A barista at a “real” coffee shop is blaming Starbucks for this common misconception.
TikToker @_brieta gets into many mix-ups at her job as a barista because of one particular Starbucks menu item: the macchiato. The drink’s name hails from the Italian word for “stained or marked” because when milk and espresso are combined, the color changes.
Starbucks and other chains have interpreted this to mean adding a splash of espresso to a lot of milk, while the traditional way is adding a tiny bit of milk to a shot of espresso.
“My favorite is when you work at a real coffee shop, and someone comes in and orders a macchiato,” she explained.
“You ask them if they want a traditional macchiato or a ‘Starbucks macchiato,'” she continued. “They say, ‘What’s the difference?’ I say, ‘A traditional macchiato is a shot of espresso with a dollop of foam on top … and a ‘Starbucks macchiato is like a caramel latte.'”
She also noted that the traditional drink — about the size of an espresso shot — is much smaller than the Starbucks version.
“They say, ‘I’ll take a traditional macchiato.’ So I make it for them, and when I hand it to them, they go, ‘That’s not what I wanted,'” she said.
The result is that the barista always ends up having to make them a Starbucks-style macchiato anyway. Some people in the comments noted that Starbucks does offer a lesser-known “espresso macchiato” that is the traditional version.
“I worked at a real coffee shop down the street from a Starbucks in a tourist trap. I know this experience too deeply,” a person commented.
“This happened to me once, but I shut up and drank it because I was more embarrassed that I didn’t know what a real macchiato was,” someone wrote.
“Ironically, Starbucks has macchiatos, and I’ve had this exact problem as a Starbucks barista,” another said.
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