Coffee connoisseurs have a variety of caffeinated coffee drinks to choose from. Nowadays, the menu at your local cafe is packed with delicious options– each providing its own flavor profile, temperature variation, and mouthfeel.
Coffee is a cultural phenomenon. Trends can make coffee popular or unpopular at any moment. Learning the history behind these drinks and how to make them is key to enjoying what each cuppa brings to the table.
So let’s talk about one specific type of beverage.
This beverage is called a cortado. Broadly speaking, cortado coffee contains espresso and dairy. Let’s learn about it, its history, and how to create this drink in your own kitchen.
In this Article
The Cortado Story
Cortado is a coffee drink that originated in Spain. The name of this delectable drink comes from the Spanish verb “Cortar” meaning “to cut.” Essentially, the dairy in this drink cuts the acidity of the strong espresso flavor but doesn’t waste time with overly frilly dairy decorations or massive venti-sized to-go cups.
Historically, this drink has been produced in Cuba, Portugal, and Spain. But it came to San Francisco with a new name: the Gibraltar coffee – so-called because of the tumbler used to serve the beverage.
This was a second-choice drink, which acquired popularity as people were drawn to the thrill of discovery. As popularity grew, Gibraltar coffee was officially recognized as a menu offering.
Culturally, a Cortado is known as a morning drink typically enjoyed after breakfast or before lunch. Coffee shops that pride themselves on making cortado will typically have a pitcher of milk already heated and ready to serve upon request.
What is Cortado Coffee?
Cortado is basically espresso coffee with very little milk. Cortados are served in small cups with a layer of foamy milk on top.
They are slightly lighter than a cappuccino and more similar in color to an Americano. The main difference is that the foam layer in a cortado is much thicker, therefore resulting in a much creamier cup of joe.
Why is Cortado So Popular?
Therefore, espresso bars that proudly use only cortado-specific equipment refer to cortado as their “signature drink.” Even if the barista has the tools necessary to make a normal cappuccino or espresso, this drink will catch on with patrons because of its aesthetic.
Cortado is also popular because it’s an espresso drink that doesn’t taste overly intense. The milk helps to make this drink light and refreshing, and it can be enjoyed any time of day.
You can’t make a cortado without the right equipment, and most baristas don’t have these special tools.
How to Make a Cortado?
To make a cortado, you will need :
- Espresso machine
- Coffee grinder
- Whole coffee beans
- Pull 2 shots of espresso.
- Grind the coffee beans to a medium-fine grind in order to obtain the perfect espresso extraction.
- Heat up some milk, just enough to heat it up (around 90 degrees Celsius).
- Pour the espresso shots in your cup, then add the hot milk on top of it all.
- Enjoy the drink!!
How to drink a Cortado:
Cortado is not supposed to be drunk in the same way as a Caramel Macchiato or a latte, but it is the same consistency.
The milk must not cover the coffee completely, because then you will end up with a glass of warm milk, which certainly would be weird.
If you want to drink cortado correctly, you have to stop halfway and enjoy this great espresso with its foam and freshly ground coffee aroma. You can also add some sugar or honey if it’s too bitter for you.
Differences Between Drinks
The cortado is a different beverage than other coffee drinks. Nevertheless, it has some similarities. We all know there are many different types of coffee to choose from, but the cortado is the spunkiest.
Cortado vs Macchiato/Cappuccino
Macchiato and cappuccino are the most similar drinks among the other coffee options. Both of these are espresso-based beverages with added milk.
Cappuccino has foam on top while macchiato is served in a glass with espresso and steamed milk together.
Cortado also contains espresso and steamed milk, but this beverage has a very little amount of milk compared to a cappuccino or macchiato.
Cortado vs Flat White
Another drink that the cortado is often compared to is the flat white. Flat white is another espresso-based beverage with milk that you can find in coffee shops.
This beverage is similar to cortado because they both have foam in them. The difference between these two is the amount of milk.
In a flat white, the amount of milk is about twice as much as in a cortado. Flat whites come with more presentation, such as latte art.
Cortado vs Latte/Caffelatte
Let’s face it, the only difference between a cortado and a latte is the thickness of the milk. The other component of these beverages is espresso.
A cortado has a much thicker layer than a latte does and because of that, they are more similar to each other than other drinks.
Cortado vs Gibraltar
Gibraltar is another type of coffee with a very similar quantity of espresso and milk as cortado has. The only difference is that Gibraltar has no foam on top. This beverage is usually served in a glass as well.
Cortado vs Americano
Americano is another drink that the cortado is sometimes compared to. This beverage has a much thinner layer of foam on top than cortado.
Advantages of Cortado Coffee
- Cortado contains a high amount of caffeine.
- Cortado can be a great pick-me-up.
- Although cortado contains milk, it is not heavy or too sweet like cappuccino or latte.
- Cortados are easy and quick to make at home.
- Cortado is a perfect option for those who don’t like to have milk in their coffee.
Disadvantages of cortado
- Cortados are not as popular as other espresso drinks like cappuccino, latte, and macchiato.
- Cortados can be more bitter and acidic than cappuccino
Cortado drinks could be sweetened with chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, or any other toppings if you wish to experiement. You could paint the cup with the desired toppings for a better flavor experience.
Voila! Now you have everything you need to know about this delightful and offbeat brewing drink!
Whether you’re simply curious or are genuinely interested in making one of these in the comfort of your own home, make sure to visit this article so you don’t miss a beat.
Enjoy your cortado. Happy Caffenating