Caramel Macchiato FAQ

The caramel macchiato is a variation on the latte macchiato. It is a sweet drink, and can be made in several different ways. One of the most popular versions of the caramel macchiato is served at Starbucks coffee shops.

What is a macchiato?

Many espresso-based coffee drinks get their names from the Italian language, and the caramel macchiato is no exception. The word macchiato means "marked" in Italian. A latte macchiato, then, starts with milk and then has espresso added to it. By putting the espresso shots in last, the barista creates a mark on the foam. A caffe macchiato is just the opposite-the espresso is added first, then the dark espresso is marked with the light-colored milk.

What is a caramel macchiato?

A caramel macchiato is basically a latte macchiato with caramel added. Since macchiato means "marked," it could refer to the espresso that marks the steamed milk when it's added, or to the caramel that is usually applied in a pattern to mark the top of the foamed milk. Most caramel macchiatos are flavored with vanilla syrup, with the caramel added more as a garnish than as part of the drink.

What is an upside down caramel macchiato?

Some people prefer to order their caramel macchiatos "upside down." This means that the espresso is added first, then the milk is poured on top. Technically, this is the same as a latte, but with added syrup and caramel. Until the different portions of the drink mix, an upside down drink will have a stronger coffee flavor than the traditional version.

What is an iced caramel macchiato?

In most cases, an iced caramel macchiato is assembled in the same way as a hot caramel macchiato, then ice is added. Because cold drinks are usually served in a clear cup, it's easier to see the layering of the different elements, making an iced caramel macchiato very visually appealing. The caramel will often sink to the bottom of the cup, as well, so your first few tastes will have a stronger caramel flavor.

How can I make my caramel macchiato healthier?

As with most espresso-based drinks, there are several ways to make your caramel macchiato healthier and/or lower calorie. Just remember that if you order it without the caramel drizzle to cut calories, you're really just ordering a vanilla latte. If this is what you want, then order the less expensive latte.

For fewer calories, order your macchiato with low fat or skim milk. The lower percentage of milk fat will shave several calories off your drink. Sugar-free vanilla syrup will also reduce your calories as well as the sugar content. If you are sensitive to artificial sweeteners, be sure to ask what type of sweetener is used in your coffee shop's brand of sugar-free syrup. Or, for fewer calories and no change in flavor, just order a size smaller than usual.

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