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Caffè macchiato

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Caffè macchiato, sometimes called espresso macchiato, is a coffee drink, made out of espresso with a small amount of milk.

"Macchiato" simply means "marked" or "stained," and in the case of caffè macchiato, this means literally "espresso stained/marked with milk." Traditionally it is made with one shot of espresso, and the small amount of added milk was the "stain." However, later the "mark" or "stain" came to refer to the foamed milk that was put on top to indicate the beverage has a little milk in it, usually about a teaspoon. In fact, the Portuguese word for a macchiato is "pingo," which means "drop". The reason this coffee drink got its name was that the baristas needed to show the serving waiters the difference between an espresso and an espresso with a tiny bit of milk in it; the latter was marked.

The Macchiato can be prepared either with steamed hot milk or cold milk. If hot, the espresso's name would become macchiato caldo (marked hot); if cold, macchiato freddo (marked cold). The choice between "caldo" and "freddo" is usually a matter of personal tastes.

In Naples, caffè macchiato is typically a caffe lungo with milk foam on top.

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References

Caffè macchiato, wikipedia.org

Espresso Twists Naples Italy, ineedcoffee.com

What's Macchiato ?, pochendorfer.com