Cappuccinos and macchiatos are fast and easy to make, but the choice you make between these different espresso drinks could be more important than you think.

Espresso has the power to give you the energy boost you need to start your day off on the right foot. Cappuccinos and macchiatos are espresso drinks that can give you that extra boost.

But what is the difference between a macchiato and a cappuccino?

The main difference is that a macchiato is made with espresso and a small amount of foamed milk on top. A cappuccino is an espresso, steamed milk, and more foamed milk, forming a thicker foam layer and typically served in a larger cup.

This article will go in-depth about all the differences between a macchiato and a cappuccino. In the end, you’ll have all the knowledge to decide which might fit you better!

Macchiato vs. cappuccino, what’s the difference?

Before getting into the differences that make these delicious drinks unique, you can have a look at all the key differences in the table below:

Comparison: Macchiato: Cappuccino:
Espresso? Yes, two espresso shots Yes, one espresso shot
Milk? 1 oz (30 ml) of milk 2 oz (60 ml) of milk
Flavor notes A robust flavor with a hint of milk A subtle sweetness and well-balanced flavor
Strength High strength Low to medium strength
Caffeine content 136mg of caffeine 68mg of caffeine
Number of calories 5 to 18 calories 10 to 37 calories
Any add-ins? Milk foam topping Dusting of cinnamon

Now that you know how these small coffees differ, it’s time to get in-depth about each difference.

Below, I’ll get into which of the two drinks is stronger in taste, the calorie difference, the amount of caffeine, and finish by giving my final thoughts on which drink might suit you better!

Is a macchiato stronger than a cappuccino?

A macchiato is stronger than a cappuccino because it uses more espresso. Cappuccinos are made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk.

On the other hand, macchiatos are made with mostly espresso and just a little bit of steamed milk and frothed milk. This makes them a little bit stronger than cappuccinos.

Homemade macchiato coffee.

If you decide to make a cappuccino with a double espresso shot instead of a single, you’ll increase the strength.

But the cappuccino will always have a more subtle and milk-forward flavor to it, which is why it’s a great option if you’re not a fan of strong coffee in the first place.

Is a macchiato or cappuccino sweeter?

A cappuccino is sweeter than a macchiato because it contains more milk and less coffee. The milk itself is sweet, and the added foam makes it even sweeter.

On the other hand, a macchiato is mostly coffee with just a hint of milk. So it has a slightly bitter taste compared to a cappuccino.

The sweetness difference can be noticed when you’re using a milk alternative instead of cow’s milk.

Coconut milk and almond milk are relatively sweet options compared to cow’s milk. And because a cappuccino uses much more milk than a macchiato, it’ll have more sweet notes.

Homemade cappuccino.

You can enjoy many different flavor notes in both coffees. A few of the most common include dark chocolate, toffee, caramel, and hazelnut.

However, each coffee is unique and can feature a variety of flavors depending on the beans used and the brewing method employed. So be sure to ask your barista for their recommendations the next time you order one!

What is the calorie difference between a macchiato and a cappuccino?

A macchiato has a very small amount of milk foam, while a cappuccino has steamed milk and foam topping.

A cappuccino will always have more calories because it uses more milk. However, the number of calories can change depending on the kind of milk you’re using.

Below, I’ve listed the number of calories for each drink and a few of the most popular kinds of milk and milk alternatives:

The milk used: Macchiato: Cappuccino:
Whole milk 18 calories 37 calories
2% fat milk 15 calories 30 calories
Non-fat milk 13 calories 26 calories
Oat milk 15 calories 30 calories
Almond milk 5 calories 10 calories
Soy milk 12 calories 24 calories

How much caffeine is in a macchiato vs. cappuccino?

Because the macchiato is made with an additional espresso shot, it is higher in caffeine.

  • A macchiato has 136mg of caffeine per serving
  • While a cappuccino has 68 mg of caffeine (source)

The caffeine content can change depending on how your favorite coffee bar makes its drinks.

But most often, these small coffees are made as I mentioned in this article. An iced cappuccino, for example, uses two espresso shots, so it’ll have the same amount of caffeine as the macchiato in that instance.

Brewing espresso shots.

The caffeine content can change slightly depending on the coffee roasts that are used. For instance, blonde roast espresso is higher in caffeine than dark roast espresso.

Which is better? A macchiato or cappuccino?

There is no definitive answer to this question since it depends on personal preferences.

However, if you’re not quite sure which might be the better pick for you, I recommend the following.

  • A macchiato is typically made with a double shot of espresso, while a cappuccino is made with a single shot of espresso. So, if you prefer a stronger coffee flavor, then a macchiato would be the better choice.
  • On the other hand, if you like your coffee with more milk and foam, then a cappuccino would be the better option.
Macchiato vs. cappuccino.

My preference is the macchiato because it has a more espresso-forward flavor. I like to start the day by drinking a macchiato, and after dinner, the cappuccino is my go-to.

It all depends on what you’re looking for in terms of flavor. Remember, you can always ask for a coffee syrup to be added to your coffee if you don’t like the strength.

When at home, you can customize your drink to your liking by adding homemade syrup, some sugar, or adding some dark chocolate to your coffee.


So, there you have it – the difference between a macchiato and cappuccino. I hope this article has helped clear things up for you.

If you’re still not sure which drink is right for you, why not head down to your local coffee shop and try one out? You might be surprised at how much you enjoy them both!

You can also try your hand at making them at home, so you can choose the strength and size of the drink. Plus, it’s a great way to experiment with different flavors.

Do you like reading these coffee comparisons? You can have a look below for some more articles I’ve written about the difference between various coffees:

More coffee comparisons


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