Cortado vs Cappuccino: What’s the Difference and Which One Should You Choose?

Cortado vs cappuccino: Are you a coffee lover who enjoys exploring different types of caffeinated beverages? If so, then you’ve probably come across two popular options: cortado and cappuccino. While both of them are espresso-based drinks with steamed milk, they have distinct differences that set them apart. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the history, taste and texture, caffeine content, preparation methods, cost and popularity of each drink to help you decide which one is better for your palate. So grab a cup of joe and let’s get started!

What is a cortado and history?

A cortado is a type of coffee that originated in Spain and has gained popularity around the world. It’s made with espresso and steamed milk, but unlike a latte or cappuccino, it has equal parts of each.

The word “cortado” comes from the Spanish verb “cortar,” which means to cut. The name refers to how this drink is prepared – by cutting an espresso shot with an equal amount of steamed milk.

Cortados are often served in small glasses or cups that hold between 4-6 ounces of liquid. They’re meant to be sipped slowly, rather than chugged down like a shot.

While cortados have been popular in Spain for decades, they’ve only recently started gaining traction in other parts of the world. Many coffee shops now offer this unique beverage on their menus as an alternative to lattes and cappuccinos.

If you’re looking for a rich, creamy coffee drink without too much sweetness or foaminess, then a cortado might just be your new go-to order at your local café!

What is a cappuccinoand history?

A cappuccino is a popular Italian coffee drink made with espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. It’s usually served in a small cup and topped with a layer of foam. The name “cappuccino” comes from the Capuchin friars who wore brown hoods – the color of which matches the hue of this coffee when it’s mixed.

The origins of cappuccino can be traced back to 17th century Italy when coffee houses started becoming popular. At that time, people enjoyed drinking their espresso with hot milk or cream on top. However, it was not until the early 20th century that cappuccino became popular as we know it today.

Cappuccinos were introduced to America in the late 1980s and quickly became a staple at many cafes across the country. Today, you can find variations of this classic beverage all over the world – some people like their cappuccinos flavored with syrups like vanilla or caramel while others prefer them plain.

Despite its long history, one thing remains constant about cappuccinos: they’re delicious! With just one sip you’ll understand why this classic drink has stood the test of time – and why so many people still consider it their favorite way to enjoy espresso-based beverages.

Similarities between cortado and cappuccino

Cortado vs Cappuccino
Cortado vs Cappuccino

Cortado and cappuccino are two popular coffee beverages that are loved by many coffee enthusiasts. Although they have different origins and preparation methods, there are some similarities between them that make them comparable.

Firstly, both cortado and cappuccino consist of espresso shots as their base. Cortado typically has one shot of espresso while cappuccino usually has two. This means that both drinks pack a strong punch of caffeine, making them great options for those who need an energy boost.

Secondly, both cortado and cappuccino contain steamed milk. In the case of cortado, the milk is lightly steamed to create a velvety texture but not frothy like in a latte or cappuccino. On the other hand, in a traditional Italian-style cappuccino equal amounts of espresso shots with hot milk – which is then topped with foam.

Both drinks are often served in small cups to preserve their flavors better than larger cups would allow for it. Additionally, these specialty drinks also enjoy popularity among connoisseurs who appreciate their unique characteristics.

Despite these similarities though both drinks have distinct differences worth exploring further before deciding on your preferred beverage choice when you visit your local coffee shop!

Cortado vs cappuccino: Taste and texture

When it comes to taste and texture, cortado and cappuccino couldn’t be more different. A cortado is known for its smooth, velvety texture with a subtle sweetness that balances the bold flavor of espresso. The steamed milk in a cortado creates a creamy mouthfeel without overpowering the coffee’s robust flavor.

On the other hand, cappuccinos are known for their frothy texture and delicate balance between espresso and foam. The foam sits atop the shot of espresso while still allowing some of the coffee’s bitterness to shine through. Cappuccinos often have a stronger coffee flavor than cortados due to their equal parts ratio of steamed milk.

Both drinks are delicious in their own way, but which one you prefer depends on your personal preferences. If you enjoy a strong coffee flavor with just enough creaminess to balance it out, then try ordering a cortado next time you’re at your local café. But if you prefer more froth with equal parts steamed milk and espresso, then go for a classic cappuccino.

