The Small Difference Between A Short And Long Macchiato

With the proliferation of coffee chains, the definitions of a macchiato, a cappuccino, and a latte have become blurred. If you're a frequent Starbucks customer, you may automatically think of one of their signature drinks, the caramel macchiato, when describing a macchiato. While it is technically a latte macchiato with milk, a dollop of foam, espresso shots, and caramel on top, it is much different from the classic version of the drink.

Macchiato is Italian for "stained" or "marked." In simple terms, a macchiato is a coffee or espresso marked with a little milk and often a bit of foam. Many people think the term originated in the 1980s as a way to distinguish between a shot of espresso and a shot of espresso with a splash of frothy milk. But thanks to Australia and their creation of the long Macchiato, the original is now often referred to as a short macchiato.

A short macchiato is a single shot of espresso with a splash of milk, and a long macchiato is a double espresso with a splash of milk. The difference between the two is the extra espresso added to the long macchiato.

The Macchiato has many names and faces

The macchiato has different names depending on where you are in the world. It is called a café pintado, which means "painted coffee" in Portuguese and has slightly more milk than espresso. In Spain, it is called a cortado, which means "cut" or "coffee cut with milk," and contains the same amount of milk and espresso.

In Australia, where the long macchiato was created, different regions have added their own twists. The "Long Mac (Macchiato) Topped Up" is popular in Western Australian locations (such as Perth). Many critics say the drink is a latte — a double espresso with the cup filled with textured milk. However, according to Coffeefusion and Artisti Coffee Roasters, it's just as common for some Australian coffee shops to add hot water to their long macchiato, so it's always best to specify what you want.

For many, the type of coffee they prefer speaks to who they are. When you find "your" beverage, no matter how complicated the order is, you wear it like a badge. Whether you like your macchiato short, long, or latte style, it's part of your identity.