Cortado vs Cappuccino: The Tale of Two Classic Drinks

Two of the most popular coffee drinks on the market are cortado and cappuccino. These two drinks may seem similar, but their distinct differences set them apart. The cortado, originating from Spain, is typically made with equal parts espresso and warm milk, creating a smooth, balanced flavor. On the other hand, the cappuccino, originating from Italy, is made with one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk, and one-third milk foam, delivering a bold, frothy taste.

While both drinks share similarities, such as being served in small cups, the choice between the two ultimately comes down to personal preference. In this article, we will examine the different characteristics of cortado vs cappuccino to help you decide which drink suits your taste buds.

What is Cortado?

What is Cortado

Cortado, also known as cafĂ© cortado, is a Spanish coffee drink made from espresso and a small amount of steamed milk. The drink is a popular choice in Spanish cafes and is rapidly gaining worldwide popularity. Cortado is the perfect drink for those who want the intense flavor of espresso but don’t want the strong bitterness of a shot.

Cortado is made by combining espresso with a small amount of steamed milk. The amount of milk in a cortado can vary, usually around 1-2 ounces. This creates a strong coffee drink with a creamy, velvety smooth texture. Many people find cortado a great way to enjoy espresso without the intense bitterness.

The flavor of a cortado can vary depending on the espresso used, and the amount of milk added. Generally, the drink will be sweet and creamy with a hint of nuttiness from the espresso. Many people also find that the flavor of the drink changes when they add a touch of sugar or cream.

Cortado is becoming increasingly popular in cafes across the world. This is because it is a great way to enjoy espresso without the intense bitterness of the shot. The creamy, velvety texture of the drink also makes it an enjoyable experience.

Cortado is an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy the intense flavor of espresso but don’t want the harsh bitterness. The creamy texture and sweet nuttiness make it a great drink for any time of day. Whether you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up or a late-night indulgence, a cortado will surely hit the spot.

What is Cappuccino?

What is Cappuccino

Cappuccino is a coffee-based beverage that has gained a large following among coffee lovers worldwide. It is made with espresso, hot milk, and steamed milk foam. It is usually served in a cup or mug and is sometimes topped with flavored syrups or cocoa powder.

The origin of cappuccino is not known for certain, but it is believed to have originated in Italy in the early 20th century. It was named for the Capuchin friars of Italy, whose habits resembled the color of the coffee drink. Cappuccino is now one of the most popular coffee drinks around the world, and it can be found in coffee shops, restaurants, and even grocery stores.

Cappuccino is made by combining espresso with hot milk, then topping it with a layer of steamed milk foam. The amount of espresso and milk used can vary depending on personal preference, but the general rule is to use one shot of espresso to two shots of milk. The foam should be approximately one-third of the beverage, and the finished drink should be served in a cup or mug with the foam on top.

The flavor of cappuccino can vary depending on the espresso beans used, the type of milk, and the amount of foam. Generally, it is a creamy and sweet drink, but the flavors can range from nutty and bittersweet to bright and fruity. Cappuccino is usually served with sugar or sweetener, but some coffee shops may offer flavored syrups or other additions.

Cortado and Cappuccino: The Similarities

The cortado and the cappuccino are coffee drinks made with similar base ingredients, such as espresso and steamed milk. While the cortado is a smaller drink, it still contains the same espresso as a cappuccino.

Cortado vs Cappuccino: The Differences

While both drinks have a base of espresso and steamed milk, some notable differences set them apart. For example, the cortado is a smaller beverage with a more intense coffee taste, while the cappuccino is larger and creamier with more foam. Another key difference is the type of milk used, with the cortado containing only steamed milk and the cappuccino featuring both steamed and foamed milk. Temperature is also a factor, with the cappuccino being hotter than the cortado.


Cortado, originating from Spain, means “cut” in Spanish, named so because it is made by “cutting” coffee with a splash of milk to reduce the espresso’s bitterness. On the other hand, the cappuccino has roots in Italy and is made with one or two shots of espresso, milk, and foam.

Cortado vs Cappuccino: Price

Cortado vs Cappuccino: Price

When comparing the prices of a Cortado and a Cappuccino, they are both similar in cost. Both include one shot of espresso and steamed milk, the only difference being the amount of milk used. Although it ultimately depends on the cafe or coffee shop, the prices tend to be around the same.


Cortado has a smooth and velvety texture, and it is denser in comparison to cappuccino. On the other hand, cappuccino has much airier and lighter milk foam, giving it a creamier texture.


