What Is A Cortado

For people who are just beginning to learn how to make their specialty drinks, there’s bound to be a feeling of being overwhelmed. That’s because there are hundreds—if not thousands—of specialty drinks that a person can make in the comfort of their home. And many of those drinks are made differently depending on where they’re made in the world.

Take the cortado, for example. In the U.S., it’s simply an equal amount of espresso and steamed milk. However, in other parts of the world, this drink is often made quite differently. In Saudi Arabia, it’s just a cup of espresso with a small amount of steamed milk. In other countries, it’s simply a cup of black coffee served with a dash of hot or cold milk. So, to someone new to making their own coffee drinks, all of this can be quite confusing.

Fortunately, home coffee aficionados can take heart because we’re going to cut through some of the confusion.  That’s because we’re going to layout this drink in all of its splendor for all of our readers to enjoy. We’re going to help our readers understand just precisely what a cortado is and how they can make their own at home. If that sounds good, then read on and we’ll dose out a little information on this exciting and tasty drink.

What Exactly Is A Cortado?

The word cortado comes from the Spanish word “Cortar,” a word that means “to cut.” And that is precisely what a cortado is, at least in the strictest sense. It’s an espresso that’s cut with steamed milk. Cutting the espresso with steamed milk helps to increase the flavor of the coffee dramatically, and it does it while reducing the coffee’s acidity levels. This creates a smooth, flavorful drink anyone can enjoy.

Of course, there’s a wide variety of different drinks that use espresso as their base, and all of them have varying amounts of milk added to them. So, what differentiates a cortado from a flat white, or other espresso drink is the amount of milk that’s added to it. In our estimation, a cortado is a drink that falls somewhere in between a cappuccino and a short macchiato.

What’s The Difference Between A Flat White And A Cortado?

Our simple explanation of what constitutes a cortado might leave some people wondering what’s the difference between a flat white coffee and a cortado. After all, at first glance, they appear to be the same drink, but that’s not exactly true. There are subtle differences between these two drinks that differentiate one from the other. Let’s take a closer look at these differences.

The main difference between a flat white and a cortado is the type of milk used. For a flat white, the milk is textured and is also usually a lot hotter than the milk used in a cortado. In Spain, they don’t use textured milk in the cortado. In that sense, flat white coffee drinks are actually like small lattes, while a cortado is simply espresso with steamed milk.

How To Make A Cortado

Since the cortado is a specialty drink, you’re going to have to have a few tools available to you to properly make one. After all, this isn’t simply a coffee made with added milk. No, it’s an espresso, so you’re going to need an espresso machine, high-quality espresso grounds and a few other basic tools to begin. Let’s get started with what you’re going to need and then move on to actually making the drink.

Items Needed:

Step One: Grind Your Beans

The first step to any quality espresso is to finely grind your favorite espresso beans. It doesn’t matter what type of coffee beans you use, just make sure that you a quality burr coffee grinder to get an even consistency.

Step Two: Setup Your Espresso Machine

The next step is to set up your espresso machine. This includes measuring out the coffee grinds and tamping them. Be sure to add enough coffee to pull a double shot of espresso into your cup. Also, make sure that you have quality filtered water added to the machine too, and that the machine is warmed up and ready to go.

Step Three: Pull Two Shots Of Espresso

According to your machine’s instructions and common espresso-making practice, pull two shots of espresso into your cup. For best results, use a glass that’s already been warmed up, so the temperature of the coffee isn’t pulled down when the shot is pulled into the glass.

Step Four: Add Your Favorite Milk

Once the double-shot has been pulled, be sure to steam the milk of your choice. For a proper cortado, we like to use whole milk, but you can feel free to use any type of milk that you want including almond or oat milk, coconut milk, or soy milk. Make sure to add the espresso at a ratio of 1:1 (1-part espresso and 1-part milk).

What’s A Gibraltar?

A well-known variation on the cortado is a Gibraltar. This drink was coined by the Blue Bottle Coffee Company. It’s simply a cortado that’s placed into a 4.5-ounce Libbey Gibraltar glass. That’s all there is to it. It’s a double shot of espresso and two ounces of steamed milk placed into a Gibraltar glass. It’s super easy to make and we have to admit that the glass makes for a beautiful presentation of this drink. It’s a drink that some people may want to serve to their friends if they happened to have some Gibraltar glasses in the cupboards.

One Last Thing…

That’s all there is to making a great cortado. As can be seen from our instructions, making this drink isn’t all that complicated once you actually define your terms and differentiate a cortado from a flat white. We know that anyone who makes this drink at home is going to immediately love it, not only because it is a coffee drink that’s easy to make, but because it’s a smooth and flavorful one as well.