WHAT IS A CORTADO: BEST OF BOTH WORLDS?
When you’re a coffee-lover, we assume you are since you’re here, you drink a lot of coffee and thus also a lot of caffeine. Consuming caffeine regularly can be a slumber and it’s always nice to change that unless you’re addicted ;)!
You’ve probably heard of it before: the cortado. Have you ever tried one or did you hesitate because you didn’t know what it exactly was?
You can read this post on Golden Sin to learn a thing or two about the cortado, we won’t keep it short ;).
WHAT IS A CORTADO COFFEE?
A cortado is a drink similar to a latte, but in a smaller size (typically about 4-6 oz.) and with less milk. It’s a mixture of coffee and warm milk.
Normally, cortados consist of half espresso and half warm milk. Of course, there can be a little bit of variation in the ratios here and there.
The milk adds taste but also reduces the acidity of the espresso. We all know if you don’t add milk to it, your body might give you a signal or two.
ORIGINS OF CORTADO COFFEE?
There’s a lot of debate about the origins of the cortado. The one says it comes from Spain, the others say it comes from Cuba. One thing is for sure, it doesn’t come from Italy, let’s say heaven of espresso coffee.
Cortado is derived from the Spanish verb “cortar” and means “to cut”. This means that the coffee can be cut into 2 pieces.
So where did this term even come from? In Spanish, “cortar” means “to cut.” Does that mean this drink is just an espresso cut with milk? Probably not.
The Spanish translation of a cortado also indicates that the drink is something you can “cut,” or break, into two pieces. They cut their coffee with water and milk or cream
. Mostly it goes back to Spain because we can trace it back to a certain shop in Madrid.
The cortado doesn’t have a lot of foam, that’s because of the combination of milk and espresso. This results in a strong espresso with nice and creamy milk.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CHAINS AND SPECIALTY COFFEE SHOPS?
It’s important to mention that there can be a lot of differences between coffee drinks between large coffee chains, like Starbucks and so on. The most important difference is the amount of milk added to the drinks and portion you’ll get. When you’re around in Italy or a specialty coffee shop, you’ll probably receive a smaller cup. So be warned!
BEST COFFEE BEANS FOR CORTADO?
We all know this is a no-brainer. You can’t get quality in your cup if you don’t put quality in it, or there’s less chance of succeeding in that.
Since cortado is an espresso-based coffee drink, you’ll go the darker roast and thus a nuttier, smokier taste. See these espresso beans for some inspiration. You’ll need coffees with a heavy body because they’ll get into contact with milk, so fruitier tastes and lighter roasts won’t taste very great.
Remember to try different combinations but stay in the lane of the darker roasts and nuttier and darker tastes.
HOW TO MAKE A CORTADO COFFEE AT HOME?
Here we’ll cover how you make a great cortado at home.
You’ll need an espresso machine. Cortado is an espresso-based drink so an espresso machine will come in handy. You’ll also need your milk ready so you can add it afterward. Mostly this feature will be available in your espresso machine, if not, you can buy a milk frother or heat it in your microwave.
1. For a great experience, grind your coffee beans (freshness)
2. use the portafilter of your espresso machine or add a coffee filter if needed
3. Extract 2 shots of espresso
4. Froth or steam your milk (whole milk is advised for great results) (a microwave is also an option)
5. Pour your heated milk on your espresso. Normally, the ratio is 1:1, equal to each other.
The most important thing about the cortado is the balance between espresso and milk. You can tweak the process afterward and sweeten things up as you would like.
WHAT SWEETENERS CAN YOU ADD TO YOUR CORTADO?
You can use a lot to sweeten things up as with most coffees. Mostly you’ll use sugar, chocolate, syrup, honey, whipped cream, and so on. If you opt for adding cream or sugar, please consider that if you’ve used whole milk as a base, normally the taste will be sweet. You can ruin your cortado if you don’t pay attention to this!
HOW TO DRINK A CORTADO?
Normally, a cortado coffee is meant for slow consumption, as with most coffees. Espressos are meant to drink faster because of the small shots (surely in Italy). A cortado is about slowing down.
Cortados contain a lot of caffeine and are mostly served with a bit of water so you can balance things after consumption.
So, now you know a thing or two about the famous “cortado”. You don’t have to buy one in a coffee shop but can make one perfectly at home. Popular chains are known
IS A CORTADO THE SAME AS A FLAT WHITE?
Flat white is not the same as cortado – it’s a larger version of a cappuccino. A flat white has micro-foam just like in a latte or cappuccino but it uses even more steamed milk so the drink is about twice as big as a cortado. The Flat whites are presented in a better way because of the possibilities with a latte.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CORTADO AND A LATTE?
A cortado is made the same way as a latte except it uses even finer ground coffee and less milk. It’s therefore slightly stronger and has a bit more bitter taste to it. A cortado has more caffeine compared to its latte counterparts (because of the steamed milk).
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CORTADO AND A MACHIATTO?
A macchiato is a little bit more of an effort as it uses a larger cup and the drink itself (an espresso) is made differently. A macchiato also doesn’t use micro-foam or any other creamers – instead, baristas pour hot water into the espresso and then mix it with milk afterward. That’s why a macchiato has more foam than a cortado (and much less foam than a cappuccino).
A cortado is truly the best of both worlds, however – it’s got the creamy texture of a latte and some extra bitterness that makes it feel more like an espresso.
DO CORTADOS HAVE FOAM?
Yep, cortados have micro-foam just like any other espresso-based beverage.
Enjoy your coffee!