Americano vs Macchiato: The Key Differences

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In the world of coffee, Americano and Macchiato are two popular choices, each offering a unique flavor profile and preparation method.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the key differences between these two beloved coffee beverages, helping you make an informed choice the next time you step into a cafe.

Whether you prefer the bold simplicity of an Americano or the nuanced elegance of a Macchiato, we’ve got you covered with all the insights you need.

Let’s dive in and discover what sets these two classics apart!

What Is An Americano?

An Americano is a coffee drink made by mixing espresso with hot water, creating a unique flavor compared to regular brewed coffee.

Its name, “Americano,” comes from Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, and it found its way into the English language in the 1970s.

The exact origin is a bit unclear, but it’s commonly associated with that era.

Unlike lattes, cappuccinos, or macchiatos, an Americano doesn’t have milk.

The usual ratio is 2 parts hot water to 1 part espresso, but variations are accepted.

In terms of caffeine, an Americano packs about the same punch as a regular black drip coffee.

So, if you want a coffee that’s espresso-based but not too strong, the Americano might be your go-to choice.


  • Adjustable strength with water
  • Strong without bitterness
  • Versatile (black or with milk)
  • Espresso flavor with filter coffee strength


  • Less espresso texture
  • May be too strong without milk

What Is A Macchiato?

A Macchiato, hailing from Italy, carries a name that’s as charming as its flavor.

“Macchiato” translates to “stained” or “spotted” in Italian, and when you enjoy a caffè macchiato, you’re savoring a cup of “stained coffee” or “marked coffee.”

This delightful drink consists of espresso gently mingling with a small, usually foamy, dose of milk, boasting the highest espresso-to-milk ratio among beverages of this kind.

The magic behind a macchiato lies in how the milk complements rather than overwhelms the coffee, imparting a subtle touch of sweetness.

You’ll find two main types of macchiatos in the coffee world: the espresso macchiato and the latte macchiato.

The espresso macchiato is a delicate creation featuring a dollop of milk foam atop a shot of espresso.

In contrast, the latte macchiato leans towards more steamed milk, lightly “stained” with just a shot or two of espresso.


  • Rich espresso flavor with a touch of sweetness
  • Versatile and can be customized
  • Usually has a smooth and creamy texture
  • Ideal for those who enjoy the intensity of espresso


  • Not as easy to make as the Americano
  • May be too strong for individuals who don’t enjoy the intensity of espresso

Americano vs Macchiato: Taste

The Americano and the Macchiato each bring their own distinct coffee flavors to the table.

An Americano embodies that classic coffee taste with a hint of the bitterness commonly found in espresso.

Conversely, a Macchiato boasts a robust coffee flavor with a subtle touch of milk.

Keep in mind, though, that the flavor of both these drinks can sway based on factors like the espresso’s quality, the brewing method, and the recipe chosen.

Now, when it comes to strength, the Macchiato takes the lead due to its espresso content.

An Americano is essentially an espresso that’s been thinned down with hot water.

On the flip side, a Macchiato is crafted using a double shot of espresso with a dollop of milk foam.

Americano vs Macchiato: Calories

When comparing the Americano and Macchiato in terms of calories, it’s essential to note that the calorie content can vary based on factors like the size of the drink, the type of milk used, and any additional ingredients or sweeteners.

Typically, an 8-ounce (240 ml) Americano with no added ingredients, such as sugar or cream, contains very few calories—usually fewer than 10 calories.

The majority of calories come from the espresso itself.

A traditional espresso macchiato, made with a shot of espresso and a small amount of frothed milk, is also low in calories.

It typically contains around 10 to 15 calories for a single shot of espresso, plus a minimal calorie contribution from the milk.

Keep in mind that if you opt for a larger size or add flavored syrups, sweeteners, or whipped cream to your Americano or Macchiato, the calorie count will increase significantly.

For a precise calorie count, it’s best to check with the specific coffee shop or consult the packaging if you’re making these beverages at home.

Americano vs Macchiato: Caffeine Content

The caffeine content in both Americano and Macchiato can vary depending on factors like the size of the drink and the number of espresso shots used.

The caffeine content in an Americano is similar to that of espresso since it is essentially diluted espresso.

A single shot of espresso (approximately 1 ounce or 30 ml) contains around 63 milligrams of caffeine on average.

Therefore, an 8-ounce (240 ml) Americano made with a single shot of espresso will contain roughly the same amount of caffeine as that shot, which is about 63 milligrams.

If you opt for a double Americano (made with two shots of espresso), it will contain approximately 126 milligrams of caffeine.

When it comes to a Macchiato, they typically have two shots of espresso which means they will typically have more caffeine compared to an Americano.

Americano vs Macchiato: Difficulty

When it comes to ease of preparation, the Americano takes the lead.

This coffee classic is known for its simplicity.

To whip up an Americano, all you need is a shot of espresso and hot water.

There’s no frothing, no intricate techniques, and no special equipment required.

It’s a straightforward process that even beginners can master with ease.

On the other hand, the Macchiato, while not overly complex, involves a bit more finesse.

A traditional Macchiato starts with an espresso shot, but it also requires frothing a small amount of milk, usually just a dollop.

Achieving the right milk froth consistency without overheating it can take some practice.

Additionally, you’ll need an espresso machine or a separate milk frother, which adds a layer of equipment and complexity.

The Verdict: Which Should You Choose?

Choose an Americano if you prefer a straightforward, no-fuss coffee experience with adjustable strength and the option to enjoy it black or with milk.

It’s perfect for those who want a classic coffee flavor with a touch of espresso.

Opt for a Macchiato if you enjoy the art of coffee craftsmanship and desire a stronger, espresso-forward taste with a hint of milk.

It’s ideal for those seeking a bolder coffee experience with a touch of elegance.

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Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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