A Cortado is a smaller drink with an even mix of espresso and milk, resulting in a bolder taste. The Cortado’s milk is not as frothy and sweet as the Cappuccino, making it a strong but balanced coffee experience. On the other hand, the Cappuccino is a sweeter and more flavorful drink, with a ratio of one-third espresso and two-thirds milk. The frothy and light texture makes it easy to drink but still packs the espresso punch.

When it comes to taste preference, the Cortado is for those who enjoy a stronger, less sweet coffee, while the Cappuccino is perfect for those who like a creamy and sweet latte-like drink.


While both contain magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins, their calorie count and milk texture differ. A cortado is made in a 1:1 ratio of espresso to steamed milk, while cappuccinos typically have more steamed milk and less espresso in a 1/3 ratio. A cortado has a less creamy texture than a cappuccino because of the lower milk quantity and lack of foam.

Generally, a four-ounce cortado has 15-30 calories, while a 12-ounce cappuccino can be 150-200 or more calories. In a professionally-made cappuccino, the ingredients can form three distinct layers, setting it apart from similar espresso drinks like Latte or Flat White.

Milk Foam

While a cappuccino is known for its super foamy texture that takes over about a third of the cup, a cortado is made with little to no foam. Because of this, the cappuccino is lighter in texture than the cortado, which has a more equal blend of espresso and steamed milk.


When it comes to size, the cortado and cappuccino are noticeably different. The cortado is typically smaller, usually only around 2-3 ounces in volume. This smaller portion size allows for a more concentrated and stronger coffee flavor, as the espresso-to-milk ratio is more balanced. On the other hand, cappuccinos are usually larger, with a volume of around 5-6 ounces, with two-thirds of the drink being milk and foam.

Which Type Of Coffee Has A Stronger, Cortado Or Cappuccino?

Which Type Of Coffee Has A Stronger Taste, Cortado Or Cappuccino?

When it comes to coffee, taste preferences can be subjective, which means what one person finds strong, another person might not. However, based on factual data, it can be stated that a cortado typically has a stronger taste compared to a cappuccino. This is because the cortado has equal parts espresso and milk, which means a lot of steamed milk does not dilute the coffee flavor. On the other hand, a cappuccino has more milk and foam, which tends to make the coffee flavor milder.

Which One Is More Commonly Served As A “To-Go” Option – Cortado Or Cappuccino?

When it comes to ordering a coffee to-go, both cortado and cappuccino are popular options. However, cappuccino may be more commonly served as a to-go option due to its larger size and availability at many coffee shops. While cortado is typically served in a smaller cup with less milk, making it easier to drink on the go, it may not be as widely available as cappuccino.

Additionally, the cappuccino’s popularity as a classic Italian coffee drink may make it a more recognizable choice for those looking to grab a quick coffee to sip on while they go about their day.

Which Is Better, Cortado or Cappuccino?

Which Is Better, Cortado or Cappuccino

That’s a matter of personal preference. Both drinks offer a unique and delicious coffee experience, and it’s up to the individual to decide which one best suits their individual taste. If you want a bolder, stronger experience, opt for the cortado. If you prefer something smoother and creamier, go for the cappuccino. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy your coffee experience!

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How Should Coffee Beans Be Ground For Each Type Of Coffee?

The size of the ground coffee beans is crucial in determining the strength and aroma of the cappuccino. A finer grind will deliver a more robust flavor profile, while a coarser grind will result in a milder taste. In summary, the coffee beans should be ground finely and consistently for a perfectly smooth and flavorful cappuccino.

When it comes to making the perfect cortado coffee, the way coffee beans are ground plays a crucial role. The ideal grind size for cortado coffee is medium-fine, neither coarse nor fine. This size balances the strong espresso shot and the steamed milk, creating a smooth and creamy cup. It is recommended to invest in a good quality burr grinder, which ensures an even and consistent grind. Also, it is advisable to grind the beans just before making the coffee to preserve the freshness and aroma. Overall, taking care of the grinding process is essential to achieve a satisfying and delicious cortado coffee.

Which Type Of Coffee Is More Popular Around The World?

If we’re talking sheer numbers, then cappuccino is the clear winner. Cappuccino is the second-most popular coffee drink in the world, after espresso. This is probably due to the fact that it’s relatively easy to make and can be customized with different syrups, flavors, and milks.

How Do I Make A Cortado?

