Size Matters: The True Identity of the Macchiato

One of Starbucks most popular drinks ever is the caramel macchiato. This drink is jam packed with espresso, milk, caramel and is, honestly, very tasty; but is that 16 oz macchiato actually a macchiato?
This use to be the only drink I would ever order when going to Starbucks.  Starbucks does an excellent job marketing at least the term "macchiato".  Just earlier this year they launched their most recent take with their Cloud Macchiato.  The macchiato was familiar, it was safe.  I remember going to a coffee shop in Tulsa, Foolish Things, and ordering a large caramel macchiato and the barista said "there isn’t a large",  "there's only one size". I felt very confused but....just went with it.   A few minutes later my name was called and I was served a 3 oz "coffee looking" drink.   Very confused I asked what it was and the barista responded, “it’s a macchiato".   I went back to my seat with my little drink, tried it and fell in love.  It sparked an interest and I went home to do a little research to see what the heck a macchiato was. 
Foolish Things Coffee

So, what is a macchiato exactly?

My idea of a macchiato was Starbucks presentation; a large sweet drink.

First, the word itself “macchiato” in Italian means "marked".

A macchiato by definition is a double shot of espresso, “marked” with foam milk. A double shot of espresso can range just about anywhere from 1.5 oz to 2 oz, top that off with some foamed milk or steamed milk and you have a drink that is about 3 oz. This is a traditional macchiato.

Many big-name companies use the term macchiato very loosely which allows for them to make bigger drinks and push past the traditional 3 oz presentation.  In coffee, once a drink passes about 4 oz you begin to get closer to cappuccinos and lattes.  Don’t get me wrong, the Starbucks caramel macchiato is delicious, its just not a traditional one.  So, next time you’re in a coffee shop and order a macchiato and the barista tells you it will only be about 3 oz; you will know why.

As a barista, we try our hardest to not be pretentious.  However, explaining this drink to customers when its ordered can seem a bit pretentious. We typically do that just to make sure the customer is not disappointed when their drink is served to them. Coffee enthusiasts seem to almost speak their own language it seems when ordering and talking about coffee. Many people are nervous to sound dumb when ordering or don’t want to ask the barista questions because they want to feel a part of that vibe. Here at our shop you've got baristas that love to talk coffee and love when people ask questions.  I highly recommend going to a cool coffee shop near you and asking about a macchiato.  Here at EVERYMAN we want to be a part of your coffee life.  Feel at ease asking questions with ZERO judgement and explore the wonderful world of coffee with us.

Jake Sanders 
EVERYMAN Director of Coffee Experience 

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