Americano vs Macchiato

9 min read MAR 14, 2022

Americanos and macchiatos are two of the most popular coffee drinks. There is something about these two coffee drinks that just seems to attract people.

Maybe it's their bittersweet yet delicious flavor that awakens your senses and gets you moving in the morning. Or maybe it's the sense of community you feel when you gather around a coffee shop with friends. No matter your reason for loving these two drinks, there's no doubt that they play an integral role in your life.

In this article, we'll explore the differences between americanos and macchiatos.

What This Article Covers:

What is Americano?

macchiato vs americano

To understand the difference between americanos and macchiatos, we first need to understand americano. An americano is a coffee drink that consists of espresso and hot water. They are mixed in a ratio of one part espresso to one part of hot water. The result is a rich, flavorful drink with a slightly bitter taste.

An americano is an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy the flavor of espresso without the added caffeine. If you're looking for a drink that will give you a little boost of energy in the morning, an americano is not the right choice for you.

It's worth noting that Americano doesn't contain milk of any kind. This is the main difference between an americano vs. a macchiato.

History of Americano

According to New York Times, the americano was born during World War II. American soldiers were stationed in Italy and were looking for a fix of coffee. The Italians, however, were unwilling to make the kind of filter coffee that American GIs had grown used to at home as they only drank espresso and latte.

To make an americano (coffee for an American), Italian baristas would make a regular shot of espresso and top it off with hot water and the new drink was born.

The result was a delicious yet simple coffee drink that soon became popular worldwide.

Variations of Americano

There are several variations of americano, including:

  • Iced Americano: This version of americano is made with cold water instead of hot. It is one of the most popular variations of this drink.
  • Lungo: This variation is made by extracting more espresso than usual. As a result, the drink is stronger but with fewer bitter flavors.
  • Caffè crema: This variation is made by adding more hot water to the espresso. As a result, the drink has a creamier texture and a sweeter flavor.
  • Red-eye: This variation is made with drip coffee in place of hot water. This makes the drink less bitter and more caffeinated. It is also called "short in the dark".

What is a Macchiato?

cappuccino vs latte vs americano

Macchiato is a coffee drink that is made with espresso and steamed milk. The drink's name comes from the Italian word "macchiato," which means stained or marked. This refers to the fact that macchiato has a shot of espresso in it that ‘stains’ the milk foam on top. This is the primary difference between a macchiato vs. latte vs. cappuccino.

While macchiatos are often served hot, they can also be enjoyed cold or frozen, depending on your preference. You can even make them at home if you have an espresso machine.

Macchiatos are known for their rich flavor and creamy texture. They're perfect for those who want something sweet without being too heavy-handed with sugar.

If you value healthy living, you can even use organic decaf coffee beans to make your macchiato. This will help you enjoy your coffee without any guilt.

But what's the difference between macchiato and latte? Most people use latte and macchiato interchangeably, but they're two different drinks. While both are made with espresso and steamed milk, a macchiato has less of it than lattes do.

They also tend to be sweeter than lattes because there's more foam on top (the part that gives them their unique shape).

History of Macchiato

Italian coffee shops in the 1950s first created macchiatos. The name came from an Italian word meaning "stained" or "marked." They were created to make espresso more palatable for those who weren't used to its strong flavor.

Macchiatos and espressos are often confused. A macchiato contains a shot of good espresso, with the addition of foamed milk.

latte vs cappuccino vs americano

Macchiato originated from baristas to show the difference between an espresso shot and an espresso with added milk. They used macchiatos as an excuse for charging more money per drink. This is because people were willing to pay extra for a specialty drink that looked more complicated than it was.

The main difference between cappuccino vs macchiato is that the former was exclusively created as a morning drink, while the latter was made to be consumed at any time of the day, especially in the afternoon.

Variations of Macchiato

There are several variations of macchiato, including:

  • Iced Macchiato: An iced macchiato is made with cold milk instead of hot. It's perfect for those who want something refreshing and sweet in the summer months. You can even add ice cubes to make it even cooler on a hot day or night out dancing until dawn at your favorite joint.
  • Caramel Macchiato: This variation includes caramel syrup in addition to the traditional ingredients used when making an espresso shot mixed with steamed milk foam and sugar. The ultimate indulgence for any coffee lover- especially if you're looking for something creamy, sweet, and delicious.
  • Caffe Macchiato: This variation is made by adding more espresso than usual. As a result, the drink is stronger but with fewer bitter flavors. It's perfect if you want something that packs a punch of caffeine without being too strong or bitter.
  • Latte Macchiato: A latte macchiato is made with a shot of espresso mixed into steamed milk and then topped off with more foam. It's essentially a latte with an extra layer of foam on top, and it's perfect if you're looking for something that's both creamy and coffee-flavored.

