Macchiato Vs. Flat White (Quick Guide)

Last Updated on September 28, 2021 by John Moretti

Both the Flat White and The Macchiato are somewhat misunderstood drinks, but they are both equally sought after by coffee enthusiasts internationally. Many find themselves wondering how these two drinks compare and how they are different from one another.

The Macchiato is made with a single shot of espresso and a tiny amount of textured milk. It is intense tasting but is slightly mellowed by the milk and is served in a small cup. The Flat White is also a strong drink but is much larger, uses two shots of espresso, and is poured with textured milk.

Both of these drinks are ideal for strong coffee drinkers and are favorites of baristas everywhere. If you are unfamiliar with these two delectable drinks, let’s take a closer look at them together.

How Are A Flat White And A Macchiato Different? 

The Macchiato and the Flat White are both espresso-based drinks that are prepared with textured milk, but if you compare them more closely, you will find that these two drinks are vastly different from one another.

Both of these drinks are incredibly popular among coffee drinkers who prefer strong and intense espresso and milk drinks, but they each hold a special place in the heart of those who prefer one over the other.

Let’s take a closer look at the Macchiato and the Flat White to identify the differences between them.

The Macchiato

The Macchiato is an espresso-based coffee drink that is prepared with a very small amount of textured or microfoamed milk and a single shot of high-quality espresso.

This drink originates from Italy, and the name Macchiato translates to “marked.” This name was given to the Macchiato because the traditional Italian version of the drink was simply marked with a large drop of foamed milk.

The traditional Italian version of the Macchiato is prepared with a very small amount of textured milk, but the more popular international version uses a little more milk to make the drink slightly more textured and palatable.

The Macchiato is made with a single shot of high-quality espresso – usually, about 1 – 1.5 ounces of espresso is used. An equal part of textured milk is then added to the espresso, and the Macchiato is served in a very small cup.

Some baristas prefer to make the Macchiato with even less milk, using a 2:1 espresso to milk ratio.

The Macchiato is typically served in a Double Espresso cup, which is significantly smaller than most other espresso and milk coffee drinks.

The idea behind a Macchiato is to enjoy the full, rich taste of espresso balanced with the sweet taste and silky texture of textured milk. The Macchiato is an exceptionally well-balanced drink and is a favorite among many baristas.

The Flat White

flat white

The Flat White is a relatively modern espresso-based drink that originated in Australia and New Zealand.

This drink has become wildly popular internationally. It is an espresso-based drink that is prepared with particularly smooth textured milk and no foam.

The Flat White is made with a double-shot of strong espresso, poured in a semi-tall mug or glass, and finished with a very shallow layer of textured milk

The key to the Flat White is the milk. The milk is very particular for this drink. It must not be foamed, only textured and made to be as smooth and velvety as possible. 

When the milk is added to the espresso, it must be poured evenly and allowed to mingle smoothly with the espresso crema and not dissolve it.

The textured milk must not exceed 1cm in depth above the rest of the coffee. If this is the case, the milk has too much foamed milk and is closer to a Cappuccino.

The Flat White is so-called because of this layer of flat, smooth textured milk atop the espresso.

This drink is very rich and strong due to the double shot of high-quality espresso, but it is well balanced due to the larger amount of milk.

The Flat White is based on the Cappuccino, but the lack of foam and the extra shot of espresso take this drink to another level. The Flat white is among the most difficult espresso and milk coffee drinks to prepare.

The taste of the Flat White is intense but is softened by the textured milk. This is the perfect drink for the coffee lover who likes their coffee strong but also prefers a larger drink.

How Do These Drinks Compare?

The best way to identify the differences between these two drinks is to directly compare them based on the most important coffee comparison categories: taste, strength and intensity, ingredients, and drink size.

Below is a direct comparison of these two popular drinks based on these characteristics.

Macchiato Vs. Flat White: Taste

It is easy to think of a Macchiato and a Flat White as being similar in taste. The truth is, a Flat White is, in some ways, a larger version of a Macchiato

Both of these drinks are prepared with strong espresso and very smooth milk, in a higher coffee to milk ratio.

Both of these drinks are well balanced with the amount of espresso versus the amount of milk. The Macchiato has s single shot of espresso but is smaller and uses less milk, while the Flat White has a double shot but is larger and uses much more milk.

The Macchiato tastes very intense but also very smooth and balanced. The Flat White tastes less intense but still very strong, and the sweet textured milk makes this drink very easy to drink over time.

Macchiato Vs. Flat White: Strength and Intensity

The intensity of these two drinks is comparable, as the Macchiato has a single espresso shot but is smaller, and the Flat White has a double shot but is larger in volume.

The milk used in both drinks balances out the flavor profile and softens the intensity of the espresso used.

That being said, the Macchiato is more directly intense than the Flat White as it uses far less milk and has a higher coffee to milk ratio than the larger drink does.

The Flat White is still a strong coffee drink, but it does not taste as strong as you may expect a double-shot drink to taste. The Macchiato is a stronger tasting and more intense drink, but the Flat White has more caffeine and is more well-rounded and smoother.

Macchiato Vs. Flat White: Ingredients and Size

Both the Flat White and the Macchiato are made with textured milk, not foam. The Flat White contains two shots of espresso, while the Macchiato only contains one.

Both are made with high-quality espresso, usually using Arabica beans that have been roasted to medium or dark. 

The Flat White is larger and uses 2 – 4 ounces of espresso and 9 – 12 ounces of textured milk. 

The traditional Macchiato is prepared with a 1oz single shot of espresso and 1oz of textured milk. The modern international version of the drink may use a little more of both ingredients.


Both the Macchiato and the Flat White are perfect drinks for the coffee lover who enjoys a stronger cup.

The Flat White is ideal for those who like to sip their coffee, take their time, and enjoy a smooth balance, while the Macchiato is the best drink for those who prefer a short, strong, to-the-point coffee.

If you enjoy one, you are likely to enjoy the other. Try both, experiment with different beans and roasts, and you are sure to find yourself yearning for both of these fantastic drinks.