What Is a Cortado?

What Is a Cortado?

What is a cortado? Many coffee shop menus have drinks written in different languages. As such, many people should learn the difference between a cortado vs. latte. To fix this, let’s unpack these drinks together so you can feel confident when ordering a drink at your local coffee shop!


What Is a Cortado Coffee?

The cortado coffee’s origins come from Spain’s Basque Country. The name comes from the verb in Spanish, “cortar,” which means “to cut.” It is a trendy drink in Portugal and Latin America. The cortado coffee is enjoyed as a lovely afternoon treat. Unlike other coffees, cortado coffee is made with light milk and no froth or foam. The steamed milk on top reduces the acid from the coffee. This makes the coffee less bitter and creates a nice foam on top. It also gives the coffee a bold and rich flavor! The best part is that you can receive all the antioxidants and energy you need. Start your morning or afternoon on the right foot with a cortado coffee! 

Baristas often make a cortado with a one-to-one ratio of espresso and steamed milk. A traditional cortado is unsweetened- the only espresso and steamed milk. Try the Cuban version of a cortado, called a cortadito or bonbon, sweetened with condensed milk or sugar. It is a dessert, but so delicious. 

Drinks Confused With the Cortado 

In Australia, there is a similar drink to the cortado called a piccolo latte. Instead of an espresso shot, baristas use a ristretto shot in a macchiato glass filled with steamed milk. A ristretto is a “short shot.” In Portugal, cortados are larger and called galao. In Italy, there are many variations between a cortado and a caffe macchiato, cappuccino, or flat white. A macchiato has a little bit of foam. A cappuccino has both milk and foam on top. A flat white has equal amounts of espresso and milk, but it uses both steamed and foamed milk. It is hotter and lighter than a latte. There are so many drinks to choose from!


Cortado vs. Latte 

The most significant difference between a cortado coffee vs. latte is the number of espresso shots and milk that they each need. A cortado has two espresso shots, while a latte has only one. This is almost double the caffeine. A cortado has more Spanish origins and has equal parts of steamed warm milk and espresso. The latte originates from Italy and comes from the Italian word “caffe e latte,” which means “coffee and milk.” A latte has ⅓ espresso, ⅔ steamed milk, and a tiny layer of microfoam on the surface. Lattes can be customized with flavors such as caramel, vanilla, mocha, and different kinds of milk, from soy to oat. You can serve one in sizes from small to medium or 10-12 ounces. 

In general, a cortado was created to be consumed quickly- as a pick-me-up. You can serve the cortado and latte iced or hot. A latte can be sipped throughout your morning and more slowly enjoyed. 

How Do You Make an Iced Cortado Coffee? 

Cortados can be made with an espresso machine. First, pull a shot of espresso. When making coffee at home, it is essential to start with quality ingredients. We recommend grinding our delicious coffee beans for sale online. Then, measure your ground coffee into your portafilter, and distribute and press down the grounds evenly. Lock your portafilter in place and pull a double shot of espresso. Most coffee shops pull a double shot, equal to two ounces. Next, grab your two ounces of milk. You can use either dairy or non-dairy milk. For an iced cortado, use cold milk. Most coffee shops use whole milk for a creamier drink. You can also use oat milk or almond milk if you prefer dairy-free. Fill the pitcher with milk and mix. The milk should be thick and creamy. Finally, pour the milk over your two ounces of espresso and ice. If you want to add a flavor, you totally can! Coffee syrup can help balance the bitterness of your coffee and add more sweetness. 

If you want a more authentic barista experience, visit a Command Coffee location near you and order our cortado coffee in person! Cortados are usually served in a 4.5 oz glass. These are called Gibraltar glasses, but you can also use regular glasses at home.

Making a Cortado Without an Espresso Machine 

If you do not have an espresso machine, you can still make a cortado latte at home! Many people use their Nespresso or Keurig machines. You can brew one cup of espresso and steam the milk or microwave an equal amount of milk. Now you can make a refreshing iced cortado beverage to enjoy anytime you are looking for a new drink to enjoy in the summertime or other.

iced cortado

The Beauty of the Cortado

We hope this article helps you answer the question, “What is a cortado?”. The cortado is a beautiful drink with an equal amount of coffee and milk. This drink is perfect for those who don’t like the bitterness of coffee but still want an effective caffeine drink. Visit a Command Coffee location in Indianapolis near you to hang out or work remotely today and order the cortado! It is a versatile drink that can be either hot or cold. It just might become your next favorite order. 

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