This is your complete guide to the Starbucks Caramel Macchiato — taste, ingredients, caffeine, calories, recipe — and a guide to make it according to your taste.
If you’re like me, you’d never leave a Starbucks without enjoying a Caramel Macchiato. Since its debut in 1996, the Caramel Macchiato’s popularity isn’t by chance. Why?
Because it’s a combination of different, calm, and perfect, it’s a cup of everything you’d need in coffee — milk, vanilla syrup, rich caffeine espresso, and caramel sauce.
We want to take you through the history of the Caramel Macchiato and help you learn how to craft your own Caramel Macchiato coffee classic at home.
Let’s dive in!
Brief History of Starbucks Caramel Macchiato
You’d hardly leave a Starbucks outlet without hearing someone order the Caramel Macchiato. Many people I’ve encountered prefer it chilled.
So, what exactly is the Starbucks Caramel Macchiato?
The Caramel Macchiato is a Starbucks layered espresso coffee drink made of express, vanilla syrup, and milk, topped with caramel sauce, and served hot or iced/chilled coffee.
Originally, Macchiato is an Italian espresso shot topped with steamed milk and stained with vanilla syrup.
Starbucks debuted the Caramel Macchiato in 1996, and today it ranks among the most popular Starbucks drinks. But Starbucks serves a different version of the Italian espresso macchiato. Instead of vanilla syrup, Starbucks stains the milk with espresso shots on top and then adds the signature caramel sauce.
Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Overview
Now that you know the origin of this delightfully refreshing coffee, you might want to learn how to make it.
What’s In a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato – (Ingredients)
If you take a sip of the drink, you’ll ask, “What makes the Caramel Macchiato so good?” I did ask the question and sought the answer. Let me share it with you.
A Starbucks’ made caramel macchiato has four key ingredients: Shots of Starbucks Dark Roast Espresso, Sweet Vanilla Syrup [Water, Sugar, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate], 2% steamed Milk, and drizzle Caramel sauce [Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Butter (Cream (Milk), Salt, Natural Flavors, Heavy Cream, Nonfat Dry Milk, Mono & Diglycerides, Sulfites, Soy Lecithin]
Unlike other Starbucks espresso drinks made with just their Starbucks Espresso Roast or espresso and milk, the caramel in the Macchiato has a different sweetened taste. I can credit the great flavor to the vanilla syrup topped with the caramel sauce buttery layer.
But there is an additional trick that Starbucks adds to this drink.
Starbucks gives the caramel macchiato one less pump of flavored syrup. The caramel sauce on top covers for the less syrup and gives it a great taste.
Also, Starbucks says their Caramel Macchiato doesn’t have any allergens. But if you’re lactose intolerant, you’d want to swap the milk for plant-based or leave it out altogether. If you’re taking the drink at Starbucks, you’re cautioned that any of their products can’t be allergen-free because they use shared equipment to prepare, store, and serve them. So, one may end up reacting.
Starbucks Caramel Macchiato: Sizes, nutrition, Caffeine & Calories
Sizes of Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Available?
Starbucks offers the Caramel Macchiato in two options: Iced drink and Hot drink. The choice is yours.
The Iced Drink Sizes of Starbucks caramel macchiato are available in three sizes: Tall (12 fl. oz.), Grande (16 fl. oz.), and Venti (24 fl. oz.).
The Hot Drink Sizes of Starbucks caramel macchiato are available in four sizes: Short (8 fl. oz.), Tall (12 fl. oz.), Grande (16 fl. oz.), and Venti (20 fl. oz.).
Starbucks calculates the Caramel Macchiato drink’s nutrition information based on their standard recipes. Only a drink size can change the nutritional content and no other customizations.
That said, the nutritional facts of a Size 16 fl oz hot Caramel Macchiato drink, based on the 2,000 calories/day recommendation, are as follows:
|Calorie count (out of 2,000 calories daily intake)||250kJ|
|Nutrient Content (per Grande 16 fl oz serving)||% Of Daily Value|
|Calories from Fat||60 kcal|
|Total Fat 7g
Trans Fat (0g)
Saturated Fat (4.5g)
|Cholesterol (25 mg)||8%|
|Salt (Sodium) (150mg)||7%|
|Total Carbohydrates (35 g)
Dietary Fiber (0g)
|Protein (10 g)||–|
Let me expound a bit on calories:
The calories of the short, tall, grande, and venti hot caramel macchiatos are 120, 190, 250, and 310. These are different from the calories in an iced macchiato. The calories of the tall, grande, and venti iced caramel macchiatos are 180, 250, and 350, respectively.
The caffeine amount in a cup of caramel macchiato depends on two major factors: the size and type (hot or iced). Both factors determine the number of espresso shots your drink gets. The espresso shots determine the amount of caffeine in your cup of macchiato.
That said, let’s see the caffeine content of your cup of macchiato.
