Starbucks Flat White vs. Macchiato: which one is stronger?

Since I started buying Starbucks drinks, I have always preferred ordering them through the app. This is because I find ordering them directly from the store quite intimidating. Many Starbucks customers can relate since they find some of the beverages confusing.

If you are one of them, this post is for you. I created it to help you learn the difference between Starbucks Flat White and Macchiato. By the end of it, you will also learn which of the two is stronger. Enjoy!

Starbucks Flat White vs. Macchiato: A Brief Overview

Starbucks flat white Overview

Starbucks Flat White vs. Macchiato

Before this drink became quite popular, many people used to call it a small latte. Flat white contains a shot of espresso and steamed milk. Starbucks makes flat white with one part espresso and two parts milk.

If, for instance, you order this beverage in a large cup, it may come with a double shot of ristretto espresso and 4 ounces of steamed whole milk. It is not creamy nor too strong but is well balanced. The espresso mixes with the milk evenly.

Since Starbucks baristas blend the ingredients rather than layering them, a flat white has a smooth velvety texture and tan color. Apart from the creamy texture, this drink also contains some tiny bubbles. Starbucks allows you to customize flat white just the way you like it. For instance, you ask the barista to add your preferred topping or sweeten it with a flavor.

The milk that Starbucks uses to make flat white is hot, but it does not boil. Preparing flat white takes skill, and achieving a great one at home can be hard. You should therefore consider ordering it directly from a Starbucks store to save yourself from the hassle of making one.

What I liked

  • Its velvety texture and microfoam on top
  • The drink’s subtly sweet taste

What I didn’t like

  • It is not very strong

Who it’s best suited for

  • It is ideal for intermediate espresso enthusiasts

Starbucks macchiato Overview

Starbucks Flat White

The captivating look of Starbucks macchiato is one of the things that attracts many people to this beverage. You can take amazing pictures of this drink and post them online. This is another espresso-based beverage that features a layer of steamed milk on the top. It is a great beverage for a pick-me-up since it is strong.

Starbucks uses two shots of espresso in making macchiato. This drink is popular due to its high caffeine content. Since it contains only a few teaspoons of milk, the coffee flavor in this beverage is more pronounced. Though many people find this beverage quite delicious, it is not for everyone. If you often experience heartburn after taking caffeinated drinks, you should avoid Starbucks macchiato since it is highly acidic.

Rather than blending the ingredients, Starbucks baristas make this beverage by layering them. Steamed milk is at the bottom, while an espresso shot is at the center. On the top part is foam. This drink has a bold kick and is often served in a clear glass for you to admire the separation of milk and the espresso.

These two combine well in your mouth to offer a unique flavor. The milk added to Starbucks macchiato cuts the strength of coffee well. If you choose to order Starbucks macchiato, you can customize it based on your taste. For instance, you can sweeten this Starbucks beverage with syrups. Avoid stirring this drink once you order it.

This is also a low-calorie drink that will not sabotage your weight loss progress. Avoid taking this beverage very close to bedtime since the caffeine content can interfere with your sleep. The name of this beverage means stained or spotted in Italian. It gets its unique name from the fact that it contains a hint of milk, and it is foamed. This gives the Starbucks drink a spotted appearance.

What I liked

  • This beverage is strong
  • Attractive layered appearance

What I didn’t like

  • It is highly acidic

Who it’s best suited for

  • This is ideal for people with high caffeine tolerance.

Starbucks Flat White vs. Macchiato: Full Comparison

Starbucks Flat White vs. Macchiato

What it’s made of (ingredients)

Starbucks flat white is made up of ristretto shots of espresso, steamed whole milk, and microfoam on top. Microfoam is dense milk froth that is whisked to create some microscopic bubbles on the drink, which boost its appearance. Since Starbucks blends the ingredients, they form a smooth velvety texture.

