If you enjoy drinking coffee, chances are you’ve heard of the flat white and macchiato.

These two classics have earned a special place in many people’s hearts due to their complexity and unique flavor profiles.

Quick Answer: What is the difference between a flat white vs. macchiato?

The main difference between a flat white and a macchiato is the ratio of espresso to milk. A flat white consists of two espresso shots with microfoam steamed milk. On the other hand, a macchiato is made with two espresso shots, which are finished with a dollop of milk foam.

Flat White vs. Macchiato: How Do These Drinks Differ?

In this article, I’ll compare the similarities and differences between these beloved drinks to help determine which is better suited for your preference!

From texture to taste, let’s find out all about what makes each coffee unique – so grab your favorite mug because it’s time to dive into the world of flat whites vs. macchiatos!

Flat white vs. macchiato, how do they differ?

Before getting into each of the differences in-depth, you can have a look at the main differences in the handy overview below:

ComparisonFlat whiteMacchiato
Flavor notesSmooth with a slight bitternessA strong coffee flavor and a sweet, creamy taste
Espresso?Two espresso shotsTwo espresso shots
Milk used?Yes, 4 oz (0.12 l)Yes, 1 oz (30 ml)
Caffeine content136mg of caffeine136mg of caffeine
Number of calories68 calories17 calories
Topping?Light microfoam toppingMilk foam topping

As you can see, flat whites and macchiatos are very different drinks. To get to the bottom of each difference, it’s time to get into the details below:

What is the flavor difference between a flat white and a macchiato?

The flavor difference between a flat white and a macchiato is quite distinct.

A flat white is a wonderfully smooth, creamy coffee drink that combines steamed milk with two espresso shots.

It has an intense espresso flavor balanced out by the sweetness of the milk, making it very flavorful and enjoyable to drink:

Homemade flat white.

On the other hand, a macchiato is made with espresso and just a small drop of frothed milk or foam added on top.

This makes macchiatos much more robust in flavor than flat whites, as they are essentially all-espresso drinks with only small traces of milk.

The best way to compare these two types of drinks would be in terms of intensity; while both have strong flavors, the relative strength ratio between them is quite different.

Flat whites offer more balance between boldness and sweetness, whereas macchiatos will pack quite an intense punch due to their higher concentration of espresso to milk.

You can read more about these differences in-depth below:

Which is stronger? A flat white or macchiato?

When it comes to strength, a macchiato will beat out a flat white every time. This is because the two drinks may use essentially the same espresso base but with one key difference – the amount of milk used.

A macchiato uses only a tiny amount of milk compared to a flat white.

So, if you’re looking for an extra-strong coffee beverage that really packs a punch, the answer is clear – order a macchiato!

What is the difference in milk preparation?

The key difference between a flat white and a macchiato lies in the milk preparation that is used.

A macchiato typically involves steaming some milk until bubbles are formed on top to create an extra creamy drink.

This foamed milk is then spooned over two espresso shots, creating its signature layered visual aesthetic:

Homemade macchiato coffee.

On the other hand, a flat white involves steaming milk until microfoam is created, which is poured into the espresso, resulting in a much smoother flavor profile with more sweetness than what’s found in a macchiato.

In addition to having different amounts of foam, another main difference between these two types of coffee drinks can be seen when comparing their textures.

As mentioned above, macchiatos have a thicker texture due to being topped with larger bubbles instead of microfoam steamed milk, as seen with the flat white.

How many calories are in a flat white vs. macchiato?

There is quite a difference when it comes to the calories of a flat white or macchiato. A typical serving of a flat white made with whole milk has about 68 calories, while a macchiato also made with whole milk contains around 17 calories.

Steamed milk.

That’s four times the amount of calories per serving! This may not seem like a huge difference, but when consumed regularly, it can really add up.

You can lower the number of calories if you choose to make or order one of these drinks with low-fat milk.

Is there a difference in caffeine?

There is no difference in the amount of caffeine when comparing a flat white and a macchiato.

Both drinks are espresso-based and typically contain two shots of espresso.

Espresso shot with crema on top.

That said, it’s important to note that due to the nature of each drink’s preparation process, there may be slight variations in caffeine content between them.

In both drinks, the two espresso shots provide a roughly equal amount of caffeine – about 136 mg for each drink.

If you order one of these drinks at your favorite coffee shop, they might be prepared with just a single shot, meaning each serving only contains 64 mg of caffeine, just like a latte.

In comparison, an 8-ounce cup of coffee has between 80-100 mg of caffeine per serving.

Which is better, a flat white or a macchiato?

When it comes to choosing the better coffee between a flat white and a macchiato, it really depends on one’s individual preference.

Both drinks have unique flavor profiles that should be considered when choosing. If you’re not quite sure which would fit you best, I recommend the following:

  • If you like slowly sipping your coffee, a flat white will be best for you. It also has a smoother flavor, which you might appreciate.
  • If you instead love a more robust coffee with just a tiny amount of milk to smooth out the espresso flavor, a macchiato is worth trying out!
Flat white vs. macchiato.
Flat white on the left. Macchiato on the right

In conclusion, both drinks offer something uniquely delicious and distinct benefits depending on your preferences—so test them before deciding what suits your tastes best!

Related coffee comparison articles

Are you wondering how the flat white 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!


In conclusion, flat whites and macchiatos are both equally flavorful and enjoyable coffee drinks.

They both have a unique intensity that makes them some of the most popular beverages around.

There may be differences between them in terms of calories per serving, caffeine content, and foam layer thickness, but those aspects alone don’t make one better than the other.

At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference – whichever one you enjoy more is ultimately the perfect choice!

Whether you prefer a flat white or macchiato to fuel your mornings or pick you up in the afternoons, may each cup be savored with pleasure and satisfaction.

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