What Is A Cortado? Comprehensive Guide To Make It!


What Is A Cortado? Exploring The Delicious Coffee Drink

Are you an avid coffee drinker who loves trying new kinds of coffee drinks? If so, you may have heard of a cortado. But what is a cortado? And why should you order one next time you are at the cafe?

In this blog post, we will unravel the mystery of this espresso-based beverage to help you decide whether or not it’s right for you. From its historical origins to modern-day variations worldwide, get ready to learn about cortados!

What is a Cortado? Simple Explain!

What Is A Cortado?
What Is A Cortado?

Cortado is made by combining equal parts espresso and steamed milk. The result is a delicious, smooth coffee with just the right amount of milk to cut the acidity of the espresso.

The Origin Of Cortado: Where Does It Come From?

Cortado is an espresso-based drink that originated in Spain. In Spanish, the word cortado means “cut,” which refers to cutting the acidity of espresso with a bit of milk. While Cortados are prevalent throughout Europe and Latin America, they have become increasingly popular in the United States over the past decade.

Different Variations of The Cortado (Around The World)

While all Cortados are made with a combination of espresso and milk, different regions around the world have put their spin on this classic drink.

In Spain, the cortado is called “cortado con leche,” and it’s usually served with just enough milk to make it look like a latte.

In Italy, the cortado is called “caffe macchiato,” and it’s served with just a drop of milk.

In Latin America, the cortado is usually served with more milk than in Spain or Italy and with some sugar added as well. This variation has become increasingly popular in the United States over the past decade.

How Does The Cordato Taste?

The cortado is a smooth, creamy drink with just the right balance of espresso and milk. It has a much milder taste than a latte, as the milk does not overpower the espresso.

The flavor also depends on what type of espresso you use – dark roast coffee will create a stronger flavor, while light roast coffee will be more subtle.

Who Should Drink a Cortado?

The cortado is perfect for those who love the flavor of espresso but want a less intense coffee experience. It’s also great for anyone who likes sweet drinks but doesn’t necessarily need to have sugar in their cup.

Nutrition Of Cortado: Is It Healthy?

The nutrition of cortado depends on what type of milk you use and how much espresso is added. Generally speaking, a cortado made with low-fat milk can be a healthy beverage choice.

A standard cortado made with skim or almond milk contains approximately 50 calories per serving, which makes it an excellent option for those trying to watch their sugar and calorie intake.

How Much Caffeine in Cortado?

How Much Caffeine in Cortado?
How Much Caffeine in Cortado?

Cortado Caffeine content can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of coffee and the size of the drink. However, on average, 64mg per 4 oz cup, crafted with a single shot of espresso. For those craving a little more kick, you’ll find a satisfying 154mg of caffeine in every 6 oz cup, created with a double shot of espresso.

How to Make a Cortado? Step-by-Step Guide:

Making your cortado is surprisingly easy! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Espresso machine
  • Freshly ground espresso beans
  • Milk of your choice (skim, almond, oat, etc.)
  • Optional: syrups or flavoring extracts for added sweetness (such as vanilla or hazelnut)

Step-by-Step Guide:

Step 1: Make sure your espresso machine is appropriately set up and warmed up.

Step 2: Place one tablespoon of freshly ground espresso beans into the portafilter.

Step 3: Pack down the grounds firmly with a tamper, then place the portafilter onto the machine.

Step 4: Pull a shot of espresso.

Step 5: Steam the milk of your choice in a pitcher until it is hot and frothy.

Step 6: Pour the steamed milk into a cup or mug.

Step 7: Slowly pour the shot of espresso over the top of the steamed milk, being careful not to mix them too quickly (this will create a bitter taste).

Step 8: If desired, add flavorings or syrups to your cortado.

And there you have it – your very own homemade cortado!

Expert Tips for Brewing:

  1. Always use freshly ground espresso for the best flavor.
  2. If you’re using a manual espresso machine, take your time to get the right pressure and temperature for your shot of espresso.
  3. When steaming your milk, make sure to aim for more air than bubbles in order to achieve that creamy texture.
  4. If you want to make a more traditional cortado, use half an ounce of espresso and two ounces of steamed milk.
  5. Add flavorings or syrups sparingly – a little goes a long way!

What Is The Difference Between A Cortado And A Latte?

Difference Between A Cortado And A Latte
Difference Between A Cortado And A Latte

Origin of Cortado And A Latte:

The cortado originates from Spain, while the latte was invented in Italy.

The difference in Taste:

The cortado is a smooth, creamy drink with just the right balance of espresso and milk, while the latte has more milk than espresso (making it much sweeter). The flavor of both drinks also depends on which type of espresso you use.

