Upside Down Caramel Macchiato

The Upside Down Caramel Macchiato will soon become your new favorite beverage!

We all have our favorite coffee. And we all have our own way to customize them. This version of the caramel macchiato is a prime example of a beverage being made in an alternative way to suit our desires.

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Topics Explored

  1. What Is It?
  2. How to Order It
  3. Standard Macchiato vs. Upside Down Version
  4. How To Make An Upside Down Caramel Macchiato
  5. Other Upside Down Drinks
  6. FAQs

What Is An Upside Down Caramel Macchiato?

The Upside Down Caramel Macchiato is, as the name would suggest, an ‘interverted’ version of the Iced Caramel Macchiato

In a regular Iced Caramel Macchiato, the caramel is added last, meaning it sits on the top layer of the beverage. In the stirred version, much of the caramel is lost on the spoon.

With this version, the caramel is added to the drink first, meaning it sits at the bottom layer. (1)

Upside Down Macchiato Copycat

The original version of the drink, the Iced Caramel Macchiato, was first developed in 1996 by Starbucks to mark its 25th anniversary as a company.

It’s not known when exactly the Upside Down version debuted on Starbucks menus, though it has become increasingly more popular in recent years.

Why Do People Order It?

Like others, I order the Upside Down Macchiato to give the beverage a different flavor by having what would be the top layer of the drink at the bottom.

The caramel ends up at the bottom allowing luxurious caramel to be the first thing I taste through the straw.

It’s just a fun new to experience an existing drink.

How to Order An Upside Down Caramel Macchiato At Starbucks?

Stir Macchiato

Ordering the upside down drink from Starbucks should be as easy as ordering any other beverage.

Ask the barista NICELY to make it for you.

However, in case the barista is unsure what the reverse order of ingredients is, this is how I explain it: 

  • Caramel goes on first.
  • Then 2 shots of espresso.
  • Next, ice and milk. 
  • And finally, the vanilla syrup is then pumped into the beverage.

Caramel Macchiato vs. Upside Down Caramel Macchiato

Despite using the same ingredients, there are a number of differences between the regular macchiato and the Upside Down version

If you were to make and try both, you’d likely be surprised at just how different the macchiatos are.

Transfer Milk to Glass


The standard Iced Caramel Macchiato is built: vanilla syrup first, milk and ice second, two shots of espresso third, and caramel drizzle fourth to ‘mark’ the drink.

The Upside Down version is pretty much the same recipe but in reverse, built: caramel first, two shots of espresso second, milk and ice third, and vanilla syrup last.

Milk Foam

This could be a make-or-break factor for some. Unlike the Italian Macchiato (the inspiration for this beverage), neither the original nor the Upside Down version contain milk foam.

I was kind of shock when I found out!


The regular Caramel Macchiato has a primarily vanilla taste for the first few sips. As you work your way through the drink, you then start to taste a mix of espresso and caramel.

The Upside Down version is, again, the opposite. The early sips have a strong caramel flavor before a milkier sweet-espresso flavor takes over.

It should be noted that both versions taste the same when stirred.


The Iced Caramel Macchiato contains 140 calories. Breaking it down, the beverage is roughly 50% carbohydrates, 35% fats, and 14% proteins. It also provides you with Vitamin A.

The Upside Down version contains the same amount of calories, so neither one of the drinks is a dietary or healthier option.

How To Make An Upside Down Caramel Macchiato

Want to know how to make an Upside Down Caramel Macchiato at home? I’ve put together a simple recipe that’ll bring out your inner barista.

You don’t have to be an expert to make this drink. Even if it’s your first time building a macchiato, our guide will have you wanting to make more in no time.

Upside Down Caramel Macchiato Recipe

Upside Down Caramel Macchiato (Easiest Recipe)

Yield: Servings: 1 serving (~16 oz)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Making the Upside Down Caramel Macchiato is a very easy task. We simply take the steps of a regular Caramel Macchiato and carry them out in reverse.


