The Perfect Macchiato, and Coffee Drink Definitions

by Emily Steers on 10/12/2010

On weekends, with my fancy-pantsy breakfast, I sometimes have a latte, too.  David is OBSESSED with his espresso machine (it’s an Aroma from Saeco, apparently a nice one), and while I don’t normally drink the stuff (it gives me twitchy eyes), he’ll jump at the chance to make something with foamed milk and all the fixins.

While I didn’t take a photo of my latte (it was happily served to me in my favorite mug, a 1980s-era keepsake from the American Museum of Natural History that I got for 50 cents at the Goodwill in Torrington, Connecticut the summer after my freshman year of college, and was by no means photogenic), David used the leftover foam to make a macchiato.

Which is (duhhhh) an espresso with milk foam delicately placed on top.

A latte is an espresso with heated milk added.

A cappuccino is an espresso with heated milk and  heated foam, I think.  I really wonder if they’re named after Capuchin monks.  Highly unlikely.

So when I go to Starbucks and I order a latte and it comes with foam?  They made it wrong.  But whatever.  It’s still good.

What’s your favorite coffee drink? I can’t wait to see 10 comments declaring love for Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

liz @ btb October 12, 2010 at 3:04 PM

I don’t do Starbucks. I’m cheap and I like it strong so I go to McDonald’s (cringe) for coffee. BUT after hearing everyone on earth… Ok, really just in blogland… rave about the pumpkin spice latte, I decided to try it. $4.50 later I was in love. But I’ve limited my wallet (and my waistline) to 1 per month. Or else I’d be broke from daily runs to 4bucks and to Target to buy more jeans in bigger sizes. Yes, Target. I’m cheap, remember?


Kelly, Arte Styling October 12, 2010 at 4:37 PM

What a great photo, Emily! And I love your little Goodwill find.
You probably don’t want to get me started on coffee. I could go on forever cuz I worked in a coffee roasting shop for a couple of years (ages ago!) I can’t do Starbucks – it always tastes burned to me! And there’s no body. It’s like your white zin. Just can’t do it. Peet’s is yummy…but I do like to make it at home. I had an ancient Krups espresso machine, but it finally died. Would love to have a fancy-schmancy one someday! For now, I’ve got my little french press (a $5 estate sale find. brand new.) It has completely eliminated the need for the electric coffee maker. It makes darn good coffee! And, if you want to get kinda fancy but don’t have an espresso machine with a foamer, you can use this little gizmo. Works like a charm!
Oh…and lattes can also be referred to as cremas. (French vs Italian)


Jen @ LitasWorld October 12, 2010 at 5:08 PM

I used to be completely in to sugar free vanilla soy lattes…but lately, I’ve been a bit more of a “purest” I guess because I love a Caffè Americano with a splash of cold soy. (and most days, I want that to be a double). I haven’t had my first pumpkin drink yet this year as we’re finally getting our summer weather and it just seems wrong :)


Sues October 12, 2010 at 9:03 PM

I always get totally confused by different coffee drinks! Which is why I generally just order straight coffee :) I love this post and the photo is so pretty!


Liz October 13, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Looks yummy!
And thank you for reminding me… Starbucks always puts foam on my latte. Next time I am complaining (or just specifying ‘no foam’!)


emily October 13, 2010 at 1:53 PM

i like foam, i really do. but they’re confusing millions! :-)


heather October 13, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Oh I’m sure with you on the twitchy eyes thing, but since I don’t get them very often, a coffee shop-made Americano or latte are welcomed. Love the photo. All of your photos, actually. Simply excellent. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.




Debbie October 13, 2010 at 3:34 PM

As David knows, I’m a Starbucks’ Junkie. I do love the Pumpkin Spice Latte this time of year. I also enjoy a good Caramel Machiatto.
Thanks for educating me a bit, Emily. I often joke that should I have to return to work a Barnes & Noble and/or Starbucks would be a good fit. In the meantime, I enjoy the leisure of not being employed and occassionally entertaining my grandchildren.


emily October 13, 2010 at 8:47 PM

David’s gotten me COMPLETELY hooked on coffee. Never, ever drank it before I started dating this caffeine junkie. My arty tins of tea have collected dust :-)


Evelyn October 17, 2010 at 3:26 PM

“So when I go to Starbucks and I order a latte and it comes with foam? They made it wrong.”

No – a latte is supposed to be topped with foam. About 1/4 – 1/2 inch. A cappuccino is all foam or about half milk/half foam (a dry cappuccino is more foam, a wet cappuccino is more milk).

Here is a simple guide:


emily October 27, 2010 at 12:23 PM



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