Cortado: The Complete Guide to This Delicious Coffee Drink

Cortado: The Complete Guide to This Delicious Coffee Drink

Have you ever heard of Cortado? If not, now’s the time to give this delicious coffee drink a try. Cortado can be found in coffee shops around the world and comes with many different varieties, as well as its own unique name depending on where you are.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to this lesser-known espresso drink and explore everything you need to know about cortado, including what it is and how you can order your own at your local coffee shop.

What is a Cortado?

A cortado is a delicious coffee drink that has been gaining popularity in recent years. It is made by combining equal parts espresso and warm, frothed milk. The result is a creamy, smooth beverage with a mild, sweet flavor.

The name cortado comes from the Spanish verb cortar, which means to cut. This is because the espresso is cut with the addition of warm, frothed milk. This creates a delicate balance between the sweetness of the milk and the bitterness of the espresso.

Cortados are often served in small cups and have become popular in cafés around the world. They can be enjoyed as an alternative to a cappuccino or latte, or even as a delicious stand-alone beverage.

Explore more: What is a Macchiato Coffee and How to Make It?

What Does a Cortado Taste Like?

Many people compare the flavor of Cortado to that of a latte, although it’s much less sweet.

The espresso used in a cortado is usually quite strong, so the flavors can be quite intense. The milk softens and mellows out the espresso, which makes for a smooth and enjoyable experience. The end result is a rich and creamy beverage with a deep, dark flavor.

The best part about a cortado is that it’s surprisingly versatile. You can experiment with different types of milk, such as almond milk or coconut milk, to create unique flavors. You can also add syrups or other flavorings to further customize your cortado.

The Origin of CortadoThe Origin of Cortado

Cortado is a popular espresso-based coffee beverage that has been enjoyed for centuries. The name originates from the Spanish word for cut, which refers to the way in which this drink is traditionally prepared.

The origins of cortado date back to the early 19th century in Spain, when café con Leche (coffee with milk) was served with a small amount of espresso added to it.

Over time, the recipe evolved into what we now know as a cortado, with the addition of more espresso and less milk. Today, the traditional recipe has become popular around the world, particularly in countries like Colombia, Mexico, and Cuba.

How Much Coffee is in a Cortado?How Much Coffee is in a Cortado?

If you are unfamiliar with a cortado, it is essentially an espresso shot with a small amount of steamed milk added to it.

The ratio of espresso to milk varies depending on who makes the drink, but typically the ratio is one-to-one or two-to-one. The amount of milk used will also affect the strength of the drink; the more milk, the less strong the cortado will be.

The amount of coffee in a cortado can vary, depending on the type of espresso shot used and how much milk is added. Generally speaking, however, a single shot of espresso contains between 7–11 grams of coffee.

When adding steamed milk, it’s possible to make a cortado with as little as 12–15 grams of coffee, or as much as 20–25 grams of coffee.

How to Make a Cortado?How to Make a Cortado?

Made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk, this flavorful beverage has a velvety texture that’s perfect for enjoying any time of day.

  1. Making a cortado may seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple. Here are the steps you need to follow:
    Start by preparing an espresso shot. Make sure to use freshly ground beans for the best flavor.
  2. Heat some milk in a steam wand and froth it until it doubles in size.
  3. Pour the espresso into a small cup and then slowly add the steamed milk, pouring it in a circular motion to combine the flavors.
  4. Enjoy your delicious cortado!

If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can still make a delicious cortado using instant espresso powder. Just dissolve the powder in a few tablespoons of hot water, then mix with hot milk and enjoy!

