Cortado Vs Macchiato: Which is the Better Coffee Drink?

What’s the difference between cortado vs macchiato? Both coffee drinks are espresso-based, but they have different milk ratios to coffee. In this blog post, we’ll break down the key differences between these two drinks so that you can make an informed decision and order either drink like a pro. Let’s take a closer look at each glass.

What is a Cortado

A Cortado coffee is a type of espresso drink that originated in Spain. It is made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk (instead of normal milk, sweetened condensed milk is used as a replacement), resulting in a less sweet and creamy drink than a latte. The proportion of espresso to milk can vary depending on the barista, but a typical Cortado contains about 2 ounces of espresso and 2 ounces of steamed milk. The drink is usually served in a small tumbler or mug and can be enjoyed plain or topped with a dusting of cocoa powder.

The word “cortado” comes from Spanish. Unlike the Macchiato, there aren’t many names for Cortado variations; the verb “cortar” means “to cut.” This refers to how the espresso is cut with milk, resulting in a less strong drink. They are becoming increasingly popular in the United States as more people seek alternatives to traditional American drip coffee. Whether you’re looking for a new morning coffee or an afternoon pick-me-up, a cortado may be just what you need.

It’s important to note that, like other caffès made in Spain, a traditional cortado usually does not have frothed milk.

Making a Cortado

How To Make A Cortado
How to Make a Cortado
To make your cortado at home, you will need the following:
  • Two shots espresso
  • 2-3 ounces of steamed milk
First, brew your espresso using an espresso machine or stovetop espresso maker. If you are using an espresso machine, make sure to use a dark roast coffee bean and grind the beans freshly for the best results.

Next, steam your milk using a steamer or stovetop method. Make sure there isn’t any foam. If you use a steamer, ensure not to overheat the milk, or it will scald. Any other small coffee mug will work if you don’t have a cortado glass.

Once the milk is steamed, add it to the espresso and top it with a small amount of foam. Serve immediately.
P/s: The most important thing to remember when making a Cortado is to steam the milk. This is done by heating the milk without creating any foam. This will give the milk a shiny appearance and a smooth texture.

What is a Macchiato

A macchiato coffee is a type of espresso made with a small amount of steamed milk and topped with foam. The word “macchiato” means “marked” in Italian, and the coffee gets its name from the fact that the milk leaves a mark on the surface of the espresso. While a traditional macchiato might contain espresso and milk, many modern variations include flavored syrups, whipped cream, or other toppings.

Espresso Macchiato coffees are usually served in small glasses or cups, and they can be enjoyed as an afternoon pick-me-up or an after-dinner dessert coffee.

Making a Traditional Espresso Macchiato

How To Make A Macchiato
How to Make a Macchiato

Now, let’s learn how to make Macchiato at home, you will need the following:


  1. First, prepare a demitasse ceramic cup.
  2. Next, pull two shots of espresso. If possible, use an espresso machine. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can make stovetop espresso or use a Moka pot.
  3. Make milk foam by aerating the milk with a steam wand or frothing it with a hand frother. Carefully pour the espresso shot into the cup.
  4. Finish by adding more foam on top and serve immediately. If you find espresso too acidic, try adding a foamed or steamed milk dollop to reduce the coffee’s bitterness.

What are the Similarities Between Cortado and Macchiato?

Now that we’ve looked at the defined Cortado and Macchiato, let’s take a moment to consider some of the similarities between these two types of coffee.

  • They are made with espresso as their base. This gives both drinks a strong, bold flavor that will wake you up and get you going. However, The cortado has a more balanced 1:1 ratio of coffee to milk, making it less intense and more like a soft, creamy coffee drink.
  • Both coffees are also usually served in small cups or glasses. This allows you to savor the flavor of the coffee and appreciate its complex coffee taste.
  • And Macchiato or Cortado is a two-shot of espresso.

What are the Differences Between Cortado and Macchiato?

The Differences Between Macchiato And Cortado
The Differences Between Macchiato and Cortado

While both coffees have some similarities, there are also some key differences that you should be aware of.

