Not as well known as their larger, more established siblings in the coffee family (e.g., latte, cappuccino), both the Americano and macchiato are served in small glasses and drunk in a few slurps.

But despite the similarities, these two small coffees have a few differences to distinguish between them. But what is the main difference between them?

The main difference between an Americano and a macchiato is that an Americano is made with espresso and hot water, while a macchiato is made with espresso and milk. An Americano has a stronger, more bitter flavor than a macchiato, which is why milk is usually added to a macchiato to soften the flavor.

Now that you know about the main difference between an Americano vs. macchiato let’s get into detail about what makes these coffees unique and which of the two suits you better.

Americano vs. macchiato, how do they differ?

Before getting into each difference in detail, you can have a look below at what makes these drinks unique and different from each other:

A comparison between an Americano and a macchiato.

You can have a detailed look at the table below for each difference between these small drinks:

Comparison: Americano: Macchiato:
Coffee? Yes, one espresso shot Yes, two espresso shots
Milk? No milk added Yes, 1 ounce (30 ml)
Water added? Yes, 2 ounces (60 ml) No water added
Flavor notes A slightly bitter and robust taste A slightly creamy but intense flavor
Caffeine content 68mg of caffeine 136mg of caffeine
How many calories? Virtually no calories Between 5 and 18 calories

Now that you have a good idea about what makes these coffees different from one another let’s get into each difference in-depth.

After reading through this article, you’ll have all the information to decide which coffee might suit you better!

What is an Americano, and how do you make it?

An Americano is a coffee drink made by adding hot water to espresso, giving a similar strength to but less bitterness than a straight shot of espresso.

Americano coffee.

To make an Americano, start by making espresso. You can do this with a stovetop espresso maker or with an electric espresso machine.

I found that an AeroPress can also make great-tasting espresso-like coffee which works well in this recipe.

Then, add hot water to the espresso until it reaches the desired strength (usually, a 1:2 coffee to water ratio is used). Finally, add some sugar to taste.

Do you want to make this drink at home? You can check out how to make a blonde Americano here, or you can make one with milk added; you can learn more about it here.

What is a macchiato, and how is it made?

A macchiato is an espresso coffee with a small amount (usually about 1 ounce) of steamed milk added, which creates a light milk foam.

To make a macchiato, the espresso coffee is poured into the glass, and then the milk is added.

The milk can be frothed or not, according to preference. The resulting drink should be a brownish color with a thin layer of white foam on top.

It’s okay if the milk mixes with the espresso coffee below. The macchiato is known for its “stained” look.

If you’d like to learn more about the macchiato and how you can easily make one at home, you can check out this guide.

Is a macchiato stronger than an Americano?

A macchiato is stronger than an Americano because it has more espresso. An Americano is just an espresso diluted with hot water, while a macchiato is made with a double espresso shot with a dollop of milk foam.

So, in general, a macchiato will be stronger than an Americano because there is more espresso in it.

However, there are variations from café to café, so you may find that some places make Americanos with more espresso than macchiatos.

How many calories are in an Americano and macchiato?

There are many ways to make an Americano and macchiato at home, but when comparing the most basic version of these coffees, there’s a big difference in calories:

  • An Americano has virtually no calories because it is made up of only espresso and water.
  • On the other hand, a macchiato has a small number of calories because it contains milk, so it has about 5 to 18 calories.

The number of calories in the macchiato can change depending on the milk that you’d like to use.

In the table below, you can see how many calories there are in your macchiato, depending on the milk that is used:

The milk used: The number of calories:
Whole milk 18 calories
2% fat milk 15 calories
Non-fat milk 13 calories
Oat milk 15 calories
Soy milk 12 calories
Almond milk 5 calories

As you can see, there’s quite a difference in calories depending on the milk that you like to use.

The number of calories in both drinks can be higher if you like to add a sweetener to them.

Coffee syrups are most often used in coffees, especially when ordering your coffee at your local coffee bar.

If you’d like to check out some homemade coffee syrups, you can find them here.

Americano vs. macchiato, what is the caffeine difference?

An Americano has 68mg of caffeine, while a macchiato has 136mg of caffeine. This is because a macchiato uses an additional shot of espresso. (source)

If you want to make a stronger-tasting Americano at home, you can consider adding an extra espresso shot to it.

This will also increase the caffeine content in your drink, making it have the exact amount of caffeine that the macchiato has.

The caffeine content can differ from coffee bean to coffee bean.

Did you know that a blonde roast espresso has more caffeine than an espresso made with dark roasted coffee beans?

Blonde roast and dark roast comparison.
Blonde roast on the left. Dark roast on the right

Which is better, an Americano or macchiato?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question – it all depends on what you like.

An Americano is made with espresso and hot water, while a macchiato is made with espresso, steamed milk, and foam.

  • So if you prefer a stronger coffee flavor, then an Americano is the better choice.
  • But if you prefer a creamier and richer coffee flavor, then a macchiato is the better choice.

Most of the time, the Americano is easier to make and tastes more like regular coffee to most people, but with a different flavor profile because it uses espresso coffee as the basis.

Americano vs. macchiato coffee comparison.
Americano on the left. Macchiato on the right

Personally, I like to make an Americano in the morning, and I switch to drinking a macchiato later in the day.

I find that the macchiato tastes especially good after dinner, where I most often make it with decaf coffee.

Decaf doesn’t taste that much different from regular coffee beans, and with the added milk foam topping that the macchiato has, it’s a real treat.

Related coffee comparison articles

Are you wondering how the Americano and macchiato compare to other coffees?

Great! Check out the articles below for more in-depth coffee comparisons:

And to compare more coffees, visit the coffee comparison hub!

Conclusion

These two espresso drinks are similar, but they taste different. The macchiato is made with a little bit of foam on top, while the Americano has no foam at all because it’s simply espresso combined with hot water.

I hope you enjoyed this article on the differences between these espresso-based drinks. I like both drinks equally as much, and I hope you’ve found a new favorite coffee drink.

Do you like reading about the differences between coffees? Then have a look below because I’ve listed even more coffee comparisons that are worth checking out.

Coffee recipes to try

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Author

On my coffee blog you will find everything you need in order to start brewing coffee at home. Ranging from the basics; to the newest coffee recipes everybody talks about! You can learn more about me here.

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