Cortado coffee is a popular espresso-based coffee drink that originated in Spain and is now enjoyed in many countries around the world.
The word “Cortado” means “to cut” in Spanish which essentially means to cut the bitterness and robust flavors of Espresso with the addition of a small amount of milk. It’s made by combining a single or double shot of espresso with a small amount of steamed milk, usually in a 1:1 ratio.
This perfectly balanced beverage pairs well with breakfast or can be a refreshing afternoon snack. However, what sets a cortado apart from other espresso milk-based drinks, such as lattes, cappuccinos, or macchiatos, is its ratio.
If you’re a coffee lover looking to try something new or different, cortado coffee is definitely worth a try.
The Flavors and Qualities of Cortado Coffee
Steamed milk balances out the espresso flavor in the cortado coffee with its sweetness and creaminess.
In a cortado, milk is used to soften out the intensity of espresso without overwhelming its distinctive flavors. Therefore, a cortado has a smoother, less bitter taste than an espresso straight shot.
Ultimately, a cortado offers a smooth, creamy texture with the boldness of espresso. The milk is not as prominent as in other milk-based espresso drinks like lattes or cappuccinos, so the coffee flavor remains the star of the show.
I like Cortado as it very is easy to make, you just need steamed milk whereas Cappuccino and Latte require foaming and textured milk which are hard to achieve.
How to make Cortado Coffee | The Recipe
- Espresso machine
- Coffee Grinder (Optional)
- Milk Steamer
- Thermometer (Optional)
- 2-2.25 oz A double Espresso Shot
- 2 oz Milk (1/4 cup)
- Prepare a double Espresso shot: Start by brewing two shots of espresso using your espresso machine. Use freshly roasted and finely ground coffee beans for the best flavor.
- Steam the Milk: While the espresso is brewing, pour 1/4 cup of whole milk into a steaming pitcher. Using a thermometer, heat the milk to around 140°F (60°C) or until it reaches a silky texture with small bubbles.Use 2 oz of milk the same amount as Espresso so the ratio of Espresso to milk remains 1:1
- Mix the Espresso and Milk: There's no trick here, simply add the steamed milk over double shot Espresso, give a gentle stir and you are done.
Cortado vs Flat white
Cortados and flat whites are both delicious milk-based espresso drinks that are easy to confuse because they look and taste the same.
But essentially Cortado isn’t exactly the same as Flat white.
Flat White is a slightly larger drink and has a 1:2 ratio of Espresso to Milk, while a Cortado contains exactly the same amount of milk and Espresso.
The Flat white originated from Australia and is served with micro-foamed milk with a creamy texture.
While the cortado originated in Spain and has equal parts of Espresso and simple steamed milk.
The main difference between Cortado and Flat White is the texture of the milk used. The Cortado is simple and smooth and while flat white is creamy and thicker.
Cortado vs Latte
Cortado and Latte are two espresso-based drinks that differ in the ratio of espresso to milk.
Cortado has equal parts of espresso and milk, giving it a more prominent espresso flavor and smoother texture. Latte has a higher ratio of milk to espresso, making it a sweeter, creamier, and more filling drink.
Cortado is served in smaller cups, while Latte is served in larger ones, perfect for sipping and relaxing.
Cortado vs Cappuccino
One key difference between cortado and cappuccino is the foam content. Cortados typically have no foam, while cappuccinos always have a layer of thick foam on top.
In a Cappuccino, equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam are layered on each other, creating a distinct separation of flavors and textures.
Also Read: Cortado vs Macchiato
How is Cortado coffee Served?
A smaller glass of 4 ounces is frequently used to serve cortado coffee. The glass can have a handle or not at all, and it is often thicker than a typical coffee cup.
The Cortado can be served simply or with a thin layer of decorative foam.
In some coffee shops, the Cortado may also be served with a tiny spoon on the side for mixing the espresso and milk before drinking.
Also Read: Why is Espresso Served with Water
Final thoughts on Cortado coffee drink
I’m a huge coffee fan and love to try different kinds of coffee drinks
Espresso and lightly heated milk make a straightforward but delectable combination that produces a robust and rich flavor ideal for coffee enthusiasts who prefer a strong but well-balanced beverage.
Cortado is a superb choice for a midday pick-me-up or as a morning treat because the tiny serving size lets you fully savor the flavor without feeling overwhelmed.
Drinking Cortado is a distinctive and gratifying coffee experience I constantly look forward to.
Also, read the recipe for other Espresso Based Drinks
Is Cortado Coffee Sweet?
Traditionally, cortado coffee is not sweetened. The only ingredients are espresso and lightly steamed milk; the milk’s natural sugars provide a little sweetness though.
However, a sweeter variation of the Cortado is also served in some Cafes, known as Cuban Cortadito, which is sweetened with condensed milk or a little sugar.
Can you make Cortado without a Machine?
Traditional Cortado requires an authentic Espresso shot which is not possible without a machine.
However, you can make a cortado coffee without an espresso machine, although it may not have the exact same flavor and texture as a traditional cortado.
Just brew a strong cup of coffee with a French Press or Moka Pot using high coffee to water ratio and top it with steamed milk.