  • Both coffees are two types of coffee made with espresso and milk, but the main difference is the proportion of milk to espresso. A cortado coffee is made with equal parts milk and espresso, while a macchiato coffee is made with less milk and more espresso. This gives the Cortado a smoother flavor, meanwhile, macchiato coffee is more intense and bold.
  • Foamed Vs. Steamed Milk. Macchiato uses foamed milk, while cortado uses steamed milk, so the texture of each drink is different. Cortados are smooth and rich, while macchiatos are creamy and fluffy.
  • Toppings. Cortados are typically served plain, without any additional toppings or flavorings. Macchiatos, on the other hand, often include flavored syrups, whipped cream, or other toppings.
  • Next is the way that they are served. Cortado coffee is typically served in small cups, while the rest is usually served in small glasses or cups. This allows you to enjoy the full flavor of the coffee without having to worry about the milk overpowering the espresso. Macchiato is served in a clear glass to see the different layers of espresso and milk, while Cortado is served in a small cup without layering.
  • In a Cortado, the milk is added first, and then the espresso is poured over the top, whereas in a Macchiato, the espresso is added first, and then the milk is poured over the top. As a result, a Cortado is generally much sweeter than a Macchiato.
  • Another important thing is the origin of these two drinks. The cortado comes from Spain, the rest come of Italian descent.
  • Last but not least, Cortados are typically enjoyed immediately after brewing, while Macchiato can be enjoyed as an afternoon pick-me-up or an after-dinner dessert coffee.

So, now that you know the differences between Cortado and Macchiato, which one will you choose? Will you go for the smoother Cortado or the bolder Macchiato?

The difference in Milk Volume Between Macchiato vs Cortado

Macchiatos typically have one or two shots of espresso and a dollop of frothed milk, while cortados have two shots of espresso and twice as much steamed milk. This makes for a smoother taste in the cortado, as the milk is steamed instead of frothed.

The difference in Taste and Flavor

The Macchiato is prepared with a small amount of steamed milk and foam, allowing the espresso flavor to be the dominant component. On the other hand, the Cortado is made with equal amounts of espresso and steamed milk, making it a rounder, less strong drink. As such, the Macchiato will have a bolder espresso taste, whereas the Cortado will be more balanced in flavor.

Cortado vs. Macchiato: Which is Healthier?

Both drinks are relatively similar in terms of nutrition, but Macchiato has slightly more caffeine due to the extra shot of espresso. Additionally, Matcha is often used in Macchiato for added health benefits, as it is packed with antioxidants. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which drink is healthier for them.

How Does The Flavor Of A Cortado Compare To That Of A Macchiato?

The flavor of a cortado and a macchiato can be quite different. A cortado is a well-balanced drink, as it’s made with equal parts espresso and milk that is usually steamed, not foam. The resulting flavor is smooth and creamy with a hint of coffee. On the other hand, a macchiato has a more pronounced coffee taste.

So if you’re looking for something strong and espresso-forward, a macchiato might be for you. However, if you prefer something with a bit more of a creamy balance, then a cortado could be the better option.

Variations of the Macchiato and Cortado

While both of these coffees are made with espresso and milk, there are a few variations of each drink that you might want to try.

Macchiato Variations

  • Caramel Macchiato

A Caramel Macchiato is a popular caffè drink that combines the sweetness of caramel with the rich coffee flavor of espresso. The key to making a perfect Caramel Macchiato is to create a smooth and creamy caramel sauce. Start by heating sugar in a pan over medium heat until it melts. Then, add heavy cream and stir until the mixture is smooth. Once the caramel sauce is ready, begin preparing your espresso. For best results, use dark roast coffee and freshly ground beans. Pull a double shot of espresso and pour it into a cup. Add the caramel sauce, followed by steamed milk. Top off with a layer of foam, and enjoy. You can easily make this delicious drink home with just a few simple ingredients.

  • Long Macchiato

A Long Macchiato is made by espresso shots combined with an equal amount of steamed milk, resulting in a drink around double the size of a regular Macchiato. The espresso macchiato can also be made using hot water instead of steamed milk; however, this will result in a less creamy and bitter drink.

