Cortado Vs Macchiato

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When it comes to coffee, the world is filled with delicious options and endless debates. The choice between the Cortado VS Macchiato is a debate that keeps coffee enthusiasts buzzing.

These espresso-based beverages have charm and unique flavor profiles, but how do you know which is right for you? In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of these two delightful drinks, unravel their similarities and differences, and help you make the perfect choice for your next caffeine indulgence.

So, grab your favorite mug, sit back, and explore the fascinating showdown between the Cortado and the Macchiato!

What is a Cortado?

The Cortado, a harmonious marriage of espresso and milk, has its roots in the coffee culture of Spain. This delightful concoction comes from the Spanish verb “cortar,” which means “to cut.” In essence, the Cortado is a beverage where the intensity of espresso is “cut” by the smoothness of milk.

Basic Ingredients and Preparation

Creating a Cortado is a simple yet precise process. The drink consists of equal parts espresso and steamed milk, usually served in a 4 to 4.5-ounce glass. To make a Cortado, pull a double shot of espresso (around 2 ounces) and then add an equal amount of steamed milk. The milk should be heated to a slightly lower temperature than that used for a latte to ensure a creamier texture without too much froth.

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Flavor Profile and Texture

The Cortado’s flavor profile is a beautiful balance of bold espresso and creamy milk. The milk tempers the strong espresso, creating a smoother and more approachable taste. This drink is perfect for those who love the intensity of a straight espresso but prefer a slightly mellower experience. Texture-wise, the Cortado has a velvety consistency, with just a hint of microfoam on top, distinguishing it from its frothier counterparts.

What is a Macchiato?

The Macchiato, an Italian classic, originates in the land of espresso itself. The term “macchiato” translates to “stained” or “spotted” in Italian, and this coffee drink is named as such because the espresso is “stained” with a small amount of milk. A traditional Macchiato is a bold and flavorful option for those who enjoy the taste of espresso with just a touch of creaminess.

Basic Ingredients and Preparation

The Macchiato is an uncomplicated yet elegant coffee creation consisting of an espresso topped with a dollop of frothy milk. To prepare a Macchiato, first, pull a single or double shot of espresso (1 to 2 ounces) into a demitasse or small cup. Then, carefully spoon a small amount of frothed milk, creating a “spot” of milk foam atop the rich, dark espresso.

Flavor Profile and Texture

The Macchiato’s flavor profile is dominated by the intense, full-bodied taste of espresso, with the milk foam’s subtle hint of creaminess. This drink is ideal for those who love the robust flavor of espresso but desire a slight softening of its boldness.

In terms of texture, the Macchiato showcases the contrast between the thick, rich espresso and the light, airy froth of milk, creating a delightful sensory experience with each sip.

Comparing Cortado and Macchiato


  1. Espresso-based

Both the Cortado and the Macchiato are espresso-based drinks, which means they share a common foundation in the form of espresso’s rich, bold taste. This strong coffee character appeals to coffee aficionados who enjoy the depth and complexity of espresso in their beverages.

  1. Popular choices in speciality coffee shops

Cortado and Macchiato are popular choices in speciality coffee shops. They showcase the barista’s skill in crafting well-balanced drinks that highlight the espresso flavours while adding a touch of milk.


  1. Milk-to-espresso ratio

The most significant difference between the Cortado and Macchiato lies in their milk-to-espresso ratios. The Cortado has a 1:1 ratio, resulting in a more balanced flavor profile. In contrast, the Macchiato features a more concentrated espresso taste, with just a dollop of milk foam to slightly soften the boldness of the coffee.

  1. Serving size

Serving size also sets these two beverages apart. A Cortado is typically served in a 4 to 4.5-ounce glass, while a Macchiato is presented in a smaller demitasse or espresso cup, holding only 1 to 2 ounces of liquid.

  1. Texture and mouthfeel

The texture and mouthfeel of the Cortado and Macchiato are distinctly different. The Cortado boasts a creamy, velvety texture with minimal froth, creating a smooth and approachable drinking experience. The Macchiato, on the other hand, provides a contrasting experience, with the rich, thick espresso layered beneath the light, airy milk foam, offering a more intense and robust sensation with each sip.

How to Choose the Right Coffee for You

When selecting the perfect coffee for your taste, several factors, including personal preferences and occasions, come into play. Here’s a quick guide to help you find the best coffee match for your individual needs:

Personal Preferences

  1. Strength of coffee flavor

Consider whether you prefer a bold, intense coffee experience or a more balanced and mellow flavor profile. If you enjoy espresso’s rich, robust taste, a Macchiato could be your ideal choice. However, if you prefer a smoother and more approachable coffee, the Cortado may be a better fit.

  1. Desired level of creaminess

Think about your preference for creaminess in your coffee. If you’re a fan of a velvety, creamy texture, the Cortado might be right up your alley. On the other hand, if you enjoy the contrast between thick, rich espresso and light, airy milk froth, the Macchiato may be your go-to option.

Occasions and Pairings

  1. Morning pick-me-up

For a morning caffeine boost, the Macchiato’s strong espresso flavor can provide the energy jolt you need to kick off your day. At the same time, the Cortado offers a gentler awakening with its balanced taste and smooth texture.

  1. Afternoon treats

As an afternoon indulgence, a Cortado can deliver a satisfying and soothing experience with its creamy nature. The Macchiato, in contrast, serves as a more refreshing option with its intense espresso taste.

  1. Complement to a meal or dessert.

When pairing coffee with food, consider the flavors of your chosen dishes. A Cortado, with its mellow and creamy profile, goes well with various foods, from savory breakfast items to rich pastries. The Macchiato’s bold espresso flavor makes it an excellent complement to sweet treats, as it can cut through the sweetness and cleanse the palate between bites.

Check out many more informative articles in our Buying Guides page. Stay up-to-date with the latest coffee facts and products!

Conclusion on Cortado Vs Macchiato!

In this exploration of Cortado and Macchiato, we’ve delved into their unique characteristics and the factors that set them apart. The Cortado is a balanced, creamy espresso-based drink, while the Macchiato offers a bold, intense espresso experience with just a touch of milk froth.

Both beverages have their distinct appeal, depending on your personal preferences and the occasion at hand.

As you venture into the world of specialty coffee, we encourage you to explore both the Cortado and Macchiato to find the perfect fit for your taste buds. Coffee is a personal experience, and there’s great satisfaction in discovering the beverage that speaks to your individual preferences.

So, whether you’re a die-hard espresso enthusiast or a lover of smooth, creamy coffee, try these two delightful drinks and let your taste buds be the judge!

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