Coffeepedia: What is a Cortado?

Coffeepedia: What is a Cortado?


What Is A Cortado? The Difference Between Cortado vs. Macchiato

Cortado, a Spanish term meaning “to cut” or something that is “chopped up”, is a popular drink of choice in the coffee world. An espresso drink that is mixed with the same amount of steamed milk is defined as a cortado.

Originating in Spain, the cortado was invented to dilute the strong bitter taste that often comes with a typical espresso. The steamed milk cuts the taste of the espresso since there is an even ratio of coffee to milk throughout the cup.


Unlike a macchiato, which uses a small amount of milk, a cortado is made using a double shot of espresso followed by an equal amount of steamed milk. The milk is heated to a certain degree where it is steamed, but does not form a ‘frothy’ consistency. Once the layers of espresso and steamed milk are even, a thin layer of milk foam is poured over the steamed milk.


The steamed milk in a cortado has no level of caffeine in it, the only amount of caffeine that there is, is in the espresso portion of the coffee. Since a cortado has a double shot of espresso and not a single shot, typically there is a more than usual amount of caffeine. A single “shot” of espresso is 1.5 ounces or 77 mg of caffeine. A double “shot” of espresso carries 58 - 185 mg of caffeine.


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