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How to Make the Perfect Cortado (Easy Espresso Recipe)

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Make the Perfect Cortado

In the realm of coffee, one of those exquisite pleasures is cortado.

Invented in Spain to give a mild personality to the intense, newly discovered drink, the cortado makes for an intense but mellow drink.

A 1:1 ratio between coffee and warm, slightly steamed milk is simply perfect, especially if a straight shot of espresso is too intense for you.

I drink all kinds of coffee, as trying new renditions of the toasty drink is an all-out adventure for my taste buds. 

I won’t lie to you, I don’t always drink cortado, but I do save it for special occasions, like quiet weekend mornings when I’m not in a rush. Cortado does something to you — it brings a smile to your face.


Now, to the coffee

If you want to make the perfect cortado, start with the right coffee.

With an intense espresso shot as a base, you want it to be perfect. I know we coffee lovers gravitate towards high altitude Arabica, but if you’re “cutting it” with milk, because that’s what cortado means in Spanish, you want bold flavors.

Robusta beans are not as fruity or floral-scented as Arabica, but they pack a punch. Look for Vietnamese beans, for example. Java, in Indonesia, produces extraordinary Robusta beans too.

For the roast, the darkest, the better, even a French roast will do the trick. It blends beautifully with milk.

Expect nutty, smoky aromas, burning embers, and dark chocolate — better yet, expect chocolate milk flavors, that’s when you know you’re drinking an excellent cortado.

The best thing about cortado is that it’s a great entry-level coffee shot. Creamy, but intense, flavorful, but mild; it has it all.

If you’re an experienced coffee drinker, you’ll find in cortados a way to sit back and relax, without over-thinking it, it’s the Spanish way; it’s all about the pleasure.

Without further ado, here’s the easiest but most successful recipe for the perfect cortado.

How to Make It

  • Prep Time3 min
  • Cook Time2 min
  • Total Time5 min
  • Serving Size1
  • Energy50 cal




Grab a clean espresso machine handle.


Grind your coffee of choice.


Add the coffee to the handle and press firmly.


Brew around for 20 seconds and reserve. You should get one ounce of espresso, or one shot.


Steam whole cow’s milk until heated and just foamy.


Add the milk over the espresso gently, keep it layered.


Serve and enjoy!

  • Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size1
  • Amount per serving
  • Calories50
  • % Daily Value*Standard DV
  • Total Fat1 g78 g1.28%
  • Saturated Fat0.5 g20 g2.5%
  • Sodium15 mg2300 mg0.65%
  • Total Carbohydrate1.3 g275 g0.47%
  • Dietary Fiber0 g28 g0%
  • Total Sugars1.5 g
  • Sugar Alcohal1 g
  • Protein0.9 g50 g1.8%
  • Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol)11 IU800 IU1.38%
  • Calcium33 mg1300 mg2.54%
  • Iron0 mg18 mg0%
  • Potassium73 mg4700 mg1.55%
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