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Starbucks Adds Latte Macchiato To Growing Menu Of Espresso Drinks

The intermediate beverage is not quite a latte, and not quite an espresso macchiato either.

Posted on January 4, 2016, at 6:02 a.m. ET

Venessa Wong / BuzzFeed News

Starbucks — the Seattle cafe chain that has introduced Americans to an array of espresso and coffee concoctions over the years — is brewing a new combination of espresso and milk. Tomorrow, the company launches the "latte macchiato" as part of its espresso lineup, which already includes lattes, mochas, caramel macchiatos, cappuccinos, Americanos, and plain old espresso.

"The Latte Macchiato is just two ingredients – espresso and milk – combining perfectly aerated whole milk free-poured, creating a meringue like foam, and then topped with two full, roasty espresso shots which are slowly poured through the foam 'marking' the milk with a signature espresso dot," reads a description from a Starbucks spokesperson.

It is also being added to Starbucks menus in Canada, and most markets in Latin America (Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Curacao, Bahamas, and Colombia).

The latte macchiato is more espresso-y than a flat white, but less so than an espresso macchiato. Here's what they look like IRL at Starbucks.

Venessa Wong / BuzzFeed News

Starbucks can be fanciful about what really is just another variation of espresso with milk. Yet, perhaps as pasta eaters long ago accepted that spaghetti (which technically has a diameter between 0.06 and 0.11 inches, according to the U.S. FDA) and vermicelli (thinner than 0.06 inches) are distinct enough to warrant different names, coffee drinkers will also embrace espresso macchiatos, latte macchiatos, and flat whites as distinct beverages as well.

For instance, while flat white and latte macchiato both contain two shots of espresso, the flat white uses smaller ristretto shots (about 1.15 fl oz in total) while the latte macchiato uses larger, standard shots (1.5 fl oz) you'd get in, say a latte, creating a stronger espresso flavor, explained Starbucks Coffee Master Angus Maxwell.

Yes, it's all varying shades of coffee, but it's worth...a shot. The flat white, after all, did very well in the U.S. after it launched in early 2015. "I didn’t think it was a big idea. I was wrong," said Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at a conference last spring. "Flat white has been a runaway of success for the company."

Blended drinks and espresso drinks contributed significantly to the chain's growth last year, with new drinks (like flat white, Frappuccino minis, and cold) adding 1 point of comparable sales growth during the fiscal third quarter.

As competing chains focus on their espresso offerings — Dunkin' Donuts launched its own take on the macchiato in the fall, and high-end cafes like Blue Bottle are gaining traction — Starbucks has little choice but to enhance its own caffeinated offerings if it is to dominate the growing, but crowded, world of premium coffee.


A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.