Budget Barista Series: Latte Macchiato
WHAT IT IS
A latte macchiato is a dirty little drink. Macchiare means “to dirty” or “to stain,” so a latte macchiato is milk that has been dirtied-up, so to speak, with a shot of espresso. That is exactly how I like to dirty my milk. The beverage is made by putting steamed milk and the milk foam into a glass and then carefully pouring espresso through the foam. This leaves a little “stain” in the foam, or macchia in Italian (which sounds a lot like the English word “mark” to me). The “stain” can be covered up with a final topping of milk foam or it can be left as glaring evidence that the espresso was actually poured in through the milk and no cheating was done by adding the milk afterwards.
When prepared properly, the drink will be fetchingly layered, with milk, espresso, and foam.
BRING IT HOME
I had a hard time preparing this properly. I couldn’t get my milk and espresso to behave and separate into three distinct layers. I also had a hard time obtaining what I considered to be a proper balance of foam with the milk and espresso.
Before I move on, let me remind you that for your homemade macchiato, you need to make the essential espresso while you’re fooling with the milk, so that it’s hot and ready by the time you are. (See my Espresso post for a detailed account of how to do this.) Some people like a half shot of espresso in this drink; I prefer a full shot.
Now for the latte. I first tried the “aerolatte” method of foaming hot milk in a glass. I couldn’t get the milk to foam up quickly enough to still have hot milk when it came drinking time. However, I am sure that there are others more adept at this than I. Also, if the glass was filled more than 1/3 with milk, the milk slopped everywhere when I was frothing it. The milk foamed much faster when I used the aerolatte directly in the pan, but then I got carried away with the frothing and ended up with a top-heavy drink. Besides, the drink looked more like a parfait than a coffee drink to me.
I finally settled with this method: I heated about ½ cup of milk in the saucer, and when it started to steam I aerolatte-frothed it until it was about doubled in volume. I poured this into the glass, leaving just enough room in the glass for my espresso. I let this stand for about 2-3 minutes, which allowed me time to take some photos while the foam “stiffened.”
I then poured my shot into the drink, and it did leave a thin, dark layer of coffee, which tended to expand and lighten as I continued with my photo shoots. I topped it with more foam, for sheer aesthetic value. I still ended up with four layers, rather than my intended three, but I decided that it had its own appeal, much like a stack of good books.
And it tasted just fine.
Actually, it was delicious.
- Posted in: Beverages
- Tagged: aerolatte, Aesthetics, Barista, Bialetti, budget, budget barista, Coffee, dirty, Espresso, espresso drinks, Foam, Italian beverages, Italian language, Italy, latte, Latte macchiato, List of coffee beverages, macchiato, Milk, Moka Express, Moka pot, Shopping, stained milk, stove top espresso