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You heard about espresso, macchiato, lungo and now Cortado. What in the world is this coffee drink?
The coffee world can sometimes be a bit overwhelming especially when it comes to types of coffee.
So, before you go out and order a cortado, let’s take a look at what this drink is all about.
Stay with me while I break it down for you.
What Is A Cortado?
A cortado is a type of espresso created with an equal amount of steamed milk and a shot of coffee that is poured over the bottom edge of the cup.
The “cortado” name comes from the Spanish word for “cut”. The steamed milk is poured over the espresso shot to cut the bitterness of the coffee.
Where Does The Cortado Come From?
Cortado coffee originated in Spain. It was believed to originate in the 1950s when coffee machines became popular in Spain.
The traditional recipe called for adding a dash of milk (or water) to the espresso shot before it was served over the cup to prevent it from burning.
Nowadays, cortado coffee has been mixed up a bit.
As the popularity of espresso started to increase, so did the popularity of cortado.
In the 1990s, cortado became a popular alternative to espresso and was a common order at cafes and coffee shops.
How Is Cortado Made?
Originally, it was made by steaming an equal amount of espresso and milk together at the same time.
It is now one of the most common beverages on the menu of cafes all over Europe, even in some parts of the United States.
There are different ways that you can make your cortado, but they all come down to the same thing.
It is simply an espresso shot with the same ratio of steamed milk poured over it so it can be consumed immediately.
If you have never had this drink before, don’t worry about it being too complicated.
You can definitely replicate this delicious drink at home.
Cortado Coffee Recipe
Equal parts of water and espresso coffee will be needed.
This is a strong shot of coffee, so you don’t need to measure it out to a tee.
You can feel free to use whatever measurement you want as long as the ratio is equal.
For example, if you want to make a small cup of cortado coffee, your measurements would be around one part espresso to two parts steamed milk.
The espresso should be made using the freshest beans possible.
If you have a home coffee machine, grind your own beans just before brewing.
Even use an airtight container to store the beans, but remember to deliver them fresh each time.
How To Make Cortado At Home?
There are different approaches when making cortado at home depending on what kind of equipment you want to use.
If you will be using a standard espresso machine, the following directions will work for you:
Add your coffee grounds into your machine and add hot water.
The water will pass through the coffee grinds and push them through the exit spout.
If you are using a manual one, make sure to pack your coffee in tightly. If you don’t, it won’t work very well. The ratio of 1:2 will work best.
Take a look at the markings on the machine. They will tell you how many cups of water to add while brewing your coffee.
Adding too much water will make your coffee weak while adding too little water may leave you with a stronger beverage.
Now add your milk to the cup or add it to a separate vessel before stirring it into the espresso shot carefully.
You don’t want to mix the milk with your espresso because this might create lumps in your drink.
How Is the Cortado Served?
There are several different approaches to serving a cortado.
In fact, you can serve it any way that you want as long as the ingredients match up.
The coffee to milk ratio of a cortado is 1:1 or sometimes 2:1 for people who want a stronger cup of coffee.
Generally, if you order a cortado in a coffee shop, it will be served in a glass cup with the espresso shot and the steamed milk on top.
The espresso shot will be on the bottom of the cup with the cortado serving as a cut edge.
Some coffee shops use two shots of espresso in one cup instead, leaving you with a drier cortado drink.
If you serving a cortado at home, you will want to use a ceramic mug or glass.
If you use a mug, you may use either a glass or ceramic mug because they won’t affect your coffee flavor like metal ones might.
Basically, the cortado size is approx. a 4 ounce cup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cortado vs Cappuccino – What Is The Difference?
The ratio of a cortado vs a cappuccino is 1:1 or sometimes 1:2 whereas the ratio for the cappuccino is better as 1:3.
A cortado is different from a cappuccino as it is not as sweet as a cappuccino and does not use any chocolate or sugar on top of the drink.
It is filled with espresso and steamed milk, neither of which has any sugar added to it.
Cortado Vs Macchiato
Macchiato and cortado coffee are both caffeinated drinks and they both use espresso, but macchiato uses a smaller amount of steamed milk and is all about making the drink look pretty.
Whereas the cortado is getting an equal amount of steamed milk with the espresso shot so that it can be consumed immediately.
Is A Cortado The Same As A Flat White?
A flat white is one of the most popular espresso-based drinks that you’ll find at coffee shops or barista joints.
The main difference between the cortado and flat white is the amount of steamed milk.
The coffee to milk ratio of a flat is 1:2 whereas the ratio for the cortado is 1:1 or sometimes 2:1 making the cortado stronger in flavor.
Cortado vs Latte – How To Differentiate?
The cortado and latte are very similar in many ways but they also have some differences.
The biggest one is how much milk is used to make each drink. When making a cortado, you will use equal amounts of steamed milk and espresso shots.
On the other hand, a latte uses more steamed milk.
Another difference between these two drinks is that you will find a lot more foam in a latte than you’ll find in a cortado.
Macchiato vs Cortado
The macchiato is a small amount of espresso served with a small dollop of foam on top.
The cortado, on the other hand, is equal amounts of espresso and steamed milk with less foam.
You can both drinks at the same coffee shop because they are not too different from each other.
The macchiato is usually served in a 1.5 oz cup and the cortado a 4 oz.
Final Thoughts About Cortado Coffee
Cortado coffee is a drink that has many different variations, but it’s obviously best enjoyed when made at home.
If you are looking to have the best possible experience, you are going to want to use the freshest coffee grounds available so that there is no bitterness in your drink.
The espresso shot should also be as fresh as possible because this will help create a smooth drink that doesn’t have any lumps.
With this newfound knowledge, I hope you will feel less confused about where to go when you need your next cortado coffee.