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What is Cortado, Pros & Cons – Ultimate Guide for Cortado Lovers


There are many different kinds of espresso drinks out there. While espresso is a method of brewing it can have many different variations on its own but once you add milk or cream to the list of ingredients you have a long list of drinks that can be made. One of the simpler and delicious ones is a cortado. Cortado means ‘to cut’ in Spanish but that is not as strange a name as you may think. It makes sense once you understand that milk is added to this drink to cut down the acidity of plain coffee.

What is Cortado?

Cortado is a type of coffee that has espresso mixed with equal amounts of milk to lessen the acidity. The milk used in this beverage is steamed; however, it does not give the frothy texture that is present in various other drinks. The word cortado is taken from a Spanish word cortar which means to cut or dilute. It is used to refer to espresso or coffee by people living in Portuguese and Spanish countries. This word signifies milk toning down the intensity of espresso by cutting down the acidity. However, the flavor of coffee remains the same.

Originated from the Basque country of Spain, the beverage started gaining popularity in Cuba and the Galicia region of northern Portugal. Despite lack of froth in it, Cortado gets a lot of love from coffee lovers due to its aroma, flavor and texture. It is a delicious combination of espresso with light, creamy milk.


The reason behind the popularity of cortado is pretty simple. There are various coffee shops that thrive to impress consumers with various types of beverages. Some of these shops even create specialized names for these drinks to make things look fancy. Even though it sounds interesting and fun but it has confused coffee drinkers. Whereas, on the other hand, cortado is winning hearts with simplicity.

Nowadays, the actual purpose of having coffee has diminished due to the changing trends but cortado's traditional taste makes you go down the memory lane. The simple taste of milk and coffee is unmatchable.

Texture and Taste of Cortado

A cortado is essentially a 1:1 ratio of espresso and steamed milk. The lack of froth allows the milk to cut through the coffee and ends up making a blended and smooth cup of coffee. Hence it is thicker than an espresso but stronger than a latte (read on below to find out the difference between the two). The main ingredients are water, ground coffee and steamed milk. Depending on the roast and the coffee bean that has been used to make the espresso you can get a wide variety of flavor profiles from chocolatey to spiced to floral. The flavor and consistency also depends on the brewing ratio and temperature used by the barista. Unlike most Italian coffee drinks the milk in a cortado is not textured.


How Much Caffeine is in a Cup of Cortado?

Cortados typically have a double shot of espresso which is around 2 fluid ounces and has an approximate caffeine of around 120 mg. But this number can vary greatly depending on the place, type of coffee beans used and the brew.

How to Make Cortado

A cortado is a blend of steamed milk with espresso. Both of these ingredients are used in equal quantity. Following are the steps to make a Cortado:

Step 1: To brew a delicious cup of cortado, the first thing you need to have is an espresso machine. Since espresso is the base of the beverage you will be requiring this machine. Along with this, you will be needing milk as well.

Step 2: Once you have all the required things, you have to start grinding your espresso grounds. After that you need to measure and tamper them.

Step 3: You will have your espresso grounds in the portafilter which you will be placing into the machine.

Step 4: You are then required to extract two shots of espresso in a small cup using your espresso machine.

Step 5: After you have extracted espresso in a cup, you have to lightly steam the milk of your choice.

Step 6: Once it is steamed, you have to pour it on top of your espresso making sure both of them are in equal amounts.

Recommended Coffee Machines

It is essential that you have an espresso machine if you want to brew a cup of cortado. There are various espresso machines available in the market that have different features and fall in different price ranges. All of them have one thing in common- they brew excellent coffee. Some of these machines are listed below:


Pros and Cons of Cortado

There are certain pros and cons of drinking cortado and some of them are given below:


  • Cortado consists of espresso which has various nutritional benefits like riboflavin and niacin.
  • Due to the presence of milk, a cortado has reduced acidity as compared to plain espresso.
  • It is easy to make a cup of cortado so you can enjoy a cup anytime you want.
  • A cortado is easy to make
  • It is a healthy option for people who love to drink coffee because it does not have sugary substances.
  • A cortado has less acidity than a plain espresso


  • People who like to drink sugary beverages may find cortado bitter.
  • Espresso may exacerbate or cause insomnia
  • It can make you restless and overstimulate your nerves

Cortado vs Latte

Cortado and Latte both require espresso and milk; however, they are both different.

  • The sizes of both the beverages are different.
  • A cortado has equal quantities of espresso and milk, whereas, the quantity of milk used in a latte is more than that of espresso.
  • A cortado does not have foam on top, while a latte does.
  • Since lattes have more milk, the intensity of coffee is further diluted. Hence, cortado is more caffeine potent as compared to lattes.

Cortado vs Macchiato

A cortado is very much similar to a macchiato; however, there are a few differences:

  • A cortado has a higher quantity of milk as compared to a macchiato. Due to the quantity of milk, the volume of a cortado is more than a macchiato.
  • A cortado is a bit milkier than a macchiato.
  • The milk added in cortado is steamed, while for macchiato foamed milk is used.

What Coffee Is Right for Cortado?

The foundation of a cortado lies on espresso. It is an essential part of your beverage and it cannot be prepared until you add espresso in it. Cortados are usually prepared with two shots of espresso. These shots have around 120 mg of caffeine and are approximately two fluid ounces. However, the number of these coffee shots varies according to the type of coffee beans that you are using. The brew and the place also play an important role in this regard.

Benefits of Having Cortado

There are various benefits of drinking cortado. Since the beverage does not have a lot of sugar or dairy, it is considered as a healthy drink that will help you stay focused and alert. Apart from this, there are various other benefits of drinking cortado. A few of them are given below:


1. Cortado is a beverage that is considered the best of both worlds. It gives you the taste of an espresso without the acidity present in a doppio or the calories that are present in a latte.

2. Cortado is a less sugary drink which makes it easier for people to actually taste caffeine. The caffeine present in your beverage helps you in boosting your metabolism. A faster metabolism facilitates in burning fat.

3. Coffee is popularly known as one of the most common ways to get rid of tiredness. Even though there is no alternative to a good night's sleep, coffee does help you to get rid of the fatigue. Caffeine is an energy booster that keeps you alert. Since you are allowed to play with the amount of coffee you add in your cortado, you can drink it in case you wish to lessen your tiredness.

4. The presence of caffeine in coffee reduces the risk of Alzheimer's according to the University of South Florida and the University of Miami.

5. A coffee that does not have sweeteners is also known for reducing the risk of depression. Internal Medicine's research also revealed that four more cups of coffee could reduce the risk of clinical depression by 20%. In this case, cortado should be your perfect choice of beverage.

6. Along with all of these benefits, coffee does make you happier. If you are feeling low, a cup of cortado will definitely lift up your mood and make you feel better.

Final Thoughts

After reading this guide you will have a lot of information about cortado. It is a delicious and quirky drink which is extremely simple and convenient to make. Knowing all about this beverage will help you in brewing it at home. You are required to follow a few simple steps and you will have a delicious cup of coffee in your hands.