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Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Guide: Including Caffeine & Sizes

A complete look at Starbucks caramel macchiato drinks. Find out how much caffeine is in a caramel macchiato and exactly what's in this espresso drink. Plus, see how it's made, calories per size and how to order it upside down.
Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.

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Starbucks Caramel Macchiato

  • A Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is a layered espresso beverage that is made of vanilla syrup, milk, espresso and caramel sauce. The drink is available hot or iced.
  • Caramel Macchiatos are caffeinated. The amount of caffeine ranges from 75 mg for a short or tall beverage, up to 225 mg for a venti iced caramel macchiato.
  • Macchiato means stained or marked in Italian. In the case of a caramel macchiato at Starbucks, espresso shots are poured over the milk, thus marking the milk with a stain of espresso.
  • This drink ranks as one of the most popular Starbucks cold coffee drinks of all time. Interestingly, the Caramel Macchiato first appeared on the Starbucks menu in 1996 as a temporary offering to celebrate the chain’s 25th anniversary. Due to its extreme popularity, caramel macchiatos became part of the permanent Starbucks drink menu.

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What’s in a Caramel Macchiato

Caramel macchiatos are layered drinks that combine vanilla, milk, espresso and caramel sauce.

A caramel macchiato from Starbucks has four ingredients.

  1. Vanilla Syrup
  2. 2% Milk
  3. Starbucks Signature Dark Roast Espresso
  4. Caramel Drizzle

Unlike most traditional Starbucks espresso drinks that are made with just espresso or espresso and milk, a caramel macchiato is sweetened with vanilla syrup and topped with a buttery layer of caramel sauce.

It’s interesting to note, a caramel macchiato gets one less pump of flavored syrup compared to other espresso drinks of the same size.

This is because it has caramel drizzle on top. Think of the gooey caramel sauce as the “missing” pump of syrup.

Order Ingredients Go in the Cup

Espresso shots are poured on top of the milk to make a caramel macchiato.

The order the ingredients go into the cup is what makes a Starbucks caramel macchiato different than classic coffeehouse macchiatos.

The first ingredient the barista puts in the cup is vanilla syrup, followed by the milk. For a hot macchiato the milk is steamed with a light layer of foam. For an iced caramel macchiato, cold milk is combined with ice.

Next, the barista pours shots of espresso over the milk. This is what gives the drink its characteristic layered appearance.

The final step is to add caramel drizzle on top of the drink in Starbucks signature crosshatch pattern—7 across one way, 7 across the other way, and 2 circles.

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Drink Sizes

An 12 ounce tall size Starbucks hot caramel macchiato.
A tall size caramel macchiato at Starbucks comes with one shot of espresso and has about 75 mg of caffeine.

Iced Drink Sizes: Starbucks iced caramel macchiatos come in three sizes served in cold cups: tall (12 fl. oz.), grande (16 fl. oz.) and venti (24 fl. oz.).

Hot Drink Sizes: Hot caramel macchiatos come in four sizes: short (8 fl. oz.), tall (12 fl. oz.), grande (16 fl. oz.) and venti (20 fl. oz.).

Make note, iced espresso-based beverages are not available in Starbucks mega-trenta cup size. Additionally, an iced venti drink is 4 ounces bigger than a hot venti.

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Caffeine in a Caramel Macchiato

A Venti Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato.
A venti iced caramel macchiato at Starbucks is made with 3 shots of espresso and has 225 mg of caffeine.

The amount of caffeine in a caramel macchiato depends on two factors: the drink’s size and whether or not it’s ordered hot or iced. Both determine the number of shots of espresso the drink gets.

And, of course, the amount of espresso determines how much caffeine is in each macchiato.

Caffeine in an Iced Caramel Macchiato: Iced caramel macchiatos come in 3 sizes: tall, grande and venti. A tall beverage is made with 1 shot of espresso and has 75 mg of caffeine. A grande is made with 2 shots of espresso and has 150 mg of caffeine. An iced venti caramel macchiato, which is 24 fluid ounces, is made with 3 shots of espresso. It contains 225 mg of caffeine.

Caffeine in an Hot Caramel Macchiato: Hot caramel macchiatos come in 4 sizes: short, tall, grande and venti. Both an 8-ounce short macchiato and 12-ounce tall macchiato are made with 1 shot of espresso and contain 75 mg of caffeine. Likewise, both a 16-ounce grande and 20-ounce venti are made with 2 shots of espresso and have 150 mg of caffeine.

Caffeine in Venti Caramel Macchiatos: Venti iced espresso drinks at Starbucks are actually 4 ounces larger than their hot-beverage counterparts and are made with an additional shot of espresso. This means a venti iced caramel macchiato contains 75 mg more caffeine than a venti hot. Specifically, a 24 ounce venti iced caramel macchiato has 225 mg of caffeine whereas a hot venti caramel macchiato has 150 mg.

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Calories in a Caramel Macchiato

  • Short, tall, grande and venti hot caramel macchiatos have 120, 190, 250 and 310 calories respectively.
  • Tall, grande and venti iced caramel macchiatos have 180, 250 and 350 calories respectively.

Ordering Options

Hot or Iced: A hot Starbucks Caramel Macchiato is made with steamed milk and hot espresso. For an Iced Caramel Macchiato the steamed milk is replaced with cold milk and ice.

Type of Milk: The standard caramel macchiato recipe calls for 2% dairy milk. However, you can substitute the milk with any other type of milk—dairy or dairy-free.

Type of Espresso: This drink is made with dark espresso roast. It can be substituted with blonde roast or decaf espresso.

Skinny Caramel Macchiato: To order a skinny caramel macchiato, ask for sugar-free vanilla syrup and non-fat milk or a plant-based milk alternative. Here are a few more ways to cut calories on Starbucks drinks.

Upside Down: An upside down Starbucks caramel macchiato reverses the order the milk and espresso are added to the cup. The drink still begins with vanilla syrup and is finished with caramel drizzle. On the Starbucks app, upside down is a customization option.

Stirred: A caramel macchiato is a layered beverage that captures a little of each flavor with each nuanced sip. It’s not meant to be stirred. However, if desired you can ask for it to be stirred or do it yourself.

Questions You May Have

Does a caramel macchiato have caffeine?

Starbucks caramel macchiatos are made with espresso and have caffeine. The amount of caffeine depends on the drink size and number of shots. For instance, a tall macchiato made with one shot of espresso contains about 75 mg of caffeine, but a grande made with two shots of espresso has about 150 mg of caffeine.

What Starbucks drinks are similar to a caramel macchiato?

The drink most similar to a caramel macchiato at Starbucks is the seasonal Apple Crisp Macchiato which was on the fall 2021 menu. Otherwise, a vanilla latte topped with caramel sauce is very similar to a caramel macchiato since it has the same ingredients. The only difference is a latte has one more pump of vanilla syrup and the espresso goes in the cup before the milk.

What is an upside down caramel macchiato at Starbucks?

A Starbucks caramel macchiato begins with milk which is topped or “marked” with espresso. An upside down caramel macchiato at Starbucks reverses the order the milk and espresso go into the cup. Simply put, the espresso is poured into the cup before the milk. Mistakenly, some people think the order that all the ingredients (syrup, milk, espresso and caramel sauce) go into the cup is reversed. However, an upside down caramel macchiato made correctly only flips the order of the milk and espresso.

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