Cortado: Meaning and How to Make It at Home

The cortado drink is a popular coffee beverage that people are beginning to love. This drink consists of espresso mixed with a roughly equal amount of warm milk to reduce the acidity.

The word cortado is the past participle of the Spanish verb cortar, which means “to cut.” It was originally created in Spain and has gained popularity around Europe while gaining followers here in America as well!

Read on to find out more about this delicious beverage, how you can make it at home, and what benefits it may have for your health.


What is a Cortado?

A Cortado is a popular drink in Spain, Portugal, and other Latin American countries. It consists of a small amount (about half) of espresso, and then an equal portion (half again as much) of warm milk to reduce the acidity. The result is a delicious drink that has less caffeine than straight coffee or espresso but still provides you with plenty of energy! It also tastes great because it isn’t too acidic like regular coffee can be.

How to Make a Cortado: A Step-by-Step Guide

The key to making the perfect cortado is using high-quality, fresh espresso and slowly pouring in warm milk while stirring continuously. Here’s what you’ll need:

Freshly ground coffee beans (some people like it with decaf)
Freshly roasted coffee beans are best, but if you don’t have access to fresh, quality beans then it’s okay to use what you can find.

Milk (warm)
You may also want to add sugar or flavorings like a cocoa powder for an extra kick of sweetness and flavor! The key here is that the milk should be warmed up to the point where it’s hot but not boiling.

  1. Make an espresso shot

First of all, start by preparing the espresso shot. You may need to grind the beans at a coarse setting and then finely ground them for espresso. Next, add water into your coffee machine’s reservoir up until it reaches the number corresponding with how many shots you want to make (usually around two is fine). Pull your shot into the coffee cup (use a small one in this case).

  1. Steam the milk

Now that your shot of espresso is ready, it’s time to steam the milk. You can do this by using a steaming pitcher if you have one or use a French press instead. Place your steam tip under the surface of the milk and let out small bursts of air as you move up and down in circular motions (it should only take about 20 seconds or so to steam the milk).

  1. Pour milk and serve the cortado

Now you can pour the milk (carefully!) into your shot of espresso. If you feel creative, you can try some artwork. You will now have a delicious beverage to enjoy!


Health Benefits of Cortados

As mentioned earlier, this kind of drink is much less acidic than regular coffee or espresso.

They contain antioxidants called chlorogenic acid, which helps neutralize free radicals in your body while slowing down aging to improve overall health. These acids are especially helpful if you need help losing weight because they suppress appetite, speed up metabolism, and increase energy levels.

Thanks to caffeine, it can improve alertness and attention, which is especially helpful if you are tired or you are trying to stay awake. Cortados also contain potassium that can help prevent cramps and muscle pain.

This drink is also useful to fight depression and improve mood. There are also some reports that the drink can help prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Overall, drinkers feel more awake and energized with less of the jitters and crashes that are associated with caffeine.

Differences between Cortado and other espresso-based coffee drinks

Cortados are often confused with other espresso drinks. Here’s how they compare:

Espresso Con Panna VS Cortado

This drink is made by adding whipped cream to a double shot of espresso and then dusting it with cocoa powder or nutmeg, while the Cortado is made of equal parts of espresso and milk without adding extra whipped cream.

Cappuccino VS Cortado

A cappuccino contains much more foam than a cortado does because it’s prepared with steamed milk for extra volume. In contrast, only a thin layer of froth rests on top in a cortado drink.

Flat White VS Cortado

A flat white is prepared similarly to a cortado, but the main difference here is the size. The Cortado is smaller, so it provides a stronger taste.

Espresso Macchiato VS Cortado

The macchiato is quite similar because it’s made of espresso and milk, but there is one main difference. In the espresso macchiato, a “stain” of milk foam is added on top of the espresso, while in the cortado, milk is added in equal part to the espresso.


If you’re looking to try something new, give cortados a chance! They may become your favorite drink because they taste great but don’t deliver all the unhealthy effects of regular coffee or espresso. They aren’t too hard to make by yourself at home, so why not start experimenting today?

Read the guide on the types of coffee to know more about the characteristics of the coffee drinks and the brewing methods at home.

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