It's worth noting that there is a difference between latte and latte macchiato. A latte is simply espresso mixed with steamed milk, while a latte macchiato has an extra shot of espresso added.

Macchiato Flavor Variations

There are many macchiato flavor variations, including:

Cinnamon Macchiato: This variation includes cinnamon syrup and ground cinnamon topping for your espresso-based drink. It's perfect if you're looking for something sweet and spicy.

Mocha Macchiato: Mocha Macchiato is an espresso-based drink with chocolate syrup and steamed milk. It's perfect if you're looking for something that will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Vanilla Macchiato: Vanilla macchiato is made by adding vanilla syrup to an espresso shot mixed with steamed milk and foam.

Key Differences Between Americano vs Macchiato

macchiato vs latte vs cappuccino vs americano

From the information above, we can derive the following key differences between americano and macchiato:


In terms of flavor, an americano has a bolder and stronger taste. This is because it contains more espresso than a macchiato. On the other hand, a macchiato has a milder and sweeter flavor thanks to steamed milk and foam.


Americanos have a slightly stronger and more pronounced smell in terms of aroma. This is because they contain more espresso than macchiatos. Macchiatos have a milder and sweeter aroma thanks to the addition of steamed milk and foam.

Grind size

Even though both americanos and macchiatos require a fine grind size, the former requires a finer grind size as it contains more espresso. This is because americanos require a higher dose of coffee to water ratio during preparation.

Other Similar Coffees

Now that we have settled the battle between Americano vs. Macchiato, let's look at other coffee drinks and how they are different from americanos and macchiatos:


This is an Italian beverage made by topping espresso with hot milk and foam. The key difference between cappuccino vs. macchiato is that cappuccino is made with steamed milk while Macchiato uses foam.

Flat White

This is an Australian coffee made by adding espresso to steamed milk. It has a similar consistency to cappuccino but with a stronger coffee flavor. The difference between flat white and latte macchiato is that flat white has a stronger espresso flavor while latte macchiato has more milk and foam.


Cortado is a Spanish coffee drink that has equal parts milk and espresso. It's typically served in small glasses, making it easier to drink than other drinks like cappuccino or latte. The main difference between cortado and macchiato is that the former has equal parts of espresso and milk while Macchiato contains more espresso than milk.


latte vs cappuccino vs macchiato vs americano

This is an American coffee drink made by blending espresso, milk, and ice. It's a popular choice for those who want something cold and refreshing. A major difference between frappuccino and macchiato is that frappuccino is a cold drink while Macchiato can be served hot or cold.

Cold Brew 

This is a cold coffee drink made by steeping coarsely ground coffee in water for a long time. It's perfect if you want something refreshing and not too strong. The difference between a cold brew and a macchiato is that a cold brew has a smoother taste and less acidity than a macchiato. This is because cold brew is made with a higher concentration of coffee grounds.

Americano vs Macchiato: Which one is Better?

Now that we've covered the key differences between Americano vs. Macchiato, it's time to answer the overarching question: which is better?

The answer to this question depends on what you're looking for in a coffee drink. If you want something with a bolder flavor and stronger aroma, go for an Americano. However, if your preference leans more towards mild and sweet flavors, then a latte macchiato would be better suited for your needs.


The differences between Americano vs. Macchiato are minor, but they do make a significant impact on the overall flavor of each drink. Both drinks are delicious in their own right, and it all comes down to personal taste.

It's worth mentioning that the best way to enjoy coffee is by learning how to make it yourself. You can find various recipes online for different types of coffee drinks and try them all out until you find your perfect match.

Make sure to experiment with different beans and roasts because each one has unique flavors that can enhance or detract from your drink.

Also, try using different brewing methods to find the one that gives you the perfect flavor and consistency. With a little bit of experimentation, you'll be able to make the perfect coffee drink for your needs.

Good luck and happy brewing.

Did you find our blog helpful? Then consider checking:

Drop a Comment