Last week I talked about the caramel macchiato’s younger sibling, the vanilla macchiato. Today the drink in the spotlight is another younger sibling in Starbucks’s macchiato family — the Hazelnut Macchiato.

Like the vanilla macch and the caramel macch, this drink starts with vanilla syrup, steamed milk, foam, and espresso shots, in that order. What makes this one different is the sauce on top: not caramel, not vanilla, but hazelnut sauce. Which is apparently a thing now?

A grande Hazelnut Macchiato

A grande Hazelnut Macchiato

The result of replacing the caramel sauce with hazelnut sauce is a sweet, hazelnutty, delicious drink. What makes it different from a regular old hazelnut latte? Not only does the sauce give it a richer, slightly darker hazelnut flavor than the regular hazelnut syrup usually does, but the additional vanilla syrup bumps up the sweetness a notch and tones down the nuttiness a little. As with the caramel version of this drink, I recommend giving it a good stir before drinking, to make sure the hazelnut syrup has dissolved in the milk.

It’s a regular espresso drink, so the usual options apply — hot/iced, regular/decaf, choice of milk. It can also be ordered “upside-down”, meaning the sauce and the espresso go in the cup first instead of last so everything mixes together better.

Little personal anecdote here — when I first saw this drink appear on the menu, I thought it was an officialization of one of my favorite custom drinks. For several years now, I’ve frequently ordered a caramel macchiato with hazelnut syrup instead of vanilla. I spotted it on a “your barista recommends” board at some point, gave it a shot, and have been hooked ever since. In fact, the hazelnut macchiato is kind of the reverse of mine; instead of swapping out the vanilla for hazelnut and leaving the caramel, it swaps out the caramel and leaves the vanilla. Personally, I think hazelnut + caramel is a more interesting combo than hazelnut + vanilla. If you find yourself between ordering a caramel macchiato and a hazelnut macchiato, try this version instead and you’ll basically have both!

Bullet-pointed summary:

  • What: Hazelnut Macchiato
  • Where: Starbucks
  • Options: hot or iced, decaf or regular, your choice of milk
  • Verdict: A sweeter take on the hazelnut latte, or possibly a hazelnuttier take on the caramel macchiato