Machiatto comes from the Italian word meaning stained. Despite what that well known Seattle brand have done with a machiatto adding syrups galore, it is generally accepted that there are 2 forms of traditional machiatto caffe: machiatto and latte machiatto.
Although most people recognise the Macchiato as a coffee in it's own right, it is in fact a variation on the latte. If you've been reading our series on the different types of coffee you will have noticed that a lot of the different methodologies of preparing a brew really come down to the proportions of milk versus coffee as well as the relative strengths and preparation techniques of the coffee itself.
The Macchiato pretty much contains the highest proportion of milk to any of the other popular coffees you are likely to encounter in your local coffee shop, or indeed fix up in the comfort of your kitchen. The basic methodology is that of the latte whereby you fix up an espresso (stronger the better in our opinion) and thereafter froth up milk to top the coffee up.
It is a constant bone of contention where the actual presentation of the Macchiato is concerned however. Most people believe that because of the high milk to coffee ratio the beverage should be served in a tall glass. This is not necessarily the case. We have seen this type of coffee served in tall as well as short glasses and it is equally delicious. Modern coffee houses tend to add syrups and flavorings to this drink. This is because of the high milk ratio, diffusing the natural taste of coffee, and therefore creating a nice neutral palate for flavoring.
Thus the "naked macchiato" is sometimes referred to as the "latte-macchiato" usually meaning an unflavored beverage, however if you are as partial to tongue twisting, twelve word single cup orders (for example "an extra shot, skinny, double caramel, triple non fat, no foam etc etc) then Macchiato should be your drink of choice!
The Macchiato is a smooth and excellent variation of the Latte and indeed a drink that is best served long and intended for sharing over a longer period of time. We love this technique because it can be used with both really strong coffee as well as more easy going blends. The sweetness of cooked milk combined with a blend like our Morning Sunshine will also mean that your morning brew doesn't necessarily need sweeteners or sugar.
We hope you've enjoyed this entry and that you'll visit us again on the next of the series about coffee types and methodologies.