Caramel Macchiato

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Get step-by-step instructions and tips to make the very popular Starbucks Caramel Macchiato drink at home in just 5 minutes.

Drizzling caramel sauce on top of a Caramel Macchiato drink.

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Starbucks Caramel Macchiato

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is a hot, caffeinated drink made with espresso, milk, vanilla syrup, and caramel drizzle. Macchiato means “stained” or “marked” and the Caramel Macchiato is made by adding espresso into frothed milk, leaving a dot or a mark of espresso on top.

The name of the drink is a little confusing since there isn’t any caramel in the coffee. It’s flavored with vanilla syrup and the caramel is only drizzled on top of the drink.

For a drink to be called a Caramel Macchiato, the vanilla syrup and frothed milk needs to go into the cup first, then the espresso, followed by the caramel drizzle. It’s the espresso crema mark on top of the milk that makes a drink a Caramel Macchiato and not a latte.

This drink is essentially a vanilla latte with caramel drizzle but made “upside down” by adding the milk in first into the cup instead of the espresso.

RELATED: Iced Caramel Macchiato

Recipe Highlights

  • Espresso is needed to make this drink properly and the easiest way to make it is with a Nespresso.
  • Frothed milk is simple to make at home with a French press or an electric milk frother.
  • The recipe makes a 16 ounce (2 cups) hot espresso drink.

RELATED: How to Make an Americano

Ingredient Notes

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato copycat ingredients.
  • Espresso: Use Starbucks Espresso Roast or Blonde Espresso Nespresso capsules to make the drink taste closest to Starbucks. You can also use regular espresso from an espresso machine.
  • Vanilla syrup: Use homemade vanilla syrup or buy it directly at a Starbucks location.
  • Milk: Starbucks makes theirs with 2% milk but you can use any milk you like.
  • Caramel sauce: It’s a little tricky to make caramel sauce at home, so store-bought is the easiest to use. It’s only used to drizzle on top of the drink.

For full ingredients and detailed instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Milk poured into an electric frother.

Step 1: Froth milk. Frothed milk can be made using an electric milk frother. 

Another method is to simmer milk on the stovetop, pour it into a French press, then pump the plunger a few times to create froth.

Vanilla syrup poured into

Step 2: Put vanilla syrup into a cup.

Frothed milk poured into a cup.

Step 3: Add frothed milk.

Step 4: Add espresso shots. Drizzle caramel sauce on top.

Nespresso Notes

The easiest way to make espresso at home is with a Nespresso machine.

1 shot of espresso = 1 Nespresso espresso capsule

To make this Caramel Macchiato, use 1 or 2 Nespresso espresso capsules or 1 double espresso capsule. Don’t use the coffee/mug capsules for Vertuo machines which make a full cup of coffee and not espresso.

Starbucks uses regular espresso to make a Caramel Macchiato but try making it at home with their Blonde espresso, which is more popular.

Expert Tips

  • If you don’t have an espresso machine or a Nespresso, you can use instant coffee. Combine 1 tablespoon of instant coffee and ¼ cup hot water to replace the 2 shots of espresso in the recipe.
  • Make the homemade vanilla syrup ahead of time. It’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • The drink is intended to be layered and not mixed together. Drink it as it, without stirring. You’ll taste the caramel drizzle with the milk first, then get more of the espresso as you keep sipping.

Questions You May Have

How is a Caramel Macchiato different from a latte?

A Caramel Macchiato is a vanilla flavored latte but the order in which the ingredients go into the drink is what makes it different. Frothed milk goes in first, then the espresso. In a latte, the espresso goes in first, then the frothed milk.

How is this different from a vanilla latte with caramel drizzle?

All the ingredients would be the same, but the Caramel Macchiato is made by assembling the drink with vanilla syrup, frothed milk, the espresso, then the caramel drizzle. The vanilla latte would have the frothed milk last, then the caramel drizzle.

How many shots of espresso goes into the drink?

Starbucks makes theirs with 1 shot for a short (8 ounces) and tall drink (12 ounces) and 2 shots for a grande (16 ounces) and venti (20 ounces). You can use 1 or 2 shots of espresso, depending on how strong you want the drink.

What’s the difference between an Espresso Macchiato and a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks?

There are 2 macchiato drinks on the Starbucks menu and they’re completely different. The Espresso Macchiato is a small drink with espresso and a tiny bit of milk, and the Caramel Macchiato is an upside down latte with caramel drizzle.

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato copycat in a glass mug.

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5 from 1 vote

Caramel Macchiato (Starbucks Copycat)

By: Jee Choe
A recreation of a classic Starbucks drink, made the same way Starbucks does.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 serving (16 ounces)

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Froth milk.
    Frothed milk can be made using an electric milk frother. Another method is to simmer milk on the stovetop, pour it into a French press, then pump the plunger a few times to create froth.
    1 ¼ cups 2% milk
  • Put vanilla syrup into a cup. Pour in frothed milk. Add espresso shots.
    Use 2 Nespresso espresso capsules or 1 double espresso capsule.
    2 tablespoons vanilla syrup, 2 capsules Nespresso Starbucks espresso
  • Drizzle caramel sauce on top.
    2 teaspoons caramel sauce

Notes

  • 1 shot of espresso = 1 Nespresso espresso capsule
  • To make a 16 ounce (grande) Starbucks drink, you’ll need 2 Nespresso espresso or ristretto capsules. You can also use 1 double espresso capsule.
  • Starbucks makes theirs with 2% milk but you can use any milk you like.
  • If you don’t have an espresso machine or a Nespresso, you can use instant coffee. Combine 1 tablespoon of instant coffee and ¼ cup hot water to replace the 2 shots of espresso in the recipe.
  • Make a batch of homemade vanilla syrup ahead of time. It’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • The drink is intended to be layered and not mixed together. Drink it as it, without stirring. You’ll taste the caramel drizzle with the milk first, then get more of the espresso as you keep sipping.

Nutrition

Calories: 290Carbohydrates: 53gProtein: 10gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 217mgPotassium: 451mgSugar: 53gVitamin A: 315IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 367mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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