Macchiato simply means ‘marked’ or ‘stained’, and in the case of an espresso macchiato, it’s espresso marked or stained with milk – only about a teaspoon. In fact, a caffè macchiato in Portuguese is named café pingado which means coffee with a drop.
For the coffee snob (which is not a bad thing, please keep in mind ~ it’s simply an elite group) one only drinks milk-based espresso drinks before noon. The cappuccino (with more milk than the macchiato) is the first cup to linger over with your morning pastry. The macchiato is the second cup with a little less milk around mid-morning. That’s the drink to have at around 10 A.M. and after that it should be espresso with no milk for the rest of the day. This is for the true espresso connoisseur, mind you.
For the rest of us who drink what we like when we like it, any time of day is the perfect time for a macchiato. Drink what suits your tastes, and then drink it often.