Caramel Macchiato Vs Caramel Latte – How To Tell Them Apart?

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When the coffee and caramel worlds crash into each other, you know a flavorsome drink is born. But between caramel macchiato vs caramel latte, which one takes the crown?

The two always make people bewildered about their differences. This is because they seem to be similar in appearance and taste. If you get stuck on that problem, this article is for you. Keep scrolling down for the full-detailed comparison of these two drink types.

An Overview Of The Two Drinks

What Is Caramel Macchiato?

Starbucks gets credit for popularizing coffee throughout the world. Starbucks introduced caramel macchiato to their fans in 1996. Since then, they have left such an indelible “mark” on cafe culture that their new beverage rewrote the worldwide drink dictionary.

Hannah Su and a Starbucks HQ team created this drink to commemorate Starbucks’ 25th anniversary. At first, they debuted it as a limited-time menu item. Then, they received a lot of positive feedback about it and decided to turn it into a “forever” staple.

A remarkable pillar of the coffee world is the macchiato. It’s a pretty simple-making drink: one espresso shot is poured into a tiny cup (you can use more than one), and steamed milk foam is placed on top.

Unless you have a particular sweet requirement, this drink often comes with an unsweetened flavor. Moreover, some baristas will draw designs on the drink foam. For people who are getting into the dry, dense cappuccino froth but prefer a drink with less dairy or lower calories, this drink is the way to go.

But this new kind of macchiato has become a different story. You can expect more sweetness and milk. It also has a strong espresso flavor that might appeal to more casual people. The drink is made by pouring steamed milk after adding the vanilla-flavor syrup. The next is the espresso and the steamed-milk froth on top.

What Is A Caramel Latte?

Another well-known beverage is the caramel latte. While it may be mistaken for the one mentioned below, the latte one is far easier to make. The caramel syrup is the main ingredient to sweeten the drink. This contributes to the drink’s wonderful sweet coffee flavor.

The drink also contains milk, espresso, this orange-brown sugar syrup and can be served ice cold. When creating a large drink, consider adding one more shot of espresso. 

Almost all coffee businesses do this. It is because melting ice can water down the flavor, and the additional espresso prevents the drink from tasting bland.

Similarities Of The Two

Main Ingredients

As mentioned before, these two types of coffee drinks are very confusing. The first thing that causes this misunderstanding is its color: the brown of espresso and the white of milk. Indeed, the main ingredients used to make these two drinks are the same, including:

  • Milk
  • Espresso
  • Caramel Sauce

Many Different Variations

One more similarity between these two types is that it has many variations. Besides the hot version, they can all be served as an iced drink. This makes your drink excellent and suitable for summer.

French vanilla and Hazelnuts are all great options. It changes your drink into a blend of flavors, creating a variety of flavors. And if you are wanting to reduce carbs, you can also make drinks with syrups that are sugar-free.

Caramel is a note that matches with non-dairy and dairy milk, though it pairs incredibly well with coconut milk’s sweet, light flavor. 

If you prefer a beverage that’s slightly sweeter, you can put more drizzle or whipped cream on the top or bottom. The shots will blend in well with milk to make you savor it with each sip.

Caramel Macchiato vs Caramel Latte: The Main Differences

Flavor

A caramel macchiato is a beverage that brings many myths to newbies. Do you think it will have a caramel flavor because of its name? This is the most common misconception. 

This coffee variant is a vanilla coffee drink with an orange-brown syrup topping. It is sweetened with vanilla syrup. Thus, it is flavored with vanilla.

In contrast to a macchiato one, people use caramel syrup to sweeten the latte drink. After the syrup has been applied, add your espresso shots and top with milk foam and steamed milk. This provides the drink with a fantastic coffee-caramel flavor.

Layer Order And Making Instructions

The most significant difference between these two types is their layer order. 

A macchiato version is arranged from bottom to top: vanilla syrup, milk, froth, espresso, and caramel syrup. Yet, when it comes to the latte one, the layer order (from the bottom) will be the syrup, espresso, and milk (sometimes people add whipped cream).

Caramel Macchiato

As mentioned before, making it is remarkable, with the vanilla syrup and milk on the cup bottom, followed by espresso shots, and lastly, an orange-brown syrup drizzle. 

The milk must be at the top, and the espresso must be on top for the drink for the so-called caramel macchiato. Here is the instruction for making it:

  • Use a Moka pot or an espresso machine to make the espresso. (If you want to alter with an ordinary coffee, use twice the amount: 4 oz instead of 2).
  • Warm the milk while waiting for the espresso to be prepared. Utilize a milk frother to froth the milk. You can switch to an ordinary whisk if a milk frother isn’t available (All you have to do is whisk it until foam appears.)
  • Pour in the vanilla extract and milk to the cup bottom. After that, add the espresso over the foamy milk, leaving a “mark” on the foam.
  • The final step is to drizzle the prepared syrup over the top. You can draw any shape you like. Starbucks makes two rings around the cup’s borders and then a grating pattern in the center. 

Caramel Latte

While it’s relatively similar to the drink above, it’s considerably more straightforward to make. Here is the guide to prepare a well-flavored latte:

  • Combine caramel, milk, and sugar in a small saucepan (a butter warmer works great) and cook over medium heat. Heat for 3 minutes or until the milk is steaming and the brown sugar is completely melted.
  • Turn down the heat to low. In a large mixing bowl, quickly whisk the mixture in the vanilla extract until frothy, or if you have a handheld milk frother, you can use it.
  • Pour the prepared espresso into your mug, followed by the caramel mixture. Slightly stir and taste it. Add a bit of extra sugar if it’s not sweet enough. Then, if wanted, add more whipped cream and enjoy your coffee!

Calories

One factor that is also of great concern today is the number of calories in a food or drink. This difference between these two beverages is not so significant but well worth mentioning. Compared per 8oz serving, here are the calories contained in each type:

  • Caramel Macchiato: 140 Calories.
  • Caramel Latte: 130 Calories.

Which One Is Better?

Caramel macchiato delivers the rich flavors of a delectable blend of vanilla syrup, espresso shots, and 2% milk. Each sip is filled with the sweetness of vanilla mixed with the aroma of espresso. That’s why it is always the go-to order on the Starbucks menu.

Meanwhile, the latte one brings a richer flavor of caramel and a more intense coffee flavor. Unfortunately, this coffee drink is not a popular product on the Starbucks menu like the macchiato one. Yet, if you are a fan of this flavor, it is a drink you should try.

Which is more delicious depends on the preferences and feelings of each person. For those not familiar with the bitter taste of coffee, a latte version is more suitable. This is because a macchiato is a significantly stronger coffee drink than a latte one. 

If you are a coffee lover, then you can’t go wrong with a caramel macchiato. Still, if you can handle the bitter coffee taste, drinking it without stirring might bring you a more apparent flavor.

However, you should try both of these drinks to find out which is better for you. Drinking coffee is an exciting experience to realize each flavor difference.

The Bottom Line

These two coffee drinks both have outstanding features of each type. Although they look pretty similar with brown and white tones, they are entirely different in taste and preparation. 

In this article, we have helped you compare in detail about 2 popular types of coffee: caramel macchiato vs caramel latte. Hopefully, the information will be helpful to both newbies and coffee enthusiasts. Enjoy your coffee time!

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Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).