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Latte Macchiato (Italian pronunciation: [ˈlatte makˈkjaːto]) is a coffee beverage, which literally means stained milk. This refers to the method of preparation, wherein the milk gets "stained" by the addition of espresso.
It differs significantly from caffè latte firstly in that espresso is added to milk (rather than milk to espresso), secondly that it features more foam, rather than simply hot milk, thirdly in that often only ½ (or less) of an espresso shot is used, and fourthly in that it is often a "layered" drink, rather than being mixed as in a caffè latte.
Simply, in a caffè latte, the emphasis is on the coffee, while in a latte macchiato, the emphasis is on the milk.
The macchia is the little "spot" of crèma left on top of the milk to clearly distinguish that is a latte macchiato and not a caffè latte, where the espresso traditionally has been added before the milk, hence having no "mark". Conversely, caffè macchiato, another similarly named beverage, is actually espresso "stained" with a small amount of milk.
A latte macchiato may be prepared simply by frothing milk, generally producing generous foam, pouring it (generally into a glass), and adding espresso. The frothing is generally extensive, yielding significant light, "dry" foam, with a layer of liquid milk underneath, rather than the "wet" microfoam used in latte art.
Alternatively, it may be prepared as a layered drink, with the espresso gently poured (most gently out of a small espresso brew pitcher, over the back of a spoon) so that it forms a layer between the denser liquid milk below and the lighter foam above. In this case a glass is essential for the layers to be visible.
The espresso may be brewed into a standard espresso cup or shot glass and then swiftly dumped in, or may be brewed into a specialized espresso brew pitcher, which makes pouring easier, particularly for layering.
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