How to Make a Coffee Cortado aka un Cortadito?

I’ve been experimenting with coffee drinks lately, and today I want to share my recipe for the delicious Latin American drink called un cortadito. It’s a small cup of espresso mixed with hot milk.

For those who are new to this world, it is very similar in flavor profile to an Americano or latte, but you can drink it faster because there is less liquid involved. It has about 1/3 the volume of a typical latte–and that’s why they call it “un cortadito.” I also love how easy these are to make at home!

1. What is a coffee cortado aka un Cortadito?

A cortado is a type of coffee drink. It’s typically served in a demitasse cup and it’s made with an espresso shot and then steamed milk, but it can also be made by adding steamed milk to drip coffee.

The term derives from the verb “cortar,” which means “to cut” in Spanish: hence, you’re cutting the strength of the espresso with the addition of milk. How much milk you add determines how strong your cortado will be!

In Spain, they tend to use more steamed milk than I do when making them at home–in fact, there are various ways that different people make them around the world. One common variation is to add cocoa or cinnamon on top.

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Where does un Cortadito come from?

How to Make a Coffee cortado aka un Cortadito

Like many things in Spain, this drink is made differently all over Latin America. Chileans and Argentinians call their coffee cortados “cortados” , but they tend to use more espresso than milk when making them at home.

Columbians like to make theirs by the cup with drip coffee and hot steamed milk (similar to a latte), whereas people from Cuba and Puerto Rico typically make it as we do, using equal parts of espresso and steamed milk.

2. How to make a coffee cortado aka un Cortadito ?

If you want to make a cortado, all you have to do is fill your serving cup with hot milk and then slowly pour an espresso shot into it. Stir the shots together as they mix in the cup. That’s it! The ratio I use for this drink is typically 4 ounces of steamed milk and 2 ounces of espresso.

Tips for making your own Coffee cortado at home?

Step 1: Add cold milk to the serving size of espresso

Step 2: Carefully pour milk into coffee, remembering that it can foam up! For this reason, I always serve mine in a small cup.

Step 3: The ratio may differ if you’re using more than one kind of finer-ground coffee beans. So taste test before adding any sugar or cream to your drink—you might even want to go exlra dark using an espresso roast instead of the traditional drip-brewed stuff!

3. How much caffeine is in un Cortadito?

How to Make a Coffee cortado aka un Cortadito

A cortado has a little bit less caffeine than a full-size latte, but the milk in it does dilute it so you might get 50% of what is found in an Americano.

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If you have a sensitive stomach or are worried about the effect caffeine can have on your body I would recommend avoiding this drink. With that said, small amounts of caffeine from coffee has not been shown to cause any health problems—so don’t be too concerned!

4. Where can I buy my favorite beans from in the US or Canada ?

You can buy green coffee beans online, but you should be advised that it’s generally not a good idea to buy unroasted coffee. Only do so if you have the right equipment and knowledge to roast them yourself.

As for brands of roasted coffee I like, Tandem Coffee is what I’ve been buying lately because they’re local (to me, anyway). I buy their espresso roast, which is a blend of two beans from Colombia and Ecuador.

5. Other delicious drinks that are similar to a coffee cortado:

How to Make a Coffee cortado aka un Cortadito

If you like the cortado, but want something a little bigger, try an Americano. The Americano is made in much the same way as the cortado: you make espresso and then add water to it (1 ounce of water for every 2 ounces of espressso).

If you like your coffee with some milk and sugar , try a macchiato or a cappuccino . A small amount of milk and steamed is all you need.  


1. How long does a cortado last?
If you don’t drink it all right away, a cortado will stay fresh for about an hour before the flavor starts to degrade.

2. Why is my cortado bitter?
The appearance of bitterness in your coffee drink can be caused by too much milk . If you’re using the same coffee beans for your drink without changing them out, it can also be caused by staleness. And if you’re steaming the milk too much, try to keep it below 100 degrees Celsius (212 F) or even closer to 90 degrees (194 F).

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3. Can I store a cortado?
Yes! You can store a cortado in the refrigerator for up to two days before it will start going bad. Try not to store it at too cold a temperature, because that can cause some of the flavor to leach out over time.

Further reading:
Organic Coffee Brewing Techniques
Cortado Coffee Guide


So, if you are looking for a new coffee drink to try or just want to change up your daily latte routine, I would definitely recommend trying out the cortado. It’s very easy to make and has a lot less calories than some of its counterparts! 

If you have any more questions about the cortado, feel free to ask in the comments!

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