The difference in Caffeine:

A latte contains approximately 68 mg of caffeine, while a cortado boasts around double the caffeine content, reaching about 136 mg.

Difference in Ingredients:

A cortado is made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk, while a latte has more milk than espresso. A latte can also be topped with foam or have flavorings added, whereas the classic cortado does not.

The Difference in Calories:

The calorie count of a latte varies depending on the type and quantity of milk used. In comparison, a cortado ranges from 10 to 40 calories. It’s worth noting that the latte can be double or even triple the calories of a cortado, typically falling between 70 to 100 calories.

The difference in brew method:

Cortado is a delightful combination of espresso and steamed milk, perfectly balanced in a 1:1 ratio. With a smaller serving size and a touch less sweetness, it offers a unique experience.

On the other hand, a Latte is made with ⅓ espresso and ⅔ steamed milk and crowned with a luxurious layer of milk foam. Known for its frothy texture and often enjoyed with a hint of sweetness, it’s a drink that brings joy to every sip.

Discover more about Iced Latte.

Differences Between Cortado With other Coffee Drinks:

The cortado is often confused with other espresso-based drinks. Here we’ll look at how it differs from a macchiato, cappuccino, and flat white.

Cortado vs. Macchiato:

A cortado is made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk, while the macchiato has more espresso than milk. The macchiato is also topped with a layer of foam rather than just steamed milk like the cortado.

Cortado vs. Cappuccino:

A cappuccino comprises ⅓ espresso, ⅓ steamed milk, and ⅓ foamed milk, resulting in a much sweeter beverage than a cortado. The cortado is made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk without adding foam.

Cortado vs. Flat White:

The flat white has more steamed milk than espresso, making it much creamier and smoother than a cortado. It also has less foam than a cappuccino, with just a small layer of foam on top. The cortado is made up of equal parts espresso and steamed milk without the addition of foam.

Cortado vs Ristretto:

A ristretto is a very strong espresso shot with a shorter brewing time and less liquid than an average espresso shot. It has a more intense flavor than a cortado, as it contains more caffeine in the same serving size. The cortado is milder, made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk.

Cortado vs. an espresso:

An espresso is a concentrated coffee shot made with hot water and finely ground coffee beans. It contains no milk, so it has a more intense flavor than a cortado. The cortado is milder due to the addition of steamed milk, making it more mellow and creamy in comparison.

When you’re looking for the perfect balance of sweetness and flavor, the cortado is a great option. Its creamy and smooth texture makes it an excellent choice for those who don’t like strong coffee but still want a little kick! Plus, with around twice as much caffeine as a latte, it can help you through those busy days.

Read More about Espresso here:

How Should You Serve a Cortado?

When it comes to enjoying a cortado, there are a few key things to keep in mind in order to appreciate best the richness and complexity of this classic espresso drink.

First and foremost, it’s important to use the best possible quality of coffee beans, as a cortado’s subtle flavors and aromas can be easily overshadowed by lower-quality ingredients.

Next, be sure to use freshly steamed milk that’s been carefully textured with a smooth and creamy consistency that complements the espresso without dominating it.

Finally, take the time to appreciate the nuances of the drink – sip it slowly, savoring each flavor and aroma in turn – rather than simply gulping it down without giving it much thought.

When served correctly, a cortado can be a truly wonderful experience – one that’s worth taking the time to appreciate fully.

Alternatives to the Cortado You Can Try Now!

If you’re looking for something a bit different from the classic cortado, several alternatives use similar ingredients but in different ratios. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular variations:


The Gibraltar is made with two shots of espresso and four ounces of steamed milk. This makes it slightly stronger than a cortado but still with the same creamy texture.

Piccolo Latte:

The piccolo latte is made with one shot of espresso and two ounces of steamed milk, making it a strong alternative to the cortado. It’s usually served in a small glass and topped with foam.


The breve is a variation on the classic latte made with steamed half and half rather than steamed milk. It has a richer, creamier taste than the cortado but still contains the same amount of espresso.

Red Eye:

The red eye is an American classic – one shot of espresso combined with three to four shots of drip coffee. It’s a great way to get an extra hit of caffeine when you need it.

Caffè Americano:

The caffè americano is made with one shot of espresso and four ounces of hot water, creating a cup that has the same flavor as a regular espresso but with a more drinkable volume. This makes it a great option for those who want the flavor of espresso but don’t want to feel too overwhelmed by its strength.

Read more about Americano here:

Some Cortado Recipes You Should Try To Make At Home:

Cortado recipes are surprisingly easy to make at home, and there are countless variations you can experiment with. Here are a few of our top picks:

Classic Cortado:

Start by pulling a single shot of espresso into your cup. Then, add equal parts of steamed milk and stir together until thoroughly combined. Serve as-is for a classic cortado experience.