To make a Long Macchiato, start by preparing two espresso shots. Then, steam some milk using an espresso machine or a stovetop kettle. Once the milk is steamed, combine it with the espresso shots in a tall glass. If desired, you can top off the drink with a layer of foam or some chocolate shavings.

  • Mocha Macchiato

It is made by brewing espresso, then adding chocolate syrup or powder to the bottom of the cup. Next, steamed milk is added on top, followed by a layer of foamed milk. The result is a rich and creamy beverage with a distinct chocolate flavor. For an extra touch of sweetness, you can top your Mocha Macchiato with whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings.

  • Vanilla Macchiato

To start, brew a pot of strong coffee using your preferred method. Once the coffee is finished, add a generous amount of vanilla extract to taste. You can also add a splash of milk or cream for a richer flavor. If you want your drink to be extra frothy, use an immersion blender to blend the ingredients until smooth.

  • Latte Macchiato

To make a Latte Macchiato, first, create the espresso. Then, pour the milk into a cup and microwave it for about forty seconds. The next step is to froth the milk using an electric frother. Finally, pour the espresso into the milk and top it with foam. A Latte Macchiato can be served cold or hot.

  • Iced Macchiato

The key to making an excellent iced macchiato is to start with cold milk. Then, add espresso and syrup to taste. Finally, pour the milk over the ice and enjoy! You can also add a dollop of whipped cream on top for an extra special treat. The espresso macchiato is a great way to cool down on a hot summer day. Try it today!

Cortado Variations

  • Cortado con Leche

Cortado con Leche is a delicious Spanish coffee drink made by adding steamed milk to espresso. The milk cuts the bitterness of the coffee and gives the drink a rich, creamy texture. Cortado con Leche can be enjoyed at any time of day, but it is especially popular in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me-up.

  • Cortado Americano

A Cortado Americano is a coffee drink popular in many parts of the world. It is made by adding espresso to a cup of hot water. The coffee is then stirred and served with milk on the side. To make a Cortado Americano, you will need:

  • One shot of espresso.
  • One cup of hot water.
  • Milk (optional).

Start by brewing a shot of espresso. While the coffee is brewing, heat a cup of water. Once the espresso is ready, add it to the hot water and stir. If you like, you can add milk to the coffee. However, many people prefer to drink it without milk and enjoy it!.

More coffee comparisons:


Q. Cortados Vs Macchiatos, Which is stronger?

A. Macchiato is stronger. Cortado has more milk and sweetness, which can make it seem weaker.

Q. Does a Cortado Have Foam?

A. Cortado does not traditionally have foam, but some variations may include a small amount.

Q. Do You Put Sugar in a Cortado?

A. Cortado is traditionally unsweetened, but you can add sugar to taste.

Q. How Many Shots are in a Cortado?

A. Cortado typically has two-shot of espresso.

Q. How Many Shots are in a Macchiato?

A. Macchiato typically has two-shot of espressos.

Q. What type of coffee is typically used in a cortado or a macchiato?

When it comes to picking the right coffee for each drink, typically, an espresso blend is used for the macchiato, while a medium roast is used for the cortado.

Q. Is there an ideal time of day to drink either a cortado or macchiato?

There is no ideal time to drink a cortado or macchiato, as both are great morning pick-me-ups or afternoon snacks. Cortados are meant to be sipped and can be enjoyed any time of day, while macchiatos allow people to enjoy a strong and intense espresso flavor with a splash of milk.

Cortado vs Macchiato: Which One Should You Choose?

 Macchiato Vs Cortado
Macchiato vs Cortado

Now that you know the difference between Cortados and Macchiatos, it’s time to decide which one is right for you. If you’re looking for a coffee that is smooth and has a less intense flavor, then Cortado is the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a bold coffee with a more intense flavor, then Macchiato is the drink for you.

No matter which one you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the rich flavor of espresso. So, go ahead and select your favorite Cortado or Macchiato and enjoy!


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