What is a Cortado?


Even more coffee drinks! You know it, you walk into a random specialty coffee bar and there are countless drinks on the menu. Today we are going to talk about the cortado.

What is a Cortado? Is it a small cappuccino? Or what else?

Do you know it? If not, I've sorted it all out for you and in this article I'll tell you what a cortado is, where it comes from and how you can easily make it yourself!

Read also: All types of coffee explained

What is a cortado

A cortado resembles a kind of mini-cappuccino. It is, like a cappuccino, an espresso with steamed milk. The big difference is the ratio.

For a cortado you have a ratio of about 1:1, which stands for 1 part coffee/espresso and 1 part hot milk.

Because you use a small glass (a Gibraltar) for your cortado and the milk is warm rather than steamed, it is a bit more difficult to make a nice heart or other latte art in your cortado. But hey! Certainly not impossible.

Where does the cortado come from

The cortado originated in Spain and the name comes from 'cortar' which means to cut in Spanish. This arose because with the warm milk you cut off the sharp edge of the traditional espresso, as it were.

Today, the Cortado is popular all over the world and can be found on most specialty coffee bar menus.

So next time you want to cut the sharp edge off your espresso? Then the Cortado might be your new favorite. Or do you really fancy a cappuccino, but your stomach is full… Yes, the Cortado is your new best friend!

What is the difference between a cortado and a cappuccino

To explain the differences, I find it useful to first look at the similarities between the cortado anda cappuccino .

Both coffees have one espresso shot as a base and both coffees are with hot cleared milk. The big difference is the amount of milk.

A cortado has a ratio of 1:1 which means that 50% of your drink is espresso and 50% hot milk. With the cappuccino, pour about 100ml of frothed milk into your 30ml espresso shot. That is about three times as much milk as a cortado.

In addition, the big difference is that when drinking a cortado you can still taste the coffee flavor and it has just a bit more bite than a cappuccino.

What is the difference between a cortado and a flat white

Another drink that the cortado likes to be compared to is the flat white. Although they contain the same amount of espresso, the amount of milk differs. The flat white is more comparable to a latte in that respect.

The flat white has a bit more milk in contrast to the cortado and is therefore less concentrated, but a lot creamier.

How to make a Cortado yourself

If you want to make your own cortado at home, you need an espresso machine. The base of the cortado, like almost all other types of coffee, is espresso.

If you don't have an espresso machine, you could also make a concentrated coffee with a moka pot.

A fully automatic coffee machine is also possible. Make sure that your fully automatic machine can froth milk.

Do you use a moka pot? Then make sure you have a way to froth your milk. After all, a cortado is half milk and half espresso.

Read also: Making coffee like a real barista

Make your own cortado step by step

  1. Choose your favorite coffee beans and grind the right amount for your espresso

  2. Next, brew your espresso

  3. Pour the milk into a milk jug and froth it

  4. Slowly pour the milk into the coffee

  5. Here you go! Your own cortado

    The cortado is served in a medium-sized glass that resembles a shot glass.