June 07, 2019 2 min read
The cortado, despite its newfound popularity, remains one of the lesser-known ways to drink coffee. The cortado originated in Spain and its name comes from the Spanish verb cortar which means to cut. It refers to the recipe in which the coffee is ‘cut’ with milk. It’s a different way to enjoy an espresso that is a little milder.
Of Spanish origin, the cortado was created to reduce the acidity of espresso and add a little sweetness with the micro-foamed milk. For many coffee lovers, this drink is perfect because the proportions are just right; the espresso is softened but it remains the star of the show. This coffee is available in most coffee shops in Spain and now in many countries all over the world.
The recipe is very simple. First, the cortado is served in a small 6 or 7 oz. Gibraltar glass, with its iconic cuts and heavy bottom. A short double shot of espresso is pulled and poured into the glass, then microfoamed milk is added. The ratio is around 1/3 espresso and 2/3 milk but this can depend on the type of coffee and where you are in the world. Note that it is important that the foam remains rich and smooth to facilitate latte art. The microfoam should mix well with the espresso, and it shouldn’t be full of air bubbles (like a bubble bath).
Despite the simplicity of the recipe, you might be surprised by what you get when ordering one at places that aren’t specialized coffee shops. Because of its small size, many commercial chains tend to change the proportions to make this coffee larger. Be careful to check what kind of café you are in when trying to order a real cortado!
Here are a few simple steps for making a cortado:
Grind about 18 g of your favourite espresso blend.
Pull a short double espresso into a small Gibraltar glass.
Use ⅓ espresso and ⅔ microfoamed milk.
A cortado is also called a piccolo in Australia, or a Gibraltar because of the glass it is served in.
Although in Italy, a cappuccino is a morning drink (meant to be drunk before 11 a.m.), in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, the cortado is an afternoon drink.