The Iced Caramel Macchiato caffeine content differs with the size of the cup. A tall (12 fl. oz.), which has 1 shot of espresso contains 75 mg of caffeine, a Grande (16 fl. oz.) with 2 shots of espresso has 150 mg of caffeine, and a Venti (24 fl. oz.) with 24 fluid ounces and 3 shots of espresso has 225 mg of caffeine.
Note that there is a difference between the caffeine content in iced and hot Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.
The caffeine content of a Hot Caramel Macchiato also depends on the size of your cup. A short (8 fl. oz.), both 8-ounce and 12-ounce, which has 1 espresso shot contains 75 mg of caffeine, while a tall (12 fl. oz.), both 8-ounce and 12-ounce, which has 1 shot of espresso also contains 75 mg of caffeine. A Grande (16 fl. oz.), both 16-ounce and 20-ounce made with 2 espresso shots contains 150 mg of caffeine and a Venti (20 fl. oz.), both16-ounce and 20-ounce, made with 2 espresso shots has 150 mg of caffeine.
So, What Does Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Taste Like?
If you’ve never tasted a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato before, you’ll get a real treat. A first sip gives you a rich, bold Starbucks espresso, complemented with hints of creamy milk, vanilla flavor, and the great caramel drizzle sauce. I’d recommend this drink for anyone, both serious and nonserious coffee drinkers.
Ways to Customize a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks
The best thing about taking your Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks is that they allow creativity. You can customize the drink any way you want.
Instead of steamed milk, you can choose plant-based milk or other alternatives like almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk, or soy milk. They’re all great options.
Also, you can choose the sugar-free options for both vanilla syrup and caramel syrup. You will still get a great taste of your Caramel Macchiato.
If you don’t like fat, Starbucks still allows you to swap the 2% milk for other milk variations like the nonfat milk or whole milk or ask for the half and a half for a super-rich taste.
How to Make Starbucks Caramel Macchiato at Home - Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Copycat Recipe
- Espresso machine (if you don't have this machine, a stovetop Moka pot or a Nespresso espresso roast will do)
- Milk frother
- 1 shot espresso Starbucks roast coffee
- 1 cup 2% milk (or use skim milk)
- 1 Tbsp Starbucks Vanilla Syrup
- Caramel sauceWhipped cream (optional)
- Ice (for an iced drink) to fill glass
- Prepare your 1 shot of espresso. Brew your Starbucks Espresso Roast using an espresso machine, a stovetop Moka pot, or a Nespresso.
- Froth your milk. I prefer the 2% whole milk, but you can use the other milk options. If you're using a Nespresso Aeroccino, use the medium froth setting to froth the milk.
- Add the Vanilla Syrup into your cup. Make sure it's the first to get into the bottom of the cup.
- Fill your cup ¾ full with milk and let it settle for 30 seconds, then fill the remaining ¼ space with the milk foam.
- Gently pour your ground espresso shot through the milk and milk foam. This is what will give your drink its cute layered appearance.
- Finally, top with drizzled caramel sauce and whipped cream (optional). If you want it to be a true Starbucks, use the Starbucks signature 7 x 7 crosshatch pattern and 2 circles.
- Any preferred dark roast will do if you can't use the Starbucks Signature Espresso. Alternatively, you can buy the Starbucks roast espresso.
- You can also buy syrups at Starbucks to get a true caramel macchiato.
- If you don't have an espresso machine to steam and froth your milk, you can use a normal milk frother or just do it by hand.
- If you wish to reduce your drink's sweetness, you can make your own vanilla syrup and caramel sauce and control sugar quantity.
- You can reduce the calorie content of your drink by reducing the amount of whipped cream or avoiding it at all. Alternatively, use no-fat milk and skim milk.
Does Starbucks caramel macchiato have caffeine?
Yes, the Starbucks caramel macchiatos are made using espresso, which has caffeine. The espresso content depends on each drink’s size and type (iced or hot). A tall macchiato single-shot contains 75 mg of caffeine, while a grande double-shot has 150 mg of caffeine.
What Starbucks drinks are similar to a caramel macchiato?
There is only one Starbucks drink closest to the caramel macchiato. It’s the seasonal Apple Crisp Macchiato. Starbucks included it on its fall 2021 menu. The only next closest drink is the vanilla latte topped with caramel sauce because of its similar ingredients. But they differ in preparation.
What is an upside-down caramel macchiato at Starbucks?
While a true Starbucks caramel macchiato starts with milk topped with espresso, an upside-down caramel macchiato this order and espresso topped with milk. Only the order of milk and espresso are reversed while the rest of the ingredients remain the same.
What makes the Starbucks Caramel Macchiato so good?
A brew of Starbucks Espresso Roast complemented with sweet vanilla syrup, buttery caramel, whipped cream, steamed milk, and milk foam brings out a great drink named Caramel Macchiato.