Here are some simple Cortado Coffee recipes for you to try at home:

Cortado Coffee Recipe

Cortado Coffee Recipe

Mia Giorza
In just a few minutes, you may enjoy a potent espresso-based coffee thanks to this simple cortado recipe!
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
1 min
Total Time 6 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 1
Calories 50 kcal


  • Espresso Machine or Nespresso or Keurig
  • A gibraltar glass


  • 2 shots Espresso
  • 2 oz Whole Milk


  • Use an espresso machine or Nespresso or Keurig to extract two shots of espresso from ground coffee into a small cup with a minimum capacity of 4 ounces. With 4.5 ounces, a gibraltar glass is the ideal size for a cortado.
  • Froth 2 ounces of whole milk and use it.
  • Add two ounces of milk to the espresso in your cup.
Keyword Cortado Coffee
Easy Cortado Coffee Recipe

Easy Cortado Coffee Recipe

Mia Giorza
Coffee with character and flavor is best served in a cortado. Both gentle and powerful, this drink is a delight. With a 1:1 espresso to milk ratio, you may enjoy both the rich flavor of espresso and the mild, creamy taste of milk.
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
3 mins
Total Time 9 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 people
Calories 33 kcal


  • Espresso machine
  • Coffee grinder
  • Milk steamer


  • 2 ounces dark roast coffee beans
  • 3 ounces filtered water
  • 2 ounces Whole milk


  • Coffee should be ground on a fine setting. If you don't know your grinder's espresso setting, consult the user manual (or refer to our chart of recommended coffee grind sizes!) For various brew techniques, many grinders offer setting suggestions.
  • Espresso is brewed by filling the portafilter, compacting the grounds, and pulling two shots.
  • Create around 2 ounces of steamed milk with a steam wand as the shot is being pulled. So that the proportion of milk to coffee in your cortado is one to one, you want the amount of milk to be as close to 2 ounces as you can get.
  • Over the coffee, pour the milk. There are no complicated techniques to learn; just a slow, steady pour will do.
  • Enjoy your delicious Cortado!
Keyword Cortado Coffee

Where to Get Cortado?

There are many places where you can get a cortado, depending on your location. Some coffee shops or cafes that serve Cortados include Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Most coffee shops offer a cortado, so it’s easy to find one in your area.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even make one at home using an espresso machine and some quality steamed milk.

How to Order Cortado at Starbucks?

The cortado isn’t on Starbucks’ menu, which is surprising. It’s not an official Starbucks espresso drink, so be ready to explain how to make it if the barista isn’t familiar with the process.

Request a double shot of espresso with 2 ounces of steamed milk on top when placing your order.

Since it isn’t a Starbucks product, it can be charged as an espresso macchiato or another beverage.

Cortado Coffee Vs Flat White

Cortado and flat white are two coffee drinks that are gaining popularity in coffee shops all around the world. But what’s the difference between them?

A cortado is a coffee drink that is traditionally made with an equal ratio of espresso to steamed milk. It is served in a glass or ceramic cup that is slightly larger than an espresso cup. The finished drink should have a thick, creamy texture with a strong espresso flavor.

On the other hand, a flat white is made using espresso and micro-foamed milk. Micro-foamed milk is steamed milk that has been whisked until it forms small bubbles and is slightly thicker than regular steamed milk.

Flat whites are also usually served in a slightly larger cup than an espresso cup, and they typically have a velvety texture with a more balanced flavor profile.

Cortado Coffee Vs LatteCortado Coffee Vs Latte

Two shots of espresso are used to make cortados while one or two shots of espresso are used to make lattes.

Additionally, 2 ounces of milk with a fine texture are included in Cortados. 8 ounces of milk or more can be used in lattes. A tiny layer of microfoam is placed on top of both cortados and lattes.

Moreover, Cortados are served in 4-ounce cups, occasionally in clear rocks glasses known as Gibraltar. Lattes are typically served in 8-ounce or larger glasses.

Cortado Coffee Vs Cappuccino

First of all, Cortados have two shots of espresso while cappuccinos only have one or two.

Secondly, Cortados includes 2 ounces of milk with a fine texture. Five ounces of lighter, frothier milk are used in cappuccinos. Compared to a cortado, the milk in a cappuccino is more grainy. A cortado’s microform layer is thin, compared to a cappuccino’s thick coating.

Last but not least, Cortados are served in 4-ounce cups; while Gibraltar glasses are popular, they are not required for the drink. 6-ounce cups are used for serving cappuccinos.

