A Tale of 3 Coffees

a-tale-of-3

The Macchiato, Cortado and Piccolo.

You’ve seen them on menus, you’ve heard people order them, and maybe you’ve even sampled them for yourself. But at the end of the day, you’re still wondering, what’s really the difference? It’s just espresso and milk, isn’t it?
Well, each of these coffees has their own identity, and we’re going to break it down for you below. So grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy…

 

Macchiato

 

Macchiato

The Macchiato is an espresso based coffee drink originating in Italy. In Italian the word “Macchiato” means “spotted or stained”… which is exactly what this espresso drink is — “spotted” with a scoop or spoonful of milk foam. There is another drink called the Latte Macchiato, which is this same drink in reverse – you top your milk with a dash of espresso, instead of the other way around. Keep that in mind if you’re browsing a coffee menu – there’s a huge difference in these two coffee drinks – and you wouldn’t want to confuse the two.

Flavor Profile: Milder than straight-up espresso, Stronger than a Cortado or Flat White

 

The Perfect Pour:

Espresso to Milk Foam Ratio: 2:1

(In reality, it should be less than 1 for milk foam)


 

Cortado

 

Cortado

The Cortado is very similar to the Macchiato, except it calls for warm steamed milk (instead of milk foam) and should have very little, if any foam on top – although some places add it to do coffee art. Cortado means “cut” in Spanish – so simply put, it is espresso “cut” with warm milk. The milk content will be slightly higher than in the Macchiato, which softens the acidity of the espresso.

Flavor Profile: Milder than a Macchiato, Stronger than a Flat White

 

The Perfect Pour:

Espresso to Steamed Milk Ratio: 2:1

Remember: milk should be steamed (little to no foam)


 

Piccolo

 

Piccolo

The piccolo is an espresso drink that is extremely popular in Australia and has a much higher proportion of milk to coffee than the Macchiato or Cortado. And while it probably isn’t as widely known as the Macchiato and Cortado, it is becoming increasingly popular in coffeehouses around the world. In preparation, instead of using a standard espresso shot, some baristas use a Ristretto (a small, concentrated shot of espresso with very intense flavor). If you’re a fan of lattes, then the Piccolo is right down your ally.

Flavor Profile: Milder thank a Macchiato or Cortado – think mini (yet slightly more bold) Latte

The Perfect Pour:

Espresso to Steamed Milk Ratio: 1:2 or 1:3

Remember: milk should be steamed (little to no foam)


 

Well, there you have it. So next time you order a Macchiato, Cortado or Piccolo you’ll not only sound cool, you’ll know what to expect!

 

A Tale of 3 Coffees – By Peter Oh The author of Bangkok’s most delicious burger blog.
 


 
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A Tale of 3 Coffees
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