Coffee 101: The Cortado

Consider this cross between a cappuccino and a macchiato for your afternoon pick-me-up
Coffee 101: The Cortado
Elizabeth Haddad

As of late, I have been feeling as though I was at a crossroads. My beloved cappuccino has just a little too much milk for my afternoon pick-me-up, but I still wanted something warmer and more comforting than a simple shot of espresso. A macchiato, a shot of espresso marked with equal amounts milk (not the Starbucks mock-iato), wasn’t creamy enough either.

I had, of course, heard of a cortado — it’s nothing new or trendy. They’ve been drinking them in Spain for years. In essence, the cortado is the Spanish lovechild of a macchiato and a cappuccino. It’s really all about ratio. The milk is used to cut the acidity of the espresso, but not too much. The espresso comes through to balance the milk, which is steamed more like a latte, with little to no foam. The milk is steamed at a lesser temperature as well, and it is served in a five- to seven-ounce glass rather than ceramic. In this way, you simply cannot take a cortado to go, so relax and stay a while.

It’s small but perfectly satisfying; I often order two, it is just so good.

On your next trip to the cafe, order a cortado (New York City's La Colombe makes an amazing one). I promise, once you taste it, you’ll be hooked, and you might just order another!