Cortado vs Macchiato: What’s The Difference

Cortado vs Macchiato

Cortado vs Macchiato: Many coffee lovers are familiar with macchiatos but may not be as familiar with a cortado. Having said that, even coffee enthusiasts may be unfamiliar with the non-American versions of these two beverages and their differences. If you’ve never experienced either of these beverages, you first need to know that they are both types of espresso.


Cortado vs Macchiato

The cortado and macchiato are two espressos that are similar yet slightly different. They are also from diverse countries and can be enjoyed in multiple ways at different times. If you want to learn more about these two coffees, the article below will provide you with all the information about cortado vs macchiato you need to place your next coffee shop order.

What is Cortado

  • We’re now crossing a few countries on our way to Spain, the origin of the Cortado. While Spanish coffee culture may not be as well known as its European cousin, its national coffee, the Cortado, has become a popular way to have a quick espresso on London’s streets.
  • The Cortado, coming from the Spanish verb to ‘cut’ (cortar), is a plain espresso cut, or diluted, with an equal quantity of warm milk. In fact, the name café cortado refers to a variety of coffees combined with milk in Spain, but in its exported form – and to differentiate itself from the macchiato on the menus of London’s coffee shops – this espresso version is what you’d expect to have.
  • The difference is not only in the milk-to-coffee ratio (50:50) but also in the sort of milk used. Unlike Italian coffees, which use foamy, frothy milk (what we call “texturized”), the Cortado uses steamed milk, which results in a far smoother taste and looks.
  • If you’re looking for something sweeter, a cortado might be more your style. It originated in Cuba and is made with sweetened condensed milk because fresh milk was historically more difficult to obtain.
What is Cortado

How To Make An Authentic Cortado

This Spanish recipe is made in a 4-ounce cup with about equal parts coffee and milk. In this instance, a single espresso is prepared and poured into the cup. Steamed milk is added to the cup in an equal amount or slightly more, depending on personal preference.

It’s also worth noting that many traditional Spanish coffee shops use sweetened condensed milk steamed in their cortado to give them a little sweeter flavor. The main focus, however, is on steaming the milk, which is accomplished by warming it without foaming it. It gives it a shiny appearance and a smooth feel.


Difference Between a Cortado and a Latte

The Latte is another caffè similar to (and occasionally mistaken for) a Cortado. While they use the same ingredients, the cortado is for those who prefer a powerful bite with a hint of sweetness. 

On the other hand, those who prefer a latte get a milder but still delicious version of the coffee. In essence, the cortado strikes a balance between robust and sweet flavors. A latte is made using an eight-ounce cup and a ristretto shot. If you’re not familiar with the term, a ristretto is (essentially) a smaller shot of espresso. The latte also has more steamed milk. Read More…

What is Cortado

What is Macchiato

  • The Macchiato is an Italian cultural staple. A simple espresso served with a splash of steamed milk has the largest espresso-to-milk ratio of any drink created with these two ingredients and, therefore, can be considered a sort of halfway house between a simple black espresso and a more milky cappuccino.
  • The term macchiato generally translates to ‘marked,’ referring to the espresso being dashed with a small amount of milk (1-2 tablespoons here). The milk is not intended to overpower the espresso but rather to offer a modest bit of flavor or – for those who struggle with a straight black coffee – to take the edge off the dark, rich, and often acidic beans.
  • Milk after meals (or any time in the afternoon) is normally frowned upon in Italy, but the Macchiato allows people to sneak in a tiny bit of dairy.
What is Macchiato

How to make Traditional Macchiato

To brew the traditional Italian coffee, start with a three or four-ounce cup, depending on your preference. A single espresso is made and placed in the cup. The milk has arrived. The largest distinction between the two brews is found here. Instead of steamed milk, frothed milk is used in the macchiato.

Foamed milk is created by aerating a tiny amount of liquid with steam until it forms a froth. On top of the espresso, only one or two teaspoons of froth are added. This is also known as a “milk mark.”


The Origins of the Cortado vs. Macchiato:

To gain a better knowledge of these two delicious coffee drinks cortado vs macchiato, it is necessary to first understand their origins. It will also assist you in understanding how they are served and what alterations have occurred through time.


