How to make a cortado?

March 01, 2024 2 min read

Comment faire un cortado? - Café Barista

The cortado, despite its increasing popularity in recent years, remains a rather unknown coffee to a large part of the population. Originating from Spain, the cortado finds its name in its original language where "cortado" means "cut". This designation comes from its recipe where one "cuts" an espresso with milk. It's a different way of consuming espresso coffee while softening its taste!

The history of the cortado

Of Spanish origin, the cortado emerged as a solution to reduce the acidity of an espresso while slightly sweetening it. This is why a small amount of milk microfoam was added to it. For many coffee enthusiasts, the blend offers ideal proportions, as the quantity of milk used perfectly softens the espresso without overshadowing it. This coffee is available in most cafes in Spain, but to date also in several other countries around the world.

Cortado recipe



  1. Grind approximately 18g of your favorite espresso blend.

  2. Pour a double short espresso into a 6 to 7 oz Gibraltar glass.

  3. Microfoam milk or plant-based milk.

  4. Use ⅓ espresso to ⅔ milk microfoam.

How to make a cortado

The recipe is quite simple. First, the cortado is a coffee served in a small floral or Gibraltar glass of 6 to 7 oz. An extraction of double short espresso is poured into it. To this dose, add the "microfoamed" milk or plant-based milk. The ratio should be ⅓ espresso to ⅔ milk, generally, although this may vary depending on the café you frequent or even your location in the world. Note that it is important for the foam to remain rich and creamy. This makes it easier to practice latte art. The microfoam should blend well with the espresso and not be filled with air bubbles (like bubble bath foam).

Despite the simplicity of this recipe, it is possible to be surprised by a cortado outside of specialty cafes. As it is a smaller coffee, more commercial chains tend to change the proportions to make it a larger size. Depending on the café you are in, you should therefore be careful when ordering a true cortado! Click here to learn more about the difference between cortado and flat white!

Did you know?

  • Also called Piccolo (in Australia), or Gibraltar, because of the glass in which it is served.

  • While cappuccino is only consumed in the morning (before 11 am) in Italy, cortado is enjoyed in the afternoon in Spain and Portugal as well as in the countries of Latin America.

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