Ultimately, both drinks offer unique tastes and textures that can satisfy any caffeine lover’s craving – so why not try them both?

Cortado vs cappuccino: Caffeine content

When it comes to caffeine content, the cortado and cappuccino differ quite significantly. While both contain espresso as their base, a cortado has less milk than a cappuccino, which means it also contains less caffeine.

A typical cortado is made with one or two shots of espresso and steamed milk in equal parts. This results in about 50-80mg of caffeine per serving depending on how many shots were used. The ratio of coffee to milk makes for a strong yet smooth drink that’s perfect for those who want to enjoy the taste of coffee without getting too wired.

On the other hand, a traditional cappuccino is usually made with one shot of espresso, equal parts steamed milk and foam. This gives you around 70-140mg of caffeine per cup depending on how much espresso was used. The foam adds a creamy texture to the drink while balancing out its strength.

It’s important to note that these are rough estimates since every cafe can make their drinks differently based on customer preferences or brewing techniques. However, if you’re looking for something with more kick then go for a cappuccino over a cortado!

Cortado vs cappuccino: Preparation

Preparing a cortado requires only two simple steps. First, a shot of espresso is pulled into a small glass or ceramic cup. Next, an equal amount of steamed milk is added to the espresso shot. The ratio of espresso to milk in a cortado is typically 1:1.

On the other hand, preparing a cappuccino involves three distinct layers – one-third each of espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk. First, pull a shot of espresso into your cup or mug then add the steamed milk over it followed by top layering with rich foam created by frothing cold whole milk.

The primary difference between these two drinks during preparation lies in the proportion and composition ratios for each drink that makes them unique from one another but still delicious on their own way!

Cortado vs cappuccino: Cost and Popularity

When it comes to cost and popularity, both cortado and cappuccino differ in various ways. The price of each drink can vary depending on the location, quality of ingredients used, and coffee shop reputation. Generally speaking, a cortado tends to be cheaper than a cappuccino due to its smaller size.

In terms of popularity, the cappuccino is often more well-known among coffee drinkers worldwide. It has been around for much longer than the cortado and is easily recognizable due to its frothy milk layer on top.

However, the cortado has gained popularity in recent years as people seek out more unique espresso-based drinks that are not as widely available in chain coffee shops. Many independent cafes specifically offer cortados on their menus as a specialty item.

While the cappuccino may be more commonly ordered at most cafes globally, the rise of specialty coffee shops has allowed for greater appreciation of lesser-known drinks such as the cortado.

Serving sizes and presentation of cortado and cappuccino

When it comes to serving sizes, cortado and cappuccino have distinct differences. A cortado is typically served in a small glass that holds around four ounces of liquid. The smaller size allows for the perfect balance between espresso and steamed milk without diluting the flavors.

On the other hand, a cappuccino is usually served in a larger cup that can hold up to six ounces of liquid. This is because of its three-part composition: equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk.

In terms of presentation, both drinks are known for their beautiful layering effect. A cortado often has a darker espresso layer at the bottom with a thin layer of steamed milk on top. Meanwhile, a cappuccino has an even more noticeable layering effect with one-third espresso at the bottom followed by one-third steamed milk in the middle and finally topped with one-third frothed milk.

Both drinks also come with latte art options if you want to add some extra flair to your drink’s appearance!

Cortado vs cappuccino: Which one is better?

When it comes to choosing between a cortado and a cappuccino, there is no clear winner as both have their own unique characteristics. The decision boils down to personal preference.

If you are looking for a drink that has more milk than coffee, then the cappuccino might be your go-to choice. It consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foam on top which makes it creamier and sweeter in taste.

On the other hand, if you prefer a stronger coffee flavor with just a hint of milkiness, then the cortado is what you should try. It’s made up of equal parts espresso and warm milk which gives it an intense but smooth taste.

The serving size also plays an important role in deciding between these two drinks. A cappuccino usually comes in larger cups (8-12 oz) while Cortados come in smaller portions (4-6 oz).

Ultimately, choosing between these two types of drinks depends on individual preferences. Both are delicious options for coffee lovers and worth trying at least once!

Where to find the best cortado and cappuccino?

