Love coffee but being confused about the differences between cortado, cappuccino, macchiato, cafe con leche, and a flat white?
So what is a cortado? How does it differ from other coffee drinks? Let’s dive into each one to find out all about these delicious drinks including how to make one and tips for getting the best flavor.
This guide will help you find your perfect cup of joe every time!
What Is A Cortado?
A cortado is made with equal 2 parts espresso and 2 parts steamed milk.
It is an option for those who want something a bit more substantial than an espresso but don't want the sweetness of a latte or cappuccino.
It has a strong espresso flavor, but it's mellowed out by the creamy texture of the steamed milk. The result is a smooth-tasting drink that packs a punch without being too bitter.
1. Cortado vs Latte
The main difference between a cortado and a latte lies in the amount of steamed milk used.
A latte uses more steamed milk than a cortado – making it sweeter and creamier. In addition, lattes also typically have a thick layer of foam or froth on top – whereas cortados have a thin layer.
The ratio in a latte is usually 2 parts espresso to 3 parts steamed milk and one part foam. It's usually served in a large mug or glass, making it perfect for sipping on throughout the afternoon.
2. Cortado vs Cappuccino
Although both are made with espresso and steamed milk, there are some key differences between these two popular drinks.
A cappuccino has less espresso than a cortado — usually 1/3 cup instead of 2/3 cup — so it has less caffeine.
Cappuccinos also typically have more foam or froth than a cortado (in fact they usually contain at least twice as much). This makes them much lighter and fluffier than their counterparts.
3. Cortado vs Macchiato
A macchiato is similar to an espresso. Except that a macchiato contains two shots of espresso and 1 part of foamed milk. It also typically has just enough/ thin layer of foamed milk to give it a light creamy texture and flavor (although this can vary depending on where you get your macchiato).
Macchiatos tend to be stronger and more bitter — making them ideal for those who prefer their coffee strong without any added sweetness from milk.
4. Cortado vs Cafe Con Leche
Cafe con leche and Cortado are both Spanish (also Latin America) coffee drinks made with espresso and steamed milk.
The main difference between the two is that cafe con leche contains more milk than a cortado.
In addition, cafe con leche often has sugar added to sweeten the drink — whereas a cortado does not.
5. Cortado vs Flat White
Flat whites are made with two shots of espresso combined with perfectly steamed milk, that has been stretched until silky smooth and velvety in texture (unlike other coffees where frothiness is desired).
Flat whites tend to have slightly more foam or froth on top than cortados — making them slightly creamier overall. They also tend to be slightly sweeter due to the additional milk used in the drink compared to other types of coffees like espressos or macchiatos.
In summary, a cortado is a delicious coffee drink made with equal 2 parts espresso and 2 parts steamed milk. It has a strong espresso flavor, but it's mellowed out by the creamy texture of steamed milk.
How To Make A Cortado
Making a cortado is easy — all you need is an espresso machine, some espresso beans, milk, and a mug.
Start by pouring 2 shots of espresso into a cup. Then add steamed milk to the same amount as the espresso. Stir until everything is fully combined and your cortado is ready to drink!
For added flavor, you can also top the drink off with a sprinkle of cinnamon or chocolate powder.
Tips & Tricks
- The best coffee bean for a cortado is a medium-dark roast. This type of coffee has more body and flavor than lighter roasts — making it perfect for this classic drink. When making your cortado, make sure to use freshly ground espresso beans for the best flavor.
- If you want to try something different, you can also use an espresso blend or single-origin coffee beans to make your cortado even more unique.
- It's important not to over-steam the milk as this can lead to a bitter taste.
- It's also best to avoid adding too much milk — a cortado should have a strong espresso flavor with just enough steamed milk to mellow it out.
- If you want an extra creamy texture and more sweetness, try topping off your drink with some foam or froth.
Need a coffee gadget to make your cup of of cortado? Check out our picks of best espresso coffee makers - including espresso machines, a Aeropress, or a moka pot.
Whether you prefer something light like cortado or something heartier like cappuccino or flat white, everyone can find something they love when it comes to coffee beverages!
Try each one today. You might just discover your new favorite cup!