On the other hand, Starbucks macchiato is made up of milk, foam, and two shots of signature espresso. Rather than blending these ingredients, Starbucks layers them and then serves the beverage in a clear glass to make it more attractive.

Starbucks macchiato wins in this category since it uses less milk and more espresso. It also has a more captivating appearance than Starbucks flat white.

Taste profile

Starbucks flat white may have more milk, but it is not a weak-tasting beverage. Starbucks makes it such that it has a well-balanced taste. On the other hand, Starbucks macchiato has a strong flavor and is less milky.

Starbucks macchiato also wins in this category since it has a better taste compared to Starbucks flat white. It has a bold flavor, while flat white has a milder flavor.

Caffeine content/nutritional value

If you prefer more caffeinated drinks, you will be better off ordering a Starbucks macchiato. This is made with two shots of signature espresso, and it contains 150 mg of caffeine. You can also order it with more shots of espresso, like 3 or 4, and enjoy more caffeine content. Starbucks macchiato is also popular since it is a low-calorie beverage. It only has 15 calories and no sugar or fat.

On the other hand, Starbucks flat white has less caffeine. For instance, a tall cup of this beverage contains 130 mg of caffeine. Compared to macchiato, Starbucks flat white has more calories. A tall cup of this beverage has 9 grams of fat, 13 grams of sugar, and 14grams of carbs.

Starbucks macchiato, therefore, wins in this category since it has more caffeine and fewer calories.

Availability/ Accessibility

You will not struggle to get Starbucks flat white or macchiato at most Starbucks stores since they are both available at any time. You can order these beverages directly from the store or through the Starbucks app.

Therefore, Starbucks flat white and macchiato draw in this category since they are both easy to access.

Roast level

Medium dark or dark roast beans are used to make Starbucks flat white. This coffee house utilizes freshly ground coffee beans to ensure that this beverage has a great taste. Due to the roast level of the coffee beans used in this drink, the caffeine content is reduced. On the other hand, Starbucks macchiato is made using lightly roasted coffee beans. This leads to a beverage full of flavor and highly caffeinated.

Starbucks macchiato, therefore, wins in this category since the use of lightly roasted beans makes it have more flavor.

Summary Comparison Table


Starbuck flat white

Starbucks macchiato


Steamed whole milk, ristretto espresso shot, and microfoam on top

Steamed milk, 2 shots of signature espresso, and foam on top

Taste profile

Subtly sweet taste

Has a creamy and pleasant taste

Caffeine content/ Nutritional value

A tall cup of this has 130 mg of caffeine, 170 calories,9 grams of fat, and 13 grams of sugar

This has around 150 mg of caffeine, 15 calories, 0 fat,and 0 sugar

Availability/ Accessibility

Easy to access

Available at most Starbucks stores

Roast level

Medium dark or dark roast coffee beans

Lightly roasted coffee beans

Final Verdict

Starbucks macchiato is better than flat white. This is because it has a more pleasant flavor, higher caffeine content, and fewer calories. This is a bolder and more robust coffee drink. Though flat white is also a good option that you can try, it is not the best since it has less caffeine and more calories. Some people also find it to be too milky, while others don’t like the milder flavor in Starbucks flat white. We, therefore, choose Starbucks macchiato as the clear winner.


Is Starbucks flat white stronger than macchiato?

No. Starbucks macchiato is stronger than flat white since it uses the standard shots of espresso and has a stronger flavor and more caffeine content.

What is the main difference between a flat white and a macchiato?

Though both are espresso-based beverages, they differ in that macchiato utilizes only a few teaspoons of milk and standard shots of espresso. Flat white has more milk and uses ristretto shots of espresso.

Which one is easier to make between flat white and a macchiato?

Starbucks macchiato is easier to make at home compared to a flat white. According to Starbucks baristas, a flat white is an advanced drink that requires skill. If you don’t have experience in using a milk frother and espresso machine, you would be better off ordering this drink instead of making it at home.

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