Stained coffee, discover what it is and how to do it correctly

The “café manchado” is a type of coffee that has been well-known in Spain for years. Originating from the Italian latte macchiato, it’s a coffee with a high amount of milk and just a splash of coffee.

A couple of days ago on this website, we talked about the “café trifásico” and how it’s made. Today, it’s time to discuss the “café manchado” and how it’s prepared.

What is Café Manchado?

As mentioned in the introduction to this post, the café manchado consists of a significant amount of milk and “a few drops” of coffee.

There are different variations depending on the establishment or the person making it, but if we’re looking for “standard” quantities, we could say that café manchado consists of 25% coffee and 75% milk.

There are other versions of café manchado that require a bit more preparation, where the quantities are more or less 1/3 coffee, 1/3 milk, and 1/3 milk foam.

You may have noticed that the difference between a café manchado and a café con leche is the amount of milk used.

In café with milk, the quantity of espresso is usually similar to that of milk, while in café manchado, there’s a bit more milk.

How to Prepare Café Manchado

The preparation of a café manchado is straightforward as we mainly need two ingredients (you can use cinnamon or cocoa powder for decoration if desired).

The first step is to pour coffee into a cup.

It doesn’t need to be a specific type of coffee maker. However, it looks best when prepared with an espresso made in an espresso machine or a super-automatic coffee maker.

The cup to use for café manchado is the same as you would use for café with milk.

Control that the coffee occupies about 1/4 of the cup’s capacity (if you’re making it at home, you can do it by eye—no need to get too technical about whether it’s 5ml more or less).

Once you have the espresso in your cup, it’s time to pour in the milk.

Keep in mind that to make a good café manchado, the milk must be VERY hot.

Ideally, it should also have a bit of foam (you won’t have a problem if you have an espresso machine or super-automatic coffee maker).

It’s okay if you don’t have one and want to make café manchado; you can heat the milk in a container and pour it without foam. The important thing is that it’s piping hot.

There’s another version of café manchado that has a lot of foam, and for this, the preparation is a bit different and requires more work.

The first step is the same as before—pour the espresso, but instead of aiming for 1/4 of the cup’s size, try to get closer to 1/3.

The second step is to pour very hot milk, occupying the same space as the coffee, leaving 1/3 free for the foam.

Lastly, it’s time to pour a good, dense milk foam until the cup is full.

This last version requires much more effort and involves more utensils.

In Spain, café manchado is usually more traditional and classic, with that 1/4 espresso and then 3/4 hot milk on top.

I hope this post has helped you address some questions you might have had about café manchado and encouraged you to give it a try!

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