Ah yes, the classic cortado. Rumour has it that the cortado recipe was invented by busy baristas who were looking to get a quick fix during a rush.

If you're looking for the best cortado recipe, we've got you covered! Below we show you how to make the classic bevy, plus we provide answers to all your burning cortado questions!

What is a Cortado?

The cortado is an espresso and milk recipe goes back very easy! It's smoother than a straight shot of espresso but contains less milk than a flat white or cappuccino. All it takes are a few swift sips to finish this delicious drink.

The best part about it is that you can taste more characteristics from the espresso than you would in any other espresso drink. It has just the right amount of milk to cut the harshness of straight 'spro, but doesn't cover up the delicious tasting notes.

How many shots are there in a cortado?

You can make a cortado with either one or two shots; it doesn't really matter. The only thing that counts is that you use the 1:1 ratio.

Cortado Vs. Flat White

These two drinks can be hard to differentiate, but we're here to help explain the difference!

Flat whites will have a silkier foam texture than the cortado and also have a lot more milk.

A flat white usually has a 1:3 ratio, which is a lot more than the 1:1 cortado ratio.  

Cortado Vs. Cappucino

Same as above, cappuccinos have more milk, the same amount as a flat white (just with more foam).

The milk texture in a cappuccino is what we're aiming for in a cortado, with a little more foam to create an excellent finish on the coffeeshop staple.

Cortado Vs. Macchiato

Now here's where things get interesting. The macchiato can easily be confused with a cortado since both recipes use a shot of espresso and very little milk.

The easiest way to explain the difference is that macchiato has a dollop of milk foam on top, whereas the cortado has the steamed milk blended into the espresso.

Is There an Iced Cortado?

Simply use the same 1:1 espresso to milk ratio, but skip the steaming and just pour over ice. It's a super crushable drink that you can down in no time, getting you a burst of delicious caffeine.

How to Make a Cortado

If you're looking to make the crowd-pleasing cortado at home, we'll walk you through it from start to finish.

What you need:

      1. - Coffee
      2. - Choice of milk
      3. - Pitcher
      4. - Espresso machine, or an alternative method to brew some 'spro and froth some milk
      5. - Cool glass!


  1. 1. Pull your shot of espresso. If you're using an espresso machine, pull as you normally would. If you don't have an espresso machine, you can do this either via Mokapot or Aeropress.
  2. 2. Steam your milk. Again, if you don't have an espresso machine with a steam wand, you can emulate the effect by microwaving some milk and then putting it in a French press to froth.
  3. 3. Pour your espresso into a cup, then pour an equal amount of milk on top. A cortado is a 1:1 ratio, so adjust as necessary. Latte art is a real feat with the cortado, so bonus points if you can make a rosetta (extra bonus points if you can create a swan!).
  4. 4. Enjoy! Best consumed while working a morning rush in a cafe with no time to spare.
March 11, 2022 — Lauren Scratch

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