Looking for the best cortado or cappuccino? You’re in luck! These two classic coffee drinks can be found at most cafes and coffee shops around the world. However, to find the absolute best ones, you may need to do a little research.

Start by asking your friends and family if they have any recommendations for a great place to grab a cortado or cappuccino. Local coffee enthusiasts may have some insider tips on where to go.

You can also search online for reviews of cafes and coffee shops in your area that specialize in quality espresso-based beverages. Look for places with high ratings and positive feedback from customers regarding their cortados and cappuccinos.

When visiting these establishments, pay attention to how the baristas prepare your drink. A well-made cortado should have an equal balance of espresso and steamed milk, while a good cappuccino should feature creamy frothed milk with just enough foam on top.

Don’t be afraid to try out new spots until you find one that perfectly suits your taste preferences. And remember, even if you don’t find the “best” cortado or cappuccino right away, there’s always room for experimentation as tastes vary greatly among individuals.

How to Choose Coffee Bean for cortado and cappuccino?

When it comes to choosing the right coffee bean for your cortado or cappuccino, there are a few things you should consider. First and foremost is the roast level of the beans. Generally, medium roasts work best as they provide a balance between the acidity and sweetness of the coffee.

Next, think about where the beans were grown. Coffee from different regions will have unique flavor profiles that can enhance or detract from your drink. For example, beans from South America tend to be nutty and chocolatey while those from Africa are more fruity and floral.

Another important factor is freshness. Look for beans that have been recently roasted as this will ensure maximum flavor and aroma in your cup.

It’s worth considering whether you want to use single-origin or blended beans. Single-origin coffees come from one specific region while blends combine beans from multiple regions to create a unique flavor profile.

Ultimately, choosing the right coffee bean for your cortado or cappuccino comes down to personal preference – experiment with different roasts, origins, and blends until you find what works best for you!

How to make a cortado at home?

Making a cortado at home can be simple, easy and quick. You only need a few ingredients and tools to get started. First, you’ll need espresso coffee beans, as they are the base of any cortado recipe. Grind your coffee beans finely to extract more flavor from them.

Next up is milk; it’s crucial that you use whole milk for making the ideal creamy texture of a cortado. You will heat the milk on low heat until it reaches approximately 150F degrees.

Meanwhile, make your espresso shot using an espresso machine or moka pot if you don’t have one yet! Pour the hot espresso into your cup and add sugar if desired.

Once your milk has reached its temperature sweet spot, pour it slowly over your freshly brewed espresso shot . The ratio should be around equal parts of each ingredient – half espresso and half warm textured whole milk!

Now simply enjoy sipping on this delicious drink in the comfort of your own home!

How to make a cappuccino at home?

Making a cappuccino at home can seem like a daunting task for some, but with the right tools and techniques, it is actually quite simple.

Firstly, you will need an espresso machine or a stovetop espresso maker to make your shot of espresso. This forms the base of your cappuccino. Next, froth milk in a separate container using either a steam wand on your espresso machine or by heating the milk in a pan and using an electric frother.

Once you have your shot of espresso and frothed milk ready, it’s time to assemble your cappuccino. Pour the shot into your desired cup and then pour in the frothed milk on top until the cup is almost full.

To finish off your cappuccino, add a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon on top for extra flavor and presentation. And that’s it! Your homemade cappuccino is ready to be enjoyed.

Experimenting with different types of coffee beans and ratios can also help personalize your homemade cappuccinos according to taste preferences. With practice, making delicious cappuccinos at home can become second nature.

Popular variations of cortado and cappuccino

Cortado and cappuccino are both classic coffee drinks, but there are many variations that add a unique twist to these traditional beverages. One popular variation of cortado is the Gibraltar, which originated in San Francisco. It has the same ratio of espresso to milk as a typical cortado but is served in a thicker glass tumbler.

Another variation of cortado is the Cortadito, which hails from Cuba. This drink adds sweetened condensed milk to the mix for added sweetness and creaminess.

As for cappuccino, one twist on this classic drink is the Viennese cappuccino. It’s made by adding whipped cream instead of foam on top and sprinkling it with chocolate powder or grated chocolate.

