Starbucks Has A New Drink, But No One Understands WTF A Latte Macchiato Is

So we bought one.

On Jan. 5, Starbucks will bestow a new espresso beverage upon the caffeine-addicted in the U.S., Canada and participating stores in Latin America -- the latte macchiato.

Yet, no one seems to get exactly what that is.

According to Starbucks, only two ingredients are needed to make this handcrafted jolt in a cup -- espresso and milk. It is described as:

Steamed whole milk that is perfectly aerated and free-poured creating dense foam reminiscent of meringue. The beverage is then marked by slowly-poured full espresso shots, creating a signature espresso dot.

But that make it entirely clear how this particular beverage differs from a macchiato, which is espresso topped by milk foam; and a latte, which is an espresso topped by steamed milk and milk foam.

“Essentially, it’s an upside-down latte,” said a very patient barista I peppered with 2,384,123,948 gazillion questions at a local Starbucks this afternoon.

What she meant is that instead of making a latte, in which you pour two shots of espresso into a cup and then top it with steamed milk and foam, you flip the process.

In order to make Starbucks' latest offering, a barista steams whole milk in a cup then lets it sit for a moment so that the milk can turn into a creamier texture that is “reminiscent of meringue.” Then two shots of espresso are slowly hand poured into the cup from a small espresso pitcher. Once the espresso is completely poured, a cute little brown dot is created at the top of the foam that looks like a java belly button.

Due to the milk having a moment to aerate, the drink is a tad thicker. When the espresso is poured into the milk, the bulk of the espresso sits in the middle of the cup. This gives the drink a layered appearance -- the top layer is pure foam, the middle is pure espresso and the bottom layer is coffee-flavored foam created by some espresso in the middle trickling to the bottom of the cup.

The flavor is a bold shot of espresso followed by creamy sips of milk.

But it is good? Personally, I liked it but I also fill my coffee maker with Café Bustelo -- which is meant for espressos, not coffee -- and drink that like it’s a completely normal cup of joe. I also typically add just a splash of milk to that beast of a brew, no sugar.

If that sounds like your jam, then you’ll like this new drink a latte.

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Germany: Pharisäer

The Germans know how to warm up a cup of coffee: sneak two ounces of rum in it. Mix dark coffee, rum and sugar to taste, and top it with whipped cream.

Vietnam: Egg Coffee

This decadent coffee is more like a full-on dessert: beat two egg yolks with a half teaspoon each of condensed milk, honey and vanilla extract until fluffy. Pour into a cup and top with hot black Vietnamese coffee. The egg mixture will float to the top, where you can spoon it into your mouth or drink right away.

USA: Gibraltar

Many an Instagram feed has been filled with pictures of this espresso drink. Legend is that it started when San Franciscan baristas wanted to shoot a latte mid-shift and get back to work: a double shot of espresso is topped with a shot of steamed milk (and served in a Gibraltar glass), just enough to cool the espresso for a quick gulp.

Spain: Cafe Bombón

This popular Spanish coffee is for those who like it sweet. Mix equal parts strong coffee with sweetened condensed milk.

Turkey: Turkish Coffee
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It's said every Turkish family has its own recipe for this tradition. Super-finely ground coffee is brewed in a copper pot called a cezve, sweetened and boiled several times over heat. It's kind of complicated, but well worth the work. Here's how it's done.

France: Cafe au Lait
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Traditional cafe au laits are essentially equal parts brewed coffee and steamed milk. To spice it up, we like to add chicory, like they do at New Orleans' Cafe du Monde.

Mexico: Cafe de Olla

Translated in English to "pot coffee," cafe de olla is a sweetened, spiced coffee popular in Mexico. Bring dark-roasted, ground coffee to a slow boil in a saucepan with a quart of water, cinnamon stick, orange peel and dark brown sugar. When the sugar is dissolved, let steep for five minutes before straining into a cup.

Italy: Espresso Romano
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Italians often serve their espresso with a slice of lemon on the side -- the sweeter notes of the espresso are said to be highlighted by the citrus when you rub the inside rim of your glass with the lemon.

New Zealand & Australia: Flat White

Similar to a Gibraltar, the flat white is made with a double shot of espresso and just a little more steamed milk to straddle the line between cappuccino and full-blown latte.

Greece: Frappé
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Frappés are iced coffee drinks made with instant coffee, sugar and water whisked into a foam, invented by a Nescafé marketer in 1957 and is now one of the most popular ways to drink coffee in Greece. Mix a teaspoon of instant coffee with a teaspoon of sugar, mix with a frappe blender until it's a solid foam and add ice and water.

Austria: Kaisermelange
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The kaisermelange (or "emperor's blend") is popular Austrian way of drinking dark coffee, served with an egg yolk, sugar and cognac. Some people blend the yolk with sugar and maybe a little milk.