What Is A Caramel Macchiato? Tips and Tricks

If you’re a coffee fanatic, you’ve probably heard of the caramel macchiato. But what exactly is this mouth-watering beverage? At its core, a caramel macchiato is a classic espresso drink that’s made by combining steamed milk and rich, bold shots of espresso. The name macchiato actually translates to “stained,” which refers to the shot of espresso that’s added on top of the milk.

But what sets the caramel macchiato apart from other espresso drinks is the touch of sweet, caramel flavor that’s added to the mix. It’s no wonder that this delicious drink has become a fan favorite at coffee shops around the world.

What is a Caramel Macchiato?

What is a Caramel Macchiato

A Caramel Macchiato is a popular coffee beverage that has become a staple for coffee lovers worldwide. It’s a rich, creamy, and sweet espresso drink topped with a smooth layer of frothed milk and drizzled with caramel sauce. The name ‘Macchiato’ comes from the Italian word ‘macchiare,’ which means to ‘stain or mark.’ Therefore, a Caramel Macchiato translates to ‘caramel marked’ in Italian.

To make a Caramel Macchiato, a barista starts by pulling a shot of espresso, which is a concentrated coffee brewed by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans using high pressure. The espresso shot forms the base of the drink. Then, steamed milk is added to the espresso to create a velvety texture. The milk is often frothed to create a layer of microfoam, which adds a luxurious feel to the drink.

A Caramel Macchiato is then topped with a generous drizzle of caramel sauce, which is made by heating sugar until it melts and turns golden brown. The caramel is then mixed with cream to create a smooth sauce that adds sweetness and flavor to the drink.

The layers of the Caramel Macchiato are visually appealing, with the espresso at the bottom, followed by the frothed milk and the caramel sauce on top. The drink is served in a clear glass cup, making it easy to see the beautiful layers.

Related article:
What is an Americano? A Guide to One of the Most Popular Espresso

What are the Benefits of Drinking Caramel Macchiatos?

Caramel macchiatos are a type of coffee drink that is made with espresso, steamed milk, and caramel syrup. They are a popular choice at cafes and coffee shops because they are both delicious and easy to drink.

While caramel macchiatos do contain some sugar and calories, they also offer some potential health benefits. Here are a few of the ways that drinking caramel macchiatos may be good for you:

  • Increased alertness and energy: Caramel macchiatos contain caffeine, which is a stimulant that can help to improve alertness and energy levels. Caffeine can also improve mood and cognitive function.
  • Improved metabolism: Caffeine can also boost metabolism, which means that your body burns more calories at rest. This can be helpful for weight loss or weight management.
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes: Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This may be due to the fact that coffee contains compounds that can help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.
  • Reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease: Coffee drinkers also have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. These are both neurodegenerative diseases that can cause a decline in cognitive function and motor skills.

It is important to note that caramel macchiatos are not a health food. They are a sugary drink that should be consumed in moderation. However, if you enjoy drinking caramel macchiatos, there is no need to feel guilty. Just be sure to choose a smaller size and to limit your intake to one or two drinks per day.

Here are some tips for making caramel macchiatos healthier:

  • Choose skim or low-fat milk instead of whole milk.
  • Ask for less caramel syrup.
  • Make your own caramel macchiato at home using healthier ingredients, such as unsweetened almond milk and homemade caramel sauce.
  • Enjoy your caramel macchiato as part of a balanced diet and lifestyle.

Difference Between a Caramel Macchiato vs. Caramel Latte

Caramel Macchiato vs. Caramel Latte

Caramel macchiatos and caramel latte are both popular espresso-based drinks, but they have some key differences.

Caramel Macchiato

  • Made with espresso, vanilla syrup, steamed milk, and caramel drizzle
  • Has a layered appearance, with the caramel drizzle on top
  • Sweeter than a latte due to the vanilla syrup
  • Less espresso than a latte, giving it a more balanced flavor


  • Made with espresso and steamed milk
  • Foam is added on top, giving it a creamy texture
  • Not as sweet as a caramel macchiato
  • More espresso than a caramel macchiato, giving it a stronger coffee flavor

Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between the two drinks:

CharacteristicCaramel MacchiatoLatte
MilkSteamed milk and foamSteamed milk and foam
SweetenerVanilla syrupNone
FlavorSweeter, more balancedStronger coffee flavor
AppearanceLayered, with caramel drizzle on topCreamy, with foam on top

Which drink is right for you depends on your personal preferences. If you prefer a sweeter drink with a more balanced flavor, then a caramel macchiato is a good choice. If you prefer a stronger coffee flavor, then a latte is a better option.

How many calories are in a Caramel Macchiato?

A Caramel Macchiato is a coffee drink made with espresso, vanilla syrup, steamed milk, and a caramel drizzle. It is a popular drink at coffee shops such as Starbucks and McDonald’s.

The number of calories in a Caramel Macchiato can vary depending on the size of the drink and the type of milk used. For example, a small Caramel Macchiato from McDonald’s with whole milk has 260 calories, while a large Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks with whole milk has 320 calories.

