Cortado 101: Mastering the Art of Making this Delicious Espresso Coffee


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If you’re a coffee lover, you’ve probably heard of a cortado. This Spanish coffee drink is gaining popularity around the world, and for good reason. A cortado is a delicious and simple coffee beverage that’s perfect for any time of day.

So what exactly is a cortado? It’s a type of coffee made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk. The word “cortado” means “cut” in Spanish, which refers to the way the espresso is “cut” with milk. The result is a smooth and creamy coffee drink that’s not too strong or too sweet.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of making a cortado and share some tips for getting the perfect balance of espresso and milk.

what is a cortado

What is a Cortado?

A cortado is a type of coffee that originated in Spain and is made by combining equal parts of espresso and warm milk. It is a popular coffee beverage that is enjoyed by coffee lovers all over the world. In this section, we will explore the definition and origin of cortado coffee.


A cortado is a coffee beverage that consists of equal parts of espresso and warm milk. The milk is steamed to a temperature between 120 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit and then added to the espresso. The resulting drink is smooth, creamy, and has a bold flavor that is not too sweet or too bitter. The milk in a cortado is not frothed like in a latte or cappuccino, which gives it a unique texture and taste.


The cortado originated in Spain and is a popular coffee beverage in many Spanish-speaking countries. The word “cortado” means “cut” in Spanish, which refers to the way the espresso is “cut” with the milk. The cortado is similar to the Italian macchiato, but the milk in a cortado is not frothed like in a macchiato. The cortado is typically served in a small glass or ceramic cup and is enjoyed as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

How to Make a Cortado?

How to make a cortado

If you’re interested in making your own cortado at home, it’s easier than you might think. All you need is an espresso machine and some milk. With a few simple steps, you can have a delicious cortado in no time.



  • Espresso machine
  • Milk steaming pitcher
  • Espresso cup
  • Metal spoon


Making a cortado is a simple process that requires a few basic steps.

  1. Start by pulling a shot of espresso into a small espresso cup.
  2. Next, steam the milk until it reaches a velvety texture with a fine microfoam. Pour the steamed milk into the espresso cup, filling it almost to the top.
  3. Using a metal spoon, scoop out the foam from the steamed milk and place it on top of the cortado.
  4. Your cortado is now ready to be served.

Remember, the key to a great cortado is the balance between the espresso and the steamed milk. The espresso should be strong and bold, while the steamed milk should be velvety and smooth.

Experiment with different types of espresso beans and milk to find the perfect combination for your taste buds. With a little practice, you’ll be making perfect cortados in no time!

What is a Cortadito?

A cortadito is a Cuban-style espresso-based drink that is similar to a cortado but with a few differences.

The cortadito is made with a 1:1 ratio of sweetened espresso and steamed milk. The espresso used in a cortadito is typically brewed with sugar, creating a sweeter and slightly thicker espresso compared to a standard espresso shot. The steamed milk is then added to the sweetened espresso, resulting in a small, sweet, and creamy coffee beverage.

Cortadito is popular in Cuban coffee culture and has become a staple in many Cuban-style cafés and coffee shops, especially in areas with a large Cuban-American population, such as Miami.

Calories and Caffeine Content in a Cortado

A cortado is an espresso-based drink made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk. The exact amount of calories and caffeine in a cortado can vary based on the size, type of milk used, and the specific coffee beans used for the espresso.

Generally, a cortado contains about 1.5 ounces (45 ml) of espresso and 1.5 ounces (45 ml) of steamed milk. A typical cortado might have the following nutritional content:

Calories: The caloric content will depend on the type of milk used. For example:

  • With whole milk: approximately 45-60 calories
  • With 2% milk: approximately 35-50 calories
  • With 1% milk: approximately 30-45 calories
  • With skim milk: approximately 25-40 calories
  • With almond milk: approximately 20-35 calories
  • With soy milk: approximately 30-45 calories

Caffeine: The caffeine content of a cortado depends on the espresso used, which can vary greatly. On average, a single shot of espresso contains around 68 milligrams of caffeine. Therefore, a cortado with 1.5 ounces (45 ml) of espresso would have approximately 63 milligrams of caffeine.


The cortado is a delicious coffee beverage that is enjoyed by coffee lovers all over the world. It is a unique blend of espresso and warm milk that has a bold flavor and a smooth, creamy texture. Whether you are a coffee aficionado or just looking to try something new, the cortado is definitely worth a try.

Find out about all the different types of coffee drinks in our complete guide.

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