To make a cortado, you’ll need a few things:

  • 4-ounce Gibraltar glass,
  • 2 shots of espresso,
  • 2-3 ounces of steamed milk
  • 16.5 grams of ground espresso.

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Gather 16.5 ounces of espresso coffee, grind it, and pour it into a Gibraltar glass.
  2. Extract two shots of espresso into the glass.
  3. While the espresso is extracting, steam 2-3 ounces of milk in a milk pitcher. Make sure there isn’t any foam. The milk should only be a little hot to the touch.
  4. Slowly pour the steamed milk into the espresso.
  5. Stir the mixture lightly with a spoon.
  6. Enjoy your cortado!

Making a cortado is a great way to enjoy espresso with a twist. It’s a simple and delicious drink that will impress any coffee lover. Try making a cortado today and enjoy the coffee experience!

How Do I Make A Cappuccino?

Making a cappuccino is easy, and it only requires a few ingredients. You can make a creamy and delicious cappuccino at home with just 2 tablespoons of finely ground dark roast coffee, 4 ounces of water, and 4 ounces of milk.

First, you’ll need two tablespoons of finely ground dark roast coffee. This is key because the bolder flavors will help you create a rich and rich cappuccino. Once you have your coffee grounds, you’ll need four ounces of water and milk.

The next step is to pull a double shot of espresso. This is essential to making the cappuccino since the espresso will provide the coffee flavor. You can use any type of espresso machine for this step or a stovetop espresso maker. You can also use a French press if you don’t have either.

Once your double shot is prepared, you must foam the milk. This is done using a steam wand or an electric milk frother. You can use a blender if you don’t have either of these. Whichever method you choose, you’ll want to heat and foam the milk until it reaches the desired consistency.

Finally, it’s time to put all the pieces together. Start by pouring your espresso into a cup, followed by the foamed milk. To finish, sprinkle some chocolate powder or cinnamon on top; your cappuccino is ready!

Making a cappuccino doesn’t have to be intimidating. You can enjoy a delicious cappuccino at home with a few simple ingredients. Just remember to use finely ground dark roast coffee, pull a double shot of espresso, and foam the milk until it reaches the desired consistency. With patience, you can make a perfect cappuccino in no time. Enjoy!

Cortado vs Cappuccino – FAQs

Does Starbucks Have Cortado?

It’s a shame that Starbucks doesn’t have cortado on their menu, but don’t worry, you can still order it! Starbucks doesn’t offer cortado officially in the US, but you can find it in other countries, like the UK. If you want a cortado at Starbucks, your best bet is to describe the drink to the barista. Ask for a double espresso shot with 2 ounces of steamed milk. If you want to add some flavor, you can customize it by adding vanilla syrup or hazelnut syrup and even whipped cream topping or mocha.

Is It Possible To Make A Vegan Version Of Either Cortado Or Cappuccino Drinks?

Is It Possible To Make A Vegan Version Of Either Cortado Or Cappuccino Drinks?

Making a vegan version of cortado or cappuccino drinks is possible with the right milk. While it can be challenging to know which non-dairy milk to choose, options like soy, almond, and oat milk can help replicate foam-topped espresso drinks at home.

For vegan purists, organic unsweetened soymilk or unsweetened Eden soy, made from organic soybeans and purified water, are excellent choices. Others prefer the slightly nutty flavor of almond milk or the creamy texture of oat milk. Plant-based cappuccino recipes can be made with homemade cashew, almond milk, and espresso.

Is A Cortado Just A Small Latte?

The answer is no. While both drinks contain espresso and steamed milk, they differ in size and ratio. A cortado is typically 3-4 ounces with a 1:1 ratio of espresso to steamed milk and little to no foam on top. On the other hand, a latte is much larger at around 10-12 ounces and is made with a 1:2 ratio of espresso to steamed milk, with a layer of creamy foam on top.

Additionally, a cortado has a much stronger coffee taste with a slight sweetness from the milk, while a latte has a more balanced flavor due to its higher milk content. So, while the two drinks may appear similar, they have distinct differences that make them unique in their own right.

To Wrap Up

Choosing between a cortado and a cappuccino comes down to personal preference. If you want a strong espresso flavor, a cortado is a way to go. A cappuccino is a way to go if you prefer a creamy, sweet coffee.

Ultimately, trying both is the best way to decide which one you like best. So next time you’re at your local coffee shop, why not try both and see which one you like best?

Do you have any questions about cortado vs cappuccino? Let us know in the comments below.


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