This post will look at the differences and similarities between a Cortado vs Macchiato. These popular coffee drinks are often confused with each other but are different and delicious!
So how is a macchiato different from a cortado?
Both macchiatos and cortados are small coffee drinks that are made by combining espresso and milk. The amounts of milk and coffee differ as well as the way the two beverages are prepared.
The Amount of Coffee
A macchiato has a single shot of espresso and a cortado is made with a double shot of espresso. This makes the caffeine content and strength of the two drinks very different.
When making a macchiato, the espresso is topped with foamed milk. A cortado has an equal amount of steamed milk to espresso. So the amount of milk is different, as well as the way the milk is prepared.
These two drinks also have physical differences. Because of the difference in the amount of coffee and milk in each drink the size of the drinks are different. A Macchiato is 1.5 oz and a Cortado is 4 oz. Due to the larger amount of milk in a cortado, the color and temperature of the drink is different to a macchiato.
Want to learn more about different coffees? Check out my Iced Coffee vs Iced Latte post!
How to make a Cortado (KAW-TAA-DOE)
A cortado is a double shot of espresso combined with an equal amount of steamed milk. Cortados are “cut” with milk, which means that the flavor of the espresso will not be as robust. This makes a cortado perfect to calm down an acidic coffee bean. Or you can rather opt to highlight the flavor of the creamy milk by choosing a sweeter and/or nuttier espresso.
- Brew the espresso. A cortado is traditionally made with two shots of espresso so prepare a double shot of your preferred espresso.
- Steam the milk. Preferably you don't want too many bubbles in a cortado, so be sure to immerse your steaming wand completely into the milk.
- Pour the shot. Gently pour the double shot of espresso into your serving glass or mug.
- Top with milk. Pour the two shots of steamed milk over the espresso. Be gentle when pouring in the milk to best avoid disrupting the crema from the espresso. Some of the milk will naturally rise to the surface, and the rest will be swirled throughout the drink.
The History of the Cortado
A cortado is an espresso coffee drink that first appeared in Spain in the early 1960s. The word cortado comes from the Spanish verb cortar which translates to “to cut”. The milk in the cortado is meant to cut through the coffee giving it a sweeter and lighter taste.
What is The Difference Between A Cortado & A Cortadito?
A cortadito is a hot Cuban beverage inspired by the traditional cortado recipe. In a cortadito, the milk is replaced with sweetened condensed milk. The condensed milk in the drink is steamed and added to the espresso in the same way as in a cortado.
How to make a Macchiato (MAH-KEY-AH-TOE)
A macchiato is defined as a shot of espresso topped with a small amount of milk foam. You taste the full flavor of the coffee in this drink, so choose coffee beans that you really enjoy the flavor of.
Traditionally, Macchiatos are associated with rich, dark roasts that are full of deep flavor. But if you prefer a light roast it will equally delicious.
Macchiatos only have a small amount of milk added to them. This is where the name for this coffee comes from. Macchiato translates to “stained,” as if you're staining the top of your espresso with a little bit of milk.
- Brew the espresso. Traditionally macchiatos are made with a single shot. If you want to enjoy a double, then just add a little more milk foam at the end.
- Heat the milk. You can use any method you prefer best. Just be sure to not let the milk reach boiling.
- Froth the milk. Milk foam is created when air bubbles are worked into warm milk. There are many different methods to achieve this and you can use any one you prefer best to foam your milk.
- Pour the espresso. Gently pour your espresso shot directly into your serving glass or mug.
- Add a spoonful of milk. Scoop up some fluffy milk foam and float it gently on the surface of your drink.
Many of our favorite popular coffee drinks originate in Italy. And this is true for the delicious macchiato. This well-loved drink is now a common order at most coffee shops across the globe. In fact, the United States and the United Kingdom are two of the most devout macchiato drinkers.