of coffee then top the rest of the glass up with foamy milk. In that way, the ratio is inverted, so you have more milk than espresso, but it’s an infinitely milder drink if you’re not used to the strong and intense flavour of an espresso.
But that is most definitely not how they prepare it in Italy. When we first arrived in Florence, Espresso Macchiatos were not on the menu. For starters, ordering an Espresso Macchiato is a little redundant. You really only need to ask for a Macchiato. The barista won’t ask you how you like it. They’ll just prepare it the way they always prepare it – 20ml of really short espresso and a teaspoon of warmed foamy milk to soften the edges and sweeten out the coffee flavour so you don’t need to add sugar. It can be a little disappointing when your tiny shot glass of half filled coffee arrives at the bar counter, but that’s a true Macchiato. Plus they only cost €1.10 at a bar in Italy unlike the upwards of $5 you’d pay for a Macchiato in Australia, which softens the blow a bit.
You don’t need to be a barista to make an Espresso Macchiato at home and if you’ve never had a true one then we definitely recommend you give it a go at home. Unlike cappuccinos, lattes or (heaven forbid) flat whites, you can enjoy a Macchiato at any time of the day or evening. There’s no stigma to getting one, so feel free to order as many as you like next time you’re in Italy.
We’re using Gran Caffé Garibaldi Gusto Top for our Macchiato. The end notes of cloves, lemon and chocolate add the perfect sweetness. Plus it’s 100% Arabica, which means you get a really nice and intense espresso with plenty of smoothness.grab a box
Making an Espresso Macchiato at home in 5 easy steps:
- Okay, so to make an Espresso Macchiato at home, you need your coffee pod machine warm and ready. Pour some boiling water into a small espresso shot glass and set it aside.
- Froth about 100ml of milk. You definitely won’t need it all, but it’s easier to froth a larger amount. If you don’t have a milk frother, you can achieve the same result with hot milk and a hand blender.
- Brew your espresso. Tip out the hot water and remember to tilt your espresso glass as the coffee pours out to get the perfect crema. You should only brew 20ml or 2 tablespoons of espresso. If you want to add sugar, you can.
We serve our Espresso Macchiato in an espresso shot glass as they do in Italy. It’s a super short drink, not something you linger over with a magazine. It’s a hit of espresso and a touch of milk that most Italians will drink standing up at the bar before they head back to the office.
4. Now that you have all the elements. Stir your milk to combine the foam and milk, then add one teaspoon to the top of your espresso. Don’t stir it. You should be able to see the milk leave a mark on the surface of the brown crema. Macchiato literally means ‘mark’ in Italian.
5. Serve your Macchiato with a spoon so the person drinking it can decide whether they want to stir in the milk or not.
If you want to make an Espresso Macchiato, topped up: Brew 20ml of espresso in an espresso glass, which is about 100ml and top with hot milk.
If you want to make an Espresso Macchiato Lungo, grab a latte glass and brew 20ml of espresso then top with frothed milk. You might want to make it a double espresso for strength!