Ethiopian Macchiato: A Blend of Italian Influence in Ethiopian Tradition

The Macchiato, literally meaning 'stained' or 'spotted' in Italian, is a finely balanced coffee beverage known for the dash of milk added to an espresso. It's known to be a go-between for those who find an espresso too strong and a cappuccino too mild. But this Italian classic took on an entirely new identity when it crossed borders and landed on the high plateaus of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, though never colonized, had brief periods of occupation, one such being by Italy from 1936 to 1941. During this time, Italian food culture left a lasting impression and cafe culture is one, even adding to existing culture in the place where coffee is birthed. 

The Ethiopian Macchiato has since become a staple in the country's coffee shops and homes. It's a testimony to Ethiopia's resilient spirit, a symbol of their ability to adopt external influences while preserving the essence of their own traditions. The Ethiopian version of Macchiato often uses a stronger coffee base that reflects the robust local flavors, and their love for a strong, rich coffee.

Prep Time: 2 mins

Cook Time: 3 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Servings: 1

Nutrition Profile: Rich in Antioxidants, Low Calorie

Ethiopian Macchiato: A Blend of Italian Influence in Ethiopian Tradition



  • Instant Coffee - 1 tsp
  • Brown Sugar - 1 tsp
  • Water - ¼ cup
  • Whole milk - a splash



Step 1
Boil the water: Start by bringing the 1/4 cup of water to a boil in a small pot or kettle. The water should be hot enough to properly dissolve the coffee but not too hot as to scorch it.

Step 2
Prepare the coffee: In a mug, add 1 teaspoon of instant coffee or brew ethiopian cofee. The distinct flavor profile of Ethiopian coffee - often marked by a strong body with wine and fruit overtones - is crucial for this recipe.

Step 3
Add sugar: Along with the coffee, add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. This will impart a sweet caramel undertone to the coffee, subtly balancing the strong flavor of the coffee.

Step 4
Pour the hot water: Once the water has boiled, pour it over the coffee and sugar in the mug. Stir well until the coffee and sugar are fully dissolved.

Step 5
Prepare the 'stain' of milk: Heat a splash of whole milk on the stove until it's steaming but not boiling. A small amount of milk is crucial as a true macchiato only has a 'stain' of milk.

Step 6
Froth the milk: If you have a frother, use it to froth the milk until it's foamy. This step adds a light, airy texture to the macchiato. If you don't have a frother, a whisk or even a tightly sealed jar shaken vigorously can work as well.

Step 7
Final Step - 'staining' the coffee: Pour the frothy milk over the coffee, creating a light layer of milk foam on top. The milk's creamy texture and taste will soften the coffee's strength, creating a smooth and flavorful beverage.

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