Starbucks' newest drink is the Latte Macchiato. WTF is that?

Starbucks Released a Report Highlighting Beverage Favorites Across the Nation
Starbucks Released a Report Highlighting Beverage Favorites Across the Nation

The never-ending quest to create new caffeinated beverages using only two ingredients has left Starbucks with its newest concoction: the Latte Macchiato, a permanent fixture on its menu starting Tuesday.

Now if you're like me, you're probably saying to yourself, "that doesn't even make any sense." How can a latte be a macchiato? How can a macchiato be a latte? Well, we visited Starbucks to find out.

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Tucked between art galleries and just a few convenient steps from the tourism mecca that is the High Line in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan is a new Starbucks that is a little different. Keen to its surroundings, the newly opened shop feels like an art gallery, and well, they do sell the art lining the walls.

There we met Angus Maxwell, a 27-year-old barista who is clearly passionate about coffee (as well as Starbucks.) He explained the subtle differences between a macchiato, a latte and the new Latte Macchiato.

Getting straight to it, the Latte Macchiato is somewhat of a reverse latte. First, the barista steams whole milk, which is then added to an empty glass and topped with a bit of merengue-like foam. Two shots of espresso are then poured through the milk. (Normal cafe lattes are created by first pouring the espresso on the cup, followed by the steam milk.)


OK -- big deal?

Well, actually, reversing these two steps is somewhat of a big deal. Giving the steamed milk a little time to rest in the glass causes a temporary separation when the espresso is pulled and slowly poured into the foam top and steamed milk.

This small difference is supposed to invoke a much bolder espresso taste, which is then followed up with the sweetness and creaminess from the steamed milk.

Now you won't be able to see it through your white Starbucks cup, but the drink is actually much darker than a typical latte.

So why macchiato?

Pouring the milk in first and then slowly adding espresso over the milk leaves the glass with a marked effect, signature of a macchiato. Starbucks defines their macchiato as "a shot or two of espresso, with just a small amount of steamed milk that "marks" the espresso."

Not so new for some

For some Starbucks lovers, this drink is anything but new because at least one former barista was serving it to their faithful customers for years. According to Starbucks, the drink was actually created by an employee who is now on the team that creates new beverages for Starbucks.

The drink rolls out to the U.S. and Canada as well as participating stores in Latin America on Tuesday and will run consumers $3.75- $4.25 for a tall, which is the same price as the flat white latte.

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