Coffee is mysterious in that it can taste good AND it only takes one cup of it to keep you going for several hours. But when you order one, do you ever wonder what the name means, in terms of how it tastes? I've especially felt this when ordering either a cappuccino or a macchiato. They both have a bitter taste and come in similar sizes. So, here I'll try to differentiate between a cappuccino vs macchiato.


coffee, espresso, milk, cappuccino
Kelsey Emery

Coffee drinks usually consist of a combination of milk foam, steamed milk, and espresso. The milk foam is just steamed milk that has been whipped to add some air into it. In this case, cappuccino is all about equal ratios. It has an equal ratio of milk foam, steamed milk, and espresso.

On the other hand, a macchiato only consists of steamed milk and espresso. There is a lot of espresso and usually a thin layer or even a dash of milk on the top. This also explains why macchiatos usually come in smaller cups, since they only need to hold the espresso.


coffee, espresso
Meredith Simmons

Because a cappuccino contains more steamed milk, it has a milkier and softer taste than a macchiato does. The milk doesn't completely mask the espresso taste, but it's usually more enjoyable for those who dislike the bolder taste of macchiatos.

Even though the macchiato may taste more bitter, the caffeine content in cappuccino and macchiato are the same because they both only contain a single shot of espresso, which is the only source of caffeine in both drinks. 

For those who are more calorie conscious or are going to drink coffee for the sake of staying awake, a macchiato may be the better choice because it's mainly espresso.

Now that you know the differences between a cappuccino vs macchiato, you'll be able to choose which coffee you want to drink at different situations—whether it be when you need to grind out some work or want to grab coffee with a friend!