The Cortado’s History

The cortado is an espresso beverage that first appeared in Spain in the early 1960s. The word cortado is derived from the Spanish verb cortar, meaning “to cut.” This phrase was coined because the milk in the cortado is intended to cut through the coffee, making it sweeter and lighter in flavor. Cortado is also the past tense of “cortar.” The term essentially means to dilute coffee or espresso.

This coffee was invented by the Spaniards to be drunk and enjoyed slowly. It’s also worth noting that, like other caffès made in Spain, it lacks frothed milk. Most Spanish coffees do not have foam; if they do, it is used sparingly.

This beverage first appeared in Basque County, Spain, but it didn’t stay long. This cocktail quickly gained popularity. It originated in Cuba and moved to Portugal. This is now a characteristic espresso variation in many coffee shops worldwide. The United States and the United Kingdom have swiftly added it to their list of preferred coffees.

Cortado vs Macchiato

The Origins of Macchiato

Many of our favorite coffee drinks originate in Italy, and macchiato is no exception. This famous beverage is now a standard order at most coffee shops worldwide. Again, the United States and the United Kingdom are two of the most devoted macchiato drinkers, and they have tailored the recipe to their preferences.

Surprisingly, the term “macchiato” was first used by baristas to distinguish between a conventional espresso and one with foamed milk. To explain what the frothed milk does to the coffee, macchiato translates as either marked or stained in Italian.

It is unknown when the espresso macchiato first appeared on the Italian menu, but we do know why it exists. Milk is often frowned upon in Italy, especially after meals or in the afternoon. They also believe the espresso was intended to be taken fast in the morning as a great pick-me-up.

The macchiato answered both of these issues for individuals who wished to live beyond the box. The frothed espresso provided a convenient excuse to indulge in some dairy after lunch or after a big dinner. Furthermore, it provided a new viewpoint on the hurriedly drank morning espresso, as many people began to sip it carefully.

The espresso macchiato of Italy now looks nothing like the beverages found at Starbucks and other popular coffee shops. This likewise applies to the cortado.

Cortado vs Macchiato

Which is stronger, a macchiato vs cortado?

A macchiato has a stronger flavor than a cortado because it utilizes less milk, producing a more robust, espresso-forward coffee flavor. A cortado is a well-balanced drink since it contains equal parts espresso and milk.

Espresso coffee is recognized for its intense flavor. Both the macchiato and the cortado use espresso as their base coffee.

The amount of milk used and the way of preparation will significantly alter the flavor of the coffee.

A macchiato contains less milk and has a foamy top, giving it a stronger espresso flavor.

The flavor of the cortado is better balanced. While you may still taste the espresso, it will have a rounder flavor, making it the least robust of these drinks.


What is the difference in milk used?

  • A macchiato is usually made with espresso and a bit of milk (usually steamed). The milk in a macchiato is frothed before being placed on top of the espresso.
  • A cortado is created with espresso and roughly twice as much milk. The milk in a cortado is heated before being poured over the espresso.

A macchiato is an espresso with a dollop of milk on top. However, a cortado has more milk added, making it smoother and creamier with no huge milk bubbles.

Because a macchiato contains less milk than a cortado, the flavor will be stronger, as previously stated.

When frothing milk, most people use whole milk. The foam will last the longest and has a rich flavor.


Cortado vs macchiato: which is right for you?

You could have discovered a new favorite now that I’ve gone over the differences between these two very similar drinks. Cortado vs Macchiato which is better.

Are you still undecided about which option is best for you? Then I suggest the following:

  • Choose the macchiato if you like a robust coffee flavor with a creamy texture.
  • If you like something less powerful and want a little sweetness to balance out the sharpness of the espresso, go for the cortado.

If you’re not a big lover of espresso coffee in the first place, a cortado is a great alternative.

Because the cortado contains an equivalent amount of milk, the espresso coffee will be considerably more diluted, allowing you to gradually experience the more laid-back flavor.

Cortado vs Macchiato

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Conclusion

As you can see, these two cafes are fairly similar, but they serve two entirely different espressos. They are from various corners of the world and were made for various causes. But it doesn’t mean you can’t like them both equally. Depending on your preferences, either one could be your next favorite cup of coffee.

We hope this post has clarified the distinctions between the cortado and the macchiato. If you haven’t tried either, order them the next time you visit your favorite coffee shop.


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