Coconut Cortado:

For a tropical twist, start with two shots of espresso and add four ounces of steamed coconut milk instead of regular milk. Stir together and top with freshly ground cinnamon for an extra burst of flavor.

Toffee Cortado:

Start by pulling two shots of espresso and add four ounces of steamed oat milk instead of regular cow’s milk. Drizzle the top with toffee syrup for an indulgent treat.

Vanilla Cortado:

Start with two shots of espresso in an 8-ounce cup and add four ounces of steamed almond milk. Top with a teaspoon of vanilla extract for a warm, comforting finish.

Health Benefits Of Drinking A Cortado Coffee?

In addition to being incredibly tasty, Cortados are also surprisingly healthy. Here are just a few of the potential benefits you can gain from drinking this classic espresso drink:

  • The balance of espresso and milk in a cortado can provide a less acidic alternative to traditional black coffee, which may be easier on the digestive system for some individuals.
  • Coffee has been linked to a decreased risk of various diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as a potential boost in cognitive function.
  • Cortado coffee can potentially improve cognitive function, boost energy levels, and lower the risk of heart disease.
  • It’s also low in calories, making it a great option for those counting their calorie intake.

What is the best way to store a cortado?

A cortado is best enjoyed fresh, so it’s important to store it correctly to maintain its flavor. If you’re not drinking it immediately, keep the espresso and milk separate until just before serving. This way, the espresso will retain its original strength and flavor while the milk doesn’t have a chance to spoil or curdle.

It’s also important to store your milk and espresso in separate airtight containers, as this will help keep the flavors from absorbing any off smells or tastes. Once ready to make your cortado, combine the two ingredients and enjoy!

FAQs: What Is A Cortado?

Q: Is a cortado one or two shots?

A: The classic cortado recipe typically calls for one shot of espresso. However, you can easily adjust the ratio if you want a stronger or weaker drink.

Q: Is a cortado sweet?

A: A cortado is not traditionally sweetened, but it does have a mild sweetness due to the combination of espresso and steamed milk. If you want to add some sweetness, you can always sprinkle some sugar or syrup on top.

Q: Is a cortado strong?

A: A classic cortado contains one shot of espresso, which is considered to be moderately strong in terms of caffeine content. However, as the amount of espresso can be adjusted to suit your personal preferences, you can make a cortado as strong or weak as you like.

Q: Is a cortado a strong coffee?

A: Yes, Cortados are considered to be a relatively espresso-based solid coffee due to the combination of one shot of espresso with steamed milk. However, depending on your preferences, you can adjust the strength by adding more or less steamed milk.

Q:Does Starbucks have cortado?

A: Yes, Starbucks offers a cortado on its menu. It is made with one shot of espresso combined with equal parts steamed milk and topped off with foam for a classic cortado experience.

Q: Where can I buy a cortado?

A: You can buy a cortado from any cafe that specializes in espresso-based drinks. Additionally, many supermarkets and convenience stores now offer ready-made Cortados so that you can enjoy one on the go!

Q: What kind of glass is best for serving a cortado?

A: Traditionally, a cortado is served in a small glass, usually around 4-5 ounces. However, you can also serve it in an 8-ounce cup if you’d like something with more volume. For an extra special touch, consider serving your cortado in a tulip-shaped glass for the full barista experience.

Q: Can I add flavors to a cortado?

A: Absolutely! Adding flavors is a great way to customize your cortado and make it even more delicious. For a unique twist, consider experimenting with different syrups, extracts, herbs, spices, or even coconut milk.

Q: How much sugar should I add to a cortado?

A: The amount of sugar you should add to a cortado will depend on your tastes. However, it’s always best to start with just a few drops or teaspoons and adjust accordingly. Adding too much sugar can overpower the flavor of the espresso, so start with small amounts and taste as you go!

Q: Can a cortado be served hot or cold?

A: Traditionally, a cortado is served hot. However, you can also enjoy it cold if you’d prefer – use chilled espresso and steamed (or frothed) milk rather than desirable for the best flavor. Alternatively, consider blending your ingredients and adding ice cubes for an iced version of this classic drink.

Conclusion: What Is A Cortado?

A cortado is a wonderfully balanced coffee beverage that can be customized to your liking. Whether it’s with almond milk, coconut milk, or some delicious flavors and syrups, there’s a cortado out there for everyone.

It is truly the perfect way to kickstart your day. Furthermore, with its growing popularity, you won’t have to look too hard for one. So get out there and try a cortado today – it might become your new favorite!

And don’t forget to share this post with family and friends so they, too, can experience the joys of sipping on a delicious and unique beverage like the cortado. In addition to being tasty, who knows? It may even be the start of a whole new coffee trend.


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