For those looking for something even sweeter than traditional cappuccino, there’s also the Mochaccino – a combination of espresso, steamed milk, cocoa powder or chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream.

These variations offer coffee lovers new ways to enjoy their favorite drinks while still sticking to their tried-and-true base ingredients.


What is stronger cortado or cappuccino?

When it comes to comparing cortado and cappuccino, the answer lies in understanding their respective characteristics. A cortado is a Spanish-originated espresso beverage made by pouring an equal amount of steamed milk into a shot of espresso. It has a bold flavor with a smooth texture that accentuates the coffee’s natural taste while balancing out its bitterness. On the other hand, cappuccino is an Italian drink consisting of one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk, and one-third frothed milk on top creating layers.

With its frothy texture and creamy taste, cappuccinos are known for their latte art potential and typically offer less-intense coffee flavors compared to cortados. Ultimately, whether you prefer the stronger flavor profile of cortado or the creamier texture of cappuccino depends on personal preference – making both options equally popular among coffee enthusiasts worldwide.

Does milk or coffee go first in cortado?

The preparation of cortado, a popular espresso-based beverage, requires an equal amount of steamed milk and espresso. However, there is some debate surrounding the order in which the two ingredients should be added to achieve the perfect balance of flavor and texture.

While some argue that adding the milk before the espresso helps to create a smoother taste and reduce bitterness, others believe that pouring the espresso first allows for better mixing with the milk and enhances its sweetness. This dilemma is not unique to cortado but also applies to cappuccino-making techniques. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference as both methods have their merits and can produce a delicious cup of coffee worthy of any coffee connoisseur’s palate.

Does a cortado need sugar?

When it comes to the question of whether a cortado needs sugar, there is no definitive answer. Some coffee enthusiasts believe that the natural sweetness of high-quality espresso and steamed milk is enough to satisfy the palate. However, others argue that adding a bit of sugar can enhance the flavor profile and create a more well-rounded taste experience. Ultimately, it all depends on personal preference and individual taste buds.

The best way to determine whether or not you should add sugar to your cortado is by experimenting with different amounts until you find the perfect balance for your own unique palate. So go ahead, give it a try – does a cortado need sugar? Only your taste buds can decide!

How much milk do you froth for cortado?

When it comes to creating the perfect cortado, one of the most important factors to consider is how much milk you should froth. The ideal amount can vary depending on a number of different factors, including the type of espresso beans being used and personal preference. Generally speaking, though, a good rule of thumb is to aim for about 2 ounces (or roughly 60 milliliters) of steamed and frothed milk per shot of espresso.

This will give you just enough creamy richness to balance out the strong coffee flavor without overwhelming it entirely. Of course, if you prefer your cortados with more or less foam than this baseline amount provides, feel free to adjust accordingly – after all, there’s no “right” way to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee!

Why is cortado so good?

The answer lies in its perfect balance between espresso and steamed milk. The ratio of one part espresso to two parts milk results in a rich, velvety texture that highlights the full flavor of the coffee beans while also providing a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Unlike traditional lattes or cappuccinos, cortados do not have an overpowering amount of milk, allowing the true essence of the coffee to shine through.

This makes it a great option for those who want something stronger than a latte but smoother than straight espresso. Additionally, because it is served in smaller portions compared to other drinks, each sip provides a concentrated burst of bold flavors that are sure to satisfy any coffee lover’s cravings. In short, cortados are simply delicious due to their perfectly balanced combination of espresso and steamed milk, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high-quality caffeine fix without sacrificing taste or texture.


In summary, both cortado and cappuccino are delicious coffee beverages that have their unique characteristics. While the cortado offers a balanced taste with creamy texture and lower caffeine content, the cappuccino provides a more robust flavor with frothy milk and higher caffeine levels.

Ultimately, choosing between these two drinks comes down to personal preference. Some may prefer the simplicity of a cortado while others may enjoy the complexity of a cappuccino.

No matter which one you choose, make sure to use high-quality beans and follow proper preparation techniques for an exceptional cup of joe. And don’t forget to try out some popular variations such as flavored syrups or alternative milk options!

So next time you’re at your favorite coffee shop or brewing at home, give both cortado and cappuccino a try and decide for yourself which one is better suited to your taste buds!


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