A good macchiato (made in the traditional Italian style) is a perfect cross between an espresso and a cappuccino. Making Italian coffee is a lot like chess: it takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to perfect. Once you’ve learned how to make this delicious drink, you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun perfecting it.

Things You'll Need

Understanding the difference between a macchiato, an espresso and a cappucino. All of the aforementioned drinks are Italian specialty coffee drinks, but the way each drink uses coffee and milk (or, in some cases, no milk) makes them unique. The first and simplest is the espresso. The word espresso literally means “pressed,” and that is what you are doing when you make this type of coffee–pressing very hot water through the coffee grounds very quickly. The temperature of the water and the speed at which the coffee is being passed through is what gives espresso its flavor and body. A cappuccino is an espresso that has one part steamed milk and one part steamed milk foam added to it. The word macchiato in Italian literally means “stained” or “marked.” A macchiato is an espresso that has been “marked” with just a dollop of steamed milk foam on top.

Make the coffee. Always grind the coffee just before brewing it. As soon as you grind a coffee bean, it immediately begins to lose its intensity and flavor. Coffee grinders can be bought for as little as $10, and if you are a coffee fanatic, having one is a must. There are also several manufacturers that make reliable and inexpensive cappuccino machines. With a little research, you will be able to find many options. For a single macchiato, put 2 tablespoons of fresh ground espresso roast coffee into the basket and press down with the back of your spoon to pack it in. Secure the spout back into its place and put your cup underneath it. Press the button for single serving and let the coffee brew till it reaches about halfway up the espresso cup. Stop the brewing and empty the basket.

Make the foam. When making steamed milk foam for a Macchiato always use ice cold milk. The colder the milk, the better the foam. Take a chilled, stainless steel steaming pitcher and fill it half way up with whole milk. Submerge the steaming rod just beneath the surface of the milk. Turn the steamer of slowly and agitate the milk by dipping the rod slightly lower, then bringing it back up to just beneath the surface, until a foam begins to form on the top of the milk. This should take less than a minute. Be sure not to oversteam, as this will curdle the milk.

Assemble the coffee. Take a tablespoon of the steamed milk froth and top the coffee with it. Serve with biscotti cookies for a light dessert.