Macchiato vs Piccolo: Difference and Comparison

Macchiato and Piccolo are both kinds of coffee served with shots of espresso and varying amounts of milk in them.

A number of Baristas across the world have been serving these drinks for decades and have added a touch of different flavors too to enhance the taste of these beverages.

Key Takeaways

  1. A macchiato is an espresso-based drink with a small amount of milk foam, while a piccolo is a small-sized latte made with a ristretto shot and steamed milk.
  2. Macchiatos highlight espresso’s strong, bold flavor, while piccolos offer a more balanced taste between espresso and milk.
  3. Both macchiato and piccolo are popular coffee options for those who prefer a smaller, more concentrated beverage than a regular latte or cappuccino.

Macchiato vs Piccolo

A macchiato, is a shot of espresso with a bit of steamed milk added to the top, creating a layered look with the dark espresso on the bottom and the lighter milk on top. A piccolo is a type of small latte made with a single shot of espresso and steamed milk, served in a small glass.

Macchiato vs Piccolo

A Macchiato is considered to be an afternoon cup of coffee. It is not as strong as a morning cappuccino but has a punch of express to it.

A milk strained espresso is known as a Caffe Macchiato. The added milk helps in sweetening the coffee and balances the taste.

A Piccolo is a coffee beverage served in a quantity of no more than 114mls. It has one part of ristretto and two parts of milk served with a layer of foam on it. The double quantity of milk helps in moderating the overpowering taste of ristretto.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMacchiatoPiccolo
Origin of the drinkItalySydney
Quantity of milk A drop or touch of milkTwo times the quantity of the espresso shot
Type of cup served inCeramic demitasse cupEspresso cup
TypesCaffe Macchiato and Latte MacchiatoEspresso Piccolo and Ristretto Piccolo 

What is Macchiato?

Macchiatos originated in Italian baristas for the first time. The word Macchiato comes from the word ‘Macchiare’ which translates to a mark or a stain.

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Thus Macchiatos are cups of coffee that are stained with a dash of milk. Based on the number of shots of espresso in the beverage, the beverage can be categorized into Short and Long Macchiatos.

A short version has a single shot of espresso whereas the long version has double shots.  

The beverage is normally consumed during the afternoon. In order to ease the punch of espresso yet ensure that the taste remains, a small quantity of milk is added. The milk is either blended in or served as a frothy layer on top.

A number of cafes across the world now experiment with this drink by adding different fruity flavors. A latte macchiato is the opposite version of this drink where instead of adding a splash of milk to espresso, a splash of the espresso is added to milk.

The quantity of milk is an essential factor while making a cup of Macchiato. The milk helps sweeten the beverage as well as adds a creamy texture over the shot of espresso. 


What is Piccolo?

A Piccolo is a small, tiny cup of coffee that originated in Sydney, Australia. The beverage is made with a 20/30ml shot of ristretto which is then topped off with double the quantity of milk. The milk is either blended in or served as a frothy layer that is steamed.   

A Piccolo was invented when people needed a sweetened yet strong cup of coffee. Baristas all over the world adopted the concept of this beverage.

A Piccolo is normally served in an espresso cup and is not served in a quantity of more than 114 MLS. The Piccolo, despite having a good amount of milk, has a strong flavor of coffee that lingers.

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The beverage is highly uncommon and is not found in a lot of countries. It is confused with a Cortado due to the similarity in their tastes.

Also, the amount of sweetness due to the milk proves to be a major factor in people choosing other stronger coffees over piccolos. 

Piccolo latte is one of the most common forms of beverage served all over the world. Baristas like to improvise by adding varying quantities of milk and a number of flavors to enhance their taste.


Main Differences Between Macchiato and Piccolo

  1. Macchiatos are served on a base of a double or single shot of espresso, whereas Piccolos are normally served on a base of as ristretto shot. 
  2. Macchiatos have a dash of milk in them, whereas Piccolos have a good quantity of milk blended in with the ristretto. 
  3. As compared to Macchiatos, Piccolo is a  less common kind of coffee bevrage consumed by people.
  4. Piccolos are sweet beverages where as macchiatos are bitter in taste due to a larger quantity of espresso.
  5. A traditional cup of Piccolo should not be over 114mls, whereas a Macchiato can differ in quantity
Difference Between Macchiato and Piccolo

Last Updated : 18 July, 2023

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