If you are trying to reduce your calorie intake, there are a few ways to make your Caramel Macchiato lower in calories. One option is to choose a smaller size. You can also ask for skim milk or almond milk instead of whole milk. Additionally, you can skip the caramel drizzle or ask for less of it.

Here is a table of the number of calories in a Caramel Macchiato from different coffee shops and sizes:

Coffee ShopSizeCalories

It is important to note that the calorie information above is just an estimate. The actual number of calories in your Caramel Macchiato may vary depending on the specific ingredients and preparation methods used.

Origin and History of the Caramel Macchiato

The caramel macchiato originated in Italy, where it was originally known as a “caffè macchiato”. The word macchiato translates to “stained” or “marked,” which refers to the process of adding a small amount of milk foam or steamed milk to an espresso shot. This drink was then transformed in the United States when Starbucks introduced their version of the drink, the caramel macchiato, in 1996.

Examples of Caramel Macchiato Variations

The beauty of the caramel macchiato is its versatility. There are several variations that can be made to suit different tastes. Here are a few examples:

  • Iced Caramel Macchiato: This is the perfect drink for hot summer days. Instead of steamed milk, cold milk is used, and the drink is served over ice.
  • Coconut Caramel Macchiato: This variation substitutes the vanilla syrup with coconut syrup for a tropical twist.
  • Cinnamon Dolce Caramel Macchiato: By replacing the vanilla syrup with cinnamon dolce syrup, this variation offers a warm and spicy flavor.

Making the Perfect Caramel Macchiato at Home

To make the perfect caramel macchiato, you will need:

  • 1 shot of espresso (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup of steamed milk
  • 1 tablespoon of caramel sauce
  • Whipped cream, for garnish


  1. Drizzle the caramel sauce into the bottom of a glass mug.
  2. Pour in the espresso.
  3. Gently steam the milk until it is frothy.
  4. Pour the steamed milk into the glass, over the espresso.
  5. Spoon the whipped cream on top of the milk foam.
  6. Drizzle additional caramel sauce over the whipped cream, if desired.

Tips for making the perfect caramel macchiato:

  • Use fresh, high-quality espresso beans.
  • Steam the milk until it is frothy and hot, but not boiling.
  • Pour the espresso slowly and carefully into the milk, so that it forms a layer on top.
  • Be careful not to over-mix the drink, or you will lose the layered effect.
  • Garnish with whipped cream and caramel sauce, if desired.

Here are some additional tips for making a caramel macchiato at home:

  • If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can use a strong coffee instead. Just double the amount of coffee that you use.
  • To steam the milk without an espresso machine, you can use a handheld milk frother or a whisk. Simply heat the milk in a saucepan until it is hot, then use the frother or whisk to create foam.
  • If you want to make a flavored caramel macchiato, you can add a few drops of vanilla extract or another flavoring to the milk before steaming it.
  • You can also get creative with your toppings. Try drizzling chocolate sauce or hazelnut syrup over your caramel macchiato, or adding a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg.

With a little practice, you’ll be making caramel macchiatos at home like a pro!

Comparing Caramel Macchiato to Other Coffee Drinks

Caramel macchiato is a popular coffee drink made with espresso, steamed milk, and caramel syrup. It is typically served in a glass with a layer of espresso on top, followed by a layer of steamed milk and caramel sauce.

Caramel macchiato is similar to other coffee drinks in terms of its basic ingredients, but it differs in terms of flavor, sweetness, and milk-to-espresso ratio.

Here is a comparison of caramel macchiato to other popular coffee drinks:

  • Latte: A latte is made with espresso and steamed milk, but it does not have any added flavorings. A latte has a higher milk-to-espresso ratio than a caramel macchiato, making it a creamier and less concentrated drink.
  • Vanilla latte: A vanilla latte is made with espresso, steamed milk, and vanilla syrup. It is similar to a caramel macchiato in terms of flavor, but it does not have the caramel sauce drizzle on top.
  • Mocha: A mocha is made with espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate syrup. It is richer and sweeter than a caramel macchiato, due to the addition of chocolate.
  • Cappuccino: A cappuccino is made with espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. It has a higher milk-to-espresso ratio than a caramel macchiato, and it is topped with a thick layer of foamed milk.
  • Americano: An Americano is made with espresso and hot water. It is a strong, coffee-forward drink with little to no milk.

Which coffee drink is right for you?

The best coffee drink for you depends on your personal preferences. If you like a sweet and flavorful coffee drink with a strong espresso taste, then a caramel macchiato is a good choice. If you prefer a creamier and less concentrated coffee drink, then a latte or cappuccino may be a better option. If you are looking for a strong, coffee-forward drink with little to no milk, then an Americano is a good choice.

You can also customize your coffee drink to your liking. For example, you can ask for more or less espresso, milk, or flavoring. You can also try different types of milk, such as whole milk, low-fat milk, or skim milk.