Cortado Coffee Vs Piccolo

When it comes to coffee drinks, it can be hard to choose between the many options out there. Two popular choices are cortado and piccolo coffee. Both drinks are espresso-based and made with steamed milk, but what’s the difference?

Cortado coffee is a Spanish drink that is made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk. It is usually served in a small glass, usually 4-5 oz, and has a strong, slightly sweet flavor. The espresso used in a cortado is usually brewed at a lower pressure, creating a less intense flavor than other espresso drinks like cappuccinos or lattes.

Piccolo coffee is an Italian espresso-based drink that is similar to a cortado but with a twist. It is made with a double shot of espresso, which makes it stronger and more intense than a cortado. It is also served in a smaller glass, usually 3-4 oz, and is topped with a layer of foamed milk. Piccolo coffees have a bolder flavor than cortados due to their stronger espresso base.

When it comes to choosing between a cortado or a piccolo, it all comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for something light and smooth, go for a cortado. For those who want something stronger and more intense, a piccolo might be the better choice. Whichever you decide, you can be sure to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee!

Cortado Coffee Vs Macchiato

Are you a fan of espresso-based coffee drinks? If so, you’ve likely heard of cortado and macchiato. But what’s the difference between these two delicious drinks?

A cortado is a Spanish coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk. The ratio of espresso to milk is usually 1:1, creating a sweet and creamy beverage. It is often served in a small glass and topped with foam.

A macchiato is an Italian espresso-based beverage, which traditionally consists of a single shot of espresso with a small amount of foamed milk. The ratio is usually 1:2, making it less creamy than a cortado.

While both drinks are espresso-based, there are some key differences between them. A cortado is usually served in a smaller glass and has more milk than a macchiato. It also has a sweeter taste due to the higher milk content.

On the other hand, a macchiato is usually served in a larger cup and has more espresso than a cortado. It also has a bolder flavor since there is less milk in it.

So if you’re looking for a sweet and creamy coffee drink, you may want to try a cortado. If you prefer something stronger and more intense, then a macchiato may be right up your alley!

How to Drink Cortado?

Drinking a cortado is a unique experience that should be savored and enjoyed.

Here are some tips for how to properly drink a cortado:

  1. Start by warming your cup by rinsing it with hot water. This will help to maintain the temperature of the espresso once it’s poured.
  2. Measure out two shots of espresso and pour them into your cup.
  3. Use a frothing wand to warm and froth an equal amount of milk. Be sure not to over-froth the milk as this will result in a drink that is too foamy and bitter.
  4. Pour the warm, frothy milk slowly into the cup with the espresso, ensuring that it is mixed thoroughly.
  5. Give the drink a stir and enjoy!

When done right, drinking a cortado can be an incredibly pleasant experience. The espresso is strong yet smooth, while the milk gives it a velvety texture and sweetness. If you’re looking to try something new, give a cortado a try!

Frequently Asked QuestionsFrequently Asked Questions

Is a cortado just a small latte?

Similar to a latte, a cortado is made by pouring espresso over an equal volume of steamed whole milk as opposed to the latte’s 1/4 espresso-to-milk ratio. In contrast to a latte, where the foam lies on top of the creamy milk, the end product is espresso with some micro-foam on top.

Do you put sugar in a cortado?

Typically, NO. A typical cortado doesn’t contain sugar, but beverages that are similar to cortados (like a Cuban cortadito) may do so in some places. If you’d like, you can add sugar at the very end.

Why is cortado served with water?

Before and after drinking the cortado, sparkling water helps to refresh the palate.


In conclusion, a cortado is an incredibly delicious and unique coffee beverage that you need to try if you haven’t already. From its bold flavor profile to its easy-to-make preparation process, a cortado is a great choice for coffee drinkers of all levels. So don’t be afraid to give it a try – you won’t regret it!

Thank you for reading this blog. Centralwestcafe hopes you find this post informative and helpful.

Scores: 4.7 (48 votes)