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What Is Cortado Coffee?

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Are you looking for a flavorful beverage to start your day? If you are then you may have stumbled across this one in your search. But just what is Cortado coffee? Well, it’s something you’re definitely going to want to take a closer look at.

So, What is Cortado Coffee?

The short answer is … there isn’t a short answer. Cortado is actually a range of different drinks to different people. Some people consider it a coffee with steamed milk (in a specific ratio, of course), while others consider a flat white or a latte as a cortado. So just what is it? Well, it’s a lot of things, but it’s definitely a great choice for the start to your morning.

The only think people seem to agree on is that it’s espresso with milk. In the US this type of drink is served with 1:1 milk and espresso with a little bit of froth on the top. It’s served in a special glass as well, an actual glass with a metal ring on the base and a metal wire handle.

On the other hand, in Spain, this drink is a single shot of espresso with approximately 1:0.5 ratio of espresso to milk (less milk than espresso). Then it has a little foam on the top. But keep in mind that this is only one (or two) of the versions you’ll find.

The Cortado Origin Story

The cortado is actually a Spanish beverage that comes from the word ‘cortar,’ which means ‘to cut.’ This is because the espresso is ‘cut’ with milk to get a milder flavor.

The drink was actually started in the Basque country of Spain, but it started to become even more popular and eventually spread to further regions, including the Galicia region in Portugal and Cuba. And from there, to the rest of the world.

How the Cortado Compares to Other Coffee

So, just how does this drink compare to other types of coffee beverages? Well, if all espresso beverages were on a spectrum, a cortado would fall somewhere between a short macchiato and a cappuccino because each has a similar quantity of espresso. The difference is in the quantity of milk involved with a short macchiato having less than the cortado and a cappuccino having more.

What’s special about the cortado is that it doesn’t have the foam, which means that the espresso and milk combine just so to create a balanced drink. In fact, the balance is particularly unique and excellent for the palate.

Now, you may have had a cortado without realizing it because in other parts of the world it goes by different names. Like a Gibraltar on the west coast. The difference here is that a Gibraltar is served in a Gibraltar tumbler, but the drink is very much the same.

Similar Coffees Like the Cortado

Okay, now let’s take a look at the cortado and other popular coffee drinks so you can see the similarities and the differences.

Cortado vs. Cappuccino

These two drinks are both made with espresso and hot milk; however, the cappuccino includes two different types of milk and the cortado includes only two.

For a cappuccino you’ll have a layer of a double shot of espresso followed by an equal amount of steamed milk and then an equal amount of foamed milk. This creates a 1:1:1 ratio of all three of the ingredients. You may also get a cute image or decorative element in the top of the drink made with the foam.

On the other hand, a cortado is simply a shot of espresso with steamed milk and is served in a small cup every time.

Cortado vs. Latte

These two drinks are both made with espresso and steamed milk; however, the heating of the milk is slightly different.

The latte actually has a great deal more steamed milk than a cappuccino does, and even more than that it’s not a layered drink. For a latte the steamed milk is mixed right into the espresso to get a more blended flavor rather than the distinct layers of a cappuccino. It also has a higher heat to the steamed milk, producing a higher foam.

On the other hand, a cortado has a very lightly steamed milk, so there is less foam involved.

Cortado vs. Gibraltar

These two drinks are actually identical, except for the fact that a Gibraltar is served in a specific Gibraltar glass, whereas the cortado can be served in any type of glass or cup.

What You’ll Need to Make a Cortado

Making a cortado is not very difficult because there are only two ingredients required. You’ll need an espresso machine, however, in order to make the base of the drink and a milk frother to get the right consistency to your steamed milk.|

You’ll then want to pull a double shot of espresso and lightly foam two ounces of milk to mix into the drink, which can then be served in a metal or glass cup rather than a standard coffee or espresso cup.

How to Make a Cortado at Home

Are you ready to make one of these drinks for yourself at home? Well then, you’ll need to gather together your espresso beans and your milk to get started.
Grind your espresso beans to fine consistency and create your espresso puck in your espresso machine.

  1. Use your espresso machine to pull a double shot of espresso into a four-ounce cup.
  2. Steam four ounces of milk to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  3. Pour two ounces of milk in your double shot of espresso.
  4. Enjoy your cortado.

How to Drink a Cortado

Once you’ve brewed your perfect cortado it’s time to enjoy it and the best way to do that is to find a comfortable place to sit and relax with your cup, then, take a slow sip and then rest for a few moments (or longer) before you take the next. It’s all about slowing down and enjoying your beverage.

Summary and Conclusion

When it comes to having a nice beverage to start your day the cortado is a great way to go. You’ll find that it tastes great and the act of sitting and enjoying it slowly really does give you a great start.

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