What is a Cortado Coffee?

As the world evolves, so do the coffee types. Nowadays, your favorite coffee shop menu is full of a variety of coffees to choose from. However, it’s always good to learn about the history of these coffees.

There is nothing as exciting as enjoying a cup of coffee that you know about its history.

Today, you’ll learn about cortado coffee and its fascinating history.

cortado coffee.

So let’s first understand what cortado coffee is.

“Cortado” is a Spanish word that means “cut.” Cortado coffee is a type of espresso whereby the espresso and milk ratio is similar. The milk used in cortado coffee cuts through the espresso. The drink is made of 2 shots of espresso and the same amount of steamed milk. Cortado coffee contains less or no foam. This is a common characteristic of Spanish drinks. The milk in a cortado lowers the acidity of the coffee and still retains its flavor.

The drink shares similar characteristics with a latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and flat white coffee. This article will discuss the difference between cortado coffee and the other coffee types.

Cortado coffee is usually served in a small glass cup that is known as Gibraltar. Now let’s learn more about cortado coffee.

Cortado Coffee Origin

Cortado coffee was first created in the Basque country of Spain. The drink then spread to Portugal, Cuba and later spread worldwide. As cortado coffee spread worldwide, it picked up different names such as the French noisette. This name was given to the coffee because of its color that is similar to that of a hazelnut. The coffee was also referred to as Cuban cordite because of the condensed milk used to make it and Gibraltar. Gibraltar as stated earlier refers to the glass used to serve cortado coffee.

The drink is known as cortado on U.S. East Coast and Gibraltar on the West Coast. Cortado coffee was first served on the West Coast in 2005.

How to Make Cortado Coffee at Home

For you to make cortado coffee, you’ll need:

  • Espresso machine
  • Freshly roasted coffee beans
  • A grinder
  • Steamed milK
  • A coffee mug

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make cortado coffee.

  1. Grind your freshly roasted coffee beans.
  2. Use an espresso machine to extract 2 shots of espresso to your mug.

Steps to Using Espresso Machine

  • Fill the filter with ground coffee.
  • Make the surface of the filter even.
  • Tamp your coffee down using vertical motion.
  • Tamp until the grounds stop giving way when tamped.
  • Flush water and wait for your coffee to brew.
  • Extract 2 shots of your espresso in a coffee mug.
  1. Pour 2 ounces of steamed milk into your espresso coffee using a wiggle motion to perfect the coffees blend.
  2. Enjoy your cortado.

The key to making good cortado coffee is making sure that the espresso to milk ratio is the same. You can choose to add the flavor of your choice without altering the espresso to milk ratio. The steamed milk temperature should be between 150 to 160F.

You can also top your cortado coffee with foam if you like. You can make your cortado coffee with any milk of your choice. However, whole milk is the recommended milk to use.

The caffeine concentration in cortado coffee is usually high, and the drink is meant to be sipped slowly.

Difference Between Cortado, Latte, Cappucino, Macchiato, and Flat White

The difference between the coffees is described in relation to:

  • Espresso shots used
  • Milk used
  • Serving of the coffee
  • Milk foam
Coffee Type Espresso Shots/ Ounces Steamed Milk Used Milk Foam Coffee Serving
Cortado 2 shots 2 ounces lightly textured milk Thin layer 4 ounces cup
Latte 2 shots 8 ounces or more Thin layer 8 ounces cup
Cappuccino 1 shot 5 ounces lighter and more textured milk Thick layer 6 ounces cup
Macchiato 2 shot 1 ounce Thin layer 3 ounces cup
Flat White 1 shot 4 ounces Thin layer 5 ounces cup



Cortado coffee is easy to make and can boost your alertness level when you want to stay awake. This is a result of the high caffeine concentration in the coffee. Now you know the cortado history and how to make the coffee. You can add it up to your coffee rotation.

About the author

Hi I'm James and coffee is an integral part of my routine: from waking up to getting ready for work in the morning, to spending time with friends after work in the evening hours.

It’s not just about being caffeinated; it's about enjoying every single moment of your day with that perfect cup of joe!

At Coffee-Prices.com, our goal is to provide no-nonsense, clear and up to date information about coffee.

James Black

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