Tips and Tricks for Making Your Own Caramel Macchiato at Home

While you can always visit your local Starbucks for a caramel macchiato, it’s also possible to make this delicious beverage at home. Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure a perfect homemade caramel macchiato:

  • Use high-quality coffee beans and grind them fresh for the best flavor.
  • Heat the milk to the right temperature (around 150-155°F), and use a frother or whisk to create the foam.
  • Drizzle the caramel sauce on top of the foam in a circular motion for an even distribution.
  • Consider adding a pinch of sea salt to the caramel sauce for a unique flavor twist.

Recommended Caramel Macchitato Coffee

Starbucks by Nespresso Dark Roast Espresso

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Each box contains 10 light-roast capsules, for a total of 50 capsules for your Nespresso Vertuo machine. Crafted with expert precision, this custom blend brings together flavors from Latin America and Asia/Pacific, creating a unique caramelized sugar profile that’s neither too acidic nor too bitter.

Brew up a shot when you need it, savoring the taste and aroma without having to brew an entire pot. Plus, get peace of mind knowing these pods are recyclable through the Nespresso program – so you can enjoy Starbucks quality coffee while making each day more sustainable. Make every cup enjoyable with Starbucks by Nespresso dark roast espresso capsules – crafted just for you!

Key & Features:

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  • Feel like a professional barista with perfect espresso shots at home


Thanks for reading about What is a Caramel Macchiato? It’s undeniable that this popular beverage has become one of the most popular items in coffee houses around the world. With its sweet and creamy flavor, it’s a perfect way to relax and treat yourself. Plus, you can enjoy it in the comfort of your own home! By now, you should have all the information needed to make an informed decision about purchasing a Caramel Macchiato.

Whether you choose to buy premade or craft your own version at home, you can look forward to enjoying a delicious cup of this unique beverage. You can further experiment by adding extra ingredients such as vanilla extract or chai tea flavoring for added depth of flavor. There are many options available online, so you should consider one of them for your final purchase. The choice is yours – enjoy!

FAQs About Caramel Macchiatos

1. Is a caramel macchiato stronger than a latte?

Both drinks contain the same amount of espresso, but a caramel macchiato has less milk than a latte. This means that a caramel macchiato may have a stronger coffee flavor.

2. Is a caramel macchiato sweet?

Yes, a caramel macchiato is sweet due to the addition of vanilla syrup and caramel sauce.

3. Can I make a caramel macchiato without an espresso machine?

While it’s ideal to use an espresso machine for a true caramel macchiato, it’s possible to make a similar drink using strongly brewed coffee as a substitute.

4. Is a caramel macchiato gluten-free?

The ingredients in a classic caramel macchiato are gluten-free, but some variations may contain additional ingredients that are not gluten-free.

5. How many calories are in a caramel macchiato?

A grande (16 oz) caramel macchiato from Starbucks contains approximately 250 calories.

6. What is a Starbucks caramel macchiato?

A Starbucks caramel macchiato is a coffee beverage made with espresso, steamed milk, vanilla syrup, and topped with a caramel drizzle. It is one of the most popular drinks at Starbucks and can be served hot or iced. The drink has a sweet and creamy flavor that is sure to please any coffee lover.

7. Does a caramel macchiato have coffee?

Yes, a caramel macchiato contains espresso. The espresso is the base of the drink and provides the coffee flavor. It is combined with steamed milk and vanilla syrup for a sweet and creamy flavor. A caramel drizzle finishes off the beverage.

8. Is macchiato the strongest coffee?

No, a macchiato is not the strongest coffee. A macchiato is an espresso-based beverage made with one shot of espresso and a small amount of steamed milk. This makes it slightly weaker than other espresso-based beverages such as lattes and cappuccinos, which contain two shots of espresso and more steamed milk.

9. Are macchiatos stronger than latte?

Yes, macchiatos are stronger than lattes. This is because they contain one shot of espresso while lattes contain two shots of espresso. Macchiatos also contain less steamed milk than lattes, which further contributes to their stronger flavor. If you’re looking for a strong coffee beverage, then a macchiato might be right for you

10. Can I make a caramel macchiato with cold brew?

Yes, you can make a caramel macchiato with cold brew. To do this, simply replace the espresso shot with two ounces of cold brew and proceed to add the vanilla syrup, steamed milk, and caramel drizzle as usual. The result will be a delicious and creamy coffee beverage witha slightly different flavor profile than the traditional version.

11. Is a caramel macchiato vegan?

Yes, the classic recipe for a caramel macchiato is typically vegan. To make sure your drink adheres to a plant-based diet, be sure to ask for non-dairy milk such as almond or coconut milk and opt for a vegan caramel sauce. Alternatively, you can make your own caramel macchiato at home using vegan-friendly ingredients like almond milk and maple syrup.


I’m Kara Chavez, and I love coffee. I like to create some of the best coffees around – espressos, lattes, macchiatos – you name it. I strive for perfection in my coffee-making skills, and I take great pride in providing a delicious cup of joe to my customers.

I’ve been working in the coffee industry for years now, and I know everything there is to know about making a perfect cup of coffee. My passion for coffee shines through in every cup that I make, and I hope that you’ll stop by soon so that I can share my love of coffee with you!

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