The story goes that baristas needed to identify the difference between the espressos and the espressos with a small amount of milk in them. The solution was to spot the espresso with milk or froth to distinguish the Espresso Macchiato or Caffé Macchiato (‘spotted coffee’).
Various preferences apply to the amount of milk preferred but general consensus would involve an espresso with a dash of milk, usually textured (sometimes cold), and a dollop of froth. This can also be known as a Short Macchiato separating itself from the Long Macchiato. When more than a small amount of milk is added some would begin to consider the beverage to be more like a piccolo latte, cortado or Antoccino. In Spain an espresso with a small amount of milk would be known as the café cortado. Manchado being the Spanish translation for stained.
The Macchiato is perfect for people who want the quick boost of coffee but the natural edge and strength of the espresso lessened by the dash of milk. Often served in a small 90ml / 3 ounce glass allowing the customer to visually see the milk stain through the coffee.
The Long Macchiato consists of a double espresso with a small amount of milk and spotted with foam. This beverage is one of the most variant from place to place and seems to lack a set standard other drinks enjoy. The first way is to make it a little more like the Americano / Long Black with hot water first, then a double espresso, dash of milk and dollop of froth. The name suggests it would have hot water as the long black does but can also otherwise be known as a Double Macc. The second is to have no hot water at all partnering the double shot with dash of milk and dollop of froth.
To get a desired ‘layered affect’ in a macchiato glass, the final way is to begin with hot water (about 1cm) with a double ristretto or double shot on top with a dash of milk and dollop of froth. The hot water, stained coffee and crema create three layers complimenting each other in taste.