Cortado -What is Cortado & How to Make it

What’s a cortado?

If you’re a fan of espresso-based drinks, then cortado coffee is a must-try! This Spanish concoction is an exceptionally smooth and creamy beverage that has been gaining popularity around the world. But what makes it unique? Let’s explore how cortado coffee differs from other caffeinated contenders in all its creamy, espresso-y glory.

What's a cortado

The base of this drink is a one-to-one ratio of espresso and steamed milk that’s lightly textured and slightly sweetened. Many recipes also include additional flavors like chocolate, nutmeg, or cinnamon to further enhance the flavor. Cortado coffee is best served in a 4.5-ounce glass or cup, letting you enjoy the espresso-y aroma with every sip.

Cortado Recipe: Step-by-step Guide

how to make cortado coffee

Cortado Coffee

Ready to try your hand at making a cortado? Here’s the step-by-step guide:
Course Drinks
Cuisine Spanish
Keyword cortado coffee recipe, how to make cortado coffee at home
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 1
Calories 0.06kcal


  • 1 Espresso machine
  • 1 Milk steamer or microwave
  • 1 Heatproof 4.5-ounce glass


  • 2 ounces Espresso
  • 2 ounces lightly textured milk
  • flavoring (syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg) Optional


  • Prepare 5 ounces of espresso using your preferred brewing method (such as a moka pot or an espresso machine).
    2. Steam 4-5 ounces of fresh milk using an espresso machine or stovetop steamer.
    3. Once the milk is frothy, pour 1.5 ounces of espresso into a 4.5-ounce glass or cup.
    4. Gently pour in the steamed milk and use a spoon to create a thin foam layer on top of the drink.
    5. Add any additional flavors (such as cinnamon or nutmeg) to taste.
    6. Enjoy your cortado coffee!



Nutritional Value
Cortado coffee is a low-calorie beverage packed with antioxidants and essential vitamins. It’s also a great source of energy, making it the perfect morning pick-me-up. On average, a 4.5-ounce serving of cortado coffee contains just 60 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 6 grams of carbohydrates (including 2 grams of sugar). Vitamins A and C, as well as, minerals like iron and potassium, and some antioxidants can also be found in a serving.

Comparing Cortado Coffee with Other Types of Coffee

comparing cortado with other coffees

Cortado vs Latte

difference between Cortado and Latte

Though cortado coffee and latte might look similar when served, they’re two very different drinks. Here are some of the key differences:

  • A cortado is made with a 1:1 ratio of espresso while a latte is made with a 1:2 milk to espresso.
  • A latte uses textured milk to form a microfoam, unlike a cortado coffee which typically contains more steamed, not textured, milk than espresso. In other words, you’ll get more of the creamy flavor with a latte than you will with a cortado.
  • Cortado is served in a small cup or glass, while a latte is typically served in a larger mug (6-ounce mug).

Giblarta Coffee vs. Cortado

Gibraltar coffee is a variant of cortado coffee that’s also gaining in popularity. The main difference between the two drinks is the ratio of espresso and milk used. A Gibraltar coffee consists of one part espresso to three parts milk, while a cortado contains equal amounts. This makes Gibraltar a bit sweeter than its counterpart. Additionally, the espresso used in Gibraltar coffee is usually more concentrated than in a cortado.

Giblarta Coffee vs Cortado

Pro tip

It’s hard to truly appreciate the art of coffee-making, especially when multiple people offer varying ideas about Gibraltar coffee. For instance, some argue that the coffee is made up of equal parts of espresso and steamed milk, and is also known as a cortado. That feels like a subtle way of describing a cortado, which is misleading. Under no circumstances can two coffees, with different ingredients, come to share a name. However, depending on your preference, you can always customize the recipe to your taste.

Piccolo vs. Cortado Coffee

Piccolo vs Cortado Coffee

A cortado and the Italian piccolo espresso share some similarities, but there are key differences to note. A piccolo is slightly smaller in size than a cortado and also has more foam on top due to its texture being thicker and creamier. The espresso flavor is also more intense in a piccolo due to its stronger concentration.

Cortado Coffee vs. Cappuccino

Cortado Coffee vs Cappuccino

While cortado coffee has a milder flavor than a cappuccino, the latter offers more foam and is frothier. Cappuccinos are usually served in larger cups than corridors and require more milk. Additionally, they’re often served with cocoa powder or cinnamon on top which adds an extra layer of flavor.

Use Whole Milk for Cortado Coffee

If you want to make cortado coffee the traditional way, opt for whole milk. This type of milk has more fat and provides a creamier texture than other types like semi-skimmed or skimmed varieties. This will give your cortado that rich flavor and creamy texture it needs to really stand out!

Steamed or Frothed Milk?

For the best results, we would recommend using steamed milk for cortado coffee. If you don’t have a milk steamer or espresso machine, you can still use frothed milk. Just make sure to use a longer frothing wand and keep stirring until your milk has reached a creamy consistency. This will give your cortado coffee a velvety texture that you won’t be able to resist. Unlike the latte which requires a perfect microfoam texture, you can always froth the milk and it turns out perfectly.

Froth the milk using a frother. When the tool is unavailable, you can always opt for a French Press or whisk. Use a spoon to create the thin foam layer on top of the drink.

Steaming can be done with an espresso machine or stovetop steamer. When using a stovetop steamer, make sure to heat the milk but don’t let it become too hot.

An Authentic Cortado: Taste the Difference

All in all, cortado coffee is a delicious beverage that can satisfy any coffee lover’s cravings. With its subtle flavor profile and low-calorie content, this delightful drink can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet plan or just for the love of coffee itself!


Is cortado similar to a flat white?

No, cortado and flat white coffee drinks are quite different. While both consist of espresso and milk, the main difference lies in their proportions. Cortados typically have a 1:1 ratio of espresso to milk while flat whites usually have more steamed milk than espresso. Additionally, cortados are served in smaller glasses compared to flat whites.

Is cortado a strong coffee?

No, a cortado is a mild coffee drink. It has the same espresso kick as any other espresso-based beverage but is much less intense in terms of flavor and strength. This makes it a great option for those who want to enjoy a cup of coffee that isn’t too strong or bitter.

What milk should I use for a cortado?

It is best to use whole milk for a cortado as it has more fat and provides a creamier texture than other types of milk. If you are vegan or lactose intolerant, you can also opt for non-dairy milk like almond, oat, or coconut milk. However, these will not create the same creamy texture as whole milk so bear that in mind when choosing your milk.

Cortado Coffee

Best cortado coffee recipe

Best cortado coffee recipe for the perfect Spanish cuisine feel.

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