  • Espresso: 2 shots
  • 2% Milk: 1 cup
  • Vanilla Syrup: 2 - 3 tbsps
  • Caramel Drizzle: 1 tbsp
  • Ice


  1. Brew 2 shots of espresso using your preferred method; moka pot, Nespresso or espresso machine. Once done, step it aside to cool.Two Shots Espresso
  2. Grab a clean mason jar or your favorite tall glass. Drizzle a tablespoon of caramel sauce to the bottom of the glass.Syrup Bottom
  3. Add ice to the tall glass. Next, slowly top up the glass with your cooled espresso.Pour Shots Gently
  4. Take your 2% straight from the fridge and measure out about 1 cup of milk. Slowly pour your milk into the glass or see Step 5 if you want an ‘extra’ fluffy macchiato.Cold Heavy Cream
  5. *Optional* Froth your cold milk using a handheld frother or french press (plunge top vigorously to froth milk). Pour the aerated milk slowly into the glass. Cold Milk Into Macchiato
  6. Top it up with vanilla syrup to finish. You can enjoy the upside down macchiato as is to savor each layer or stir** to combine for a rounded flavor profile.Homemade Upside Caramel Macchiato


* Though Starbucks uses 2% milk for most of the drinks on their menu, it is ultimately up to you what milk you use.

** If you wish to have a stirred Upside Down Caramel Macchiato, simply stir the brew with a small spoon, though be mindful that stirring may disrupt the aesthetics of the beverage.

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What Other Drinks Can Be Made Upside Down?

You may or may not be surprised to know that the Caramel Macchiato isn’t the only upside down version of a beverage that exists.

Americanos, Lattes, and Undertow Coffees are all examples of beverages that can be made in reverse order for an ‘upside down’ version of the drink.

1. Americano

Long Black
Long black

The Upside Down Americano is a version that makes sense to me as it preserves the crema of the espresso.

You’ve likely already realized this, but an Upside Down Americano is the same as a Long Black coffee in the end.

How It’s Made:

  1. Fill roughly 2/3rds of a mug with water.
  2. Then, add a shot (or two) of espresso on top and allow it to diffuse.

This way, the Americano is slightly more diluted while also maintaining the espresso flavor.

2. Latte

Elevated Caramel Iced Latte

An Upside Down Latte is actually quite similar to the Upside Down Macchiato. It involves similar ingredients but uses a different order.

Upside Down Lattes are still different enough to be their own drink.

Craving that caramel note but not keen on syrup? I’d pair the Upside Down Latte with caramel popcorn. Yes, popcorn! It’s a pairing that complements the latte’s flavor while introducing a playful texture. Check out my favorite popcorn recipe—this Blackstone caramel popcorn.

How It’s Made:

  1. Pour steamed milk and foam into a cup.
  2. Top it with two shots of espresso.

The taste is far more coffee-oriented like this and the latte ‘mellows out’ as you drink it.

3. Undertow Coffee

Completed Undertow Coffee

The Undertow Coffee is beautifully layered from cream first to espresso shots last. This special coffee earned its name from its appearance which resembles the ocean current.

How It’s Made:

  1. Undertow Coffee is built with vanilla syrup first.
  2. Chase it with cold cream (or half and half).
  3. Topped the drink carefully with bright espresso shots.

Note that this drink can take slightly longer to master but is completely rewarding. I share a full recipe here.  


Upside Down Caramel Macchiato

The Upside Down Caramel Macchiato has become quite a popular item on Starbucks’ menu in recent years. It has also been subject to the question of ‘Is it not just basically a latte?’ by many.

If you’ve ever tried a macchiato and thought it was just not quite right, certainly give the Upside Down version a try.


Is an upside down macchiato the same as a latte?

You’ve likely seen and heard many conflicting answers to the question. 

Although the beverages are quite similar, the syrup composition is different. In a standard latte, the steamed milk and milk foam will be found right at the top. In an upside down macchiato, there a layer of vanilla syrup sits on top.

An upside down version is often more compared to being a caramel latte with a drizzle of vanilla, so similar, but no, not the same.

Does an upside-down caramel macchiato taste different?

The taste of the Upside Down Caramel Macchiato progresses in reverse order to the regular Caramel Macchiato.

To clarify, instead of a noticeable taste of vanilla, the drink starts with a noticeable taste of caramel and works its way into a milky-espresso flavor as you get through the drink.

Is caramel macchiato hot or cold?

Contrary to what you may suspect, the caramel macchiato can actually be either hot or cold.

At Starbucks, the iced version is most popular, though there’d be nothing wrong with asking for it hot. Likewise, you can take our recipe and make adjustments along the way to make your own hot caramel macchiato at home.

Verified Sources

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