Since the vast majority of coffee drinks with milk in them have an Italian origin, many take it for granted that this also applies to Cortado. That's where you go wrong. Cortado comes from Spain and although it is very similar to its Italian cousins Macchiato and Cappuccino, there are also clear differences.
First of all, it is the milk foam that sets these drinks apart. A cortado has less fluffy foam and it is more like steamed milk than skimmed. It gives the drink a sharper character than the two Italians have. The milk removes some of the acid as a espresso has - but it still lets the intensity of the coffee come through.
Cortado means split in Spanish, but the question is what is actually split? Some claim that it is about the milk cutting down - dividing - the strength of the coffee - others claim that the division referred to is that which naturally occurs when milk and coffee share a mug. Opinions are, if the expression allows, divided - but the drink is just as wonderful regardless.
How to make a Cortado?
Cortado Contents then? We have mentioned above that the drink contains espresso and milk and it is actually not more than that. Sometimes the simple is the best. If you look at cortado recipes, it's also about simplicity. But, it's like in sports: the hardest thing there is to keep it simple.
Don't let the simplicity fool you: a cortado should always be made with love and with respect for the ingredients. Preferably use espresso and a foam machine, but if this is not available, you can use, for example, a brewer or press coffee and heat milk - and whisk lightly - on the stove.
Start by pouring the coffee into a cup. If you want a stronger cortado, make a double espresso. Then heat the milk to 65 degrees - feel free to use a thermometer - and whisk it until frothy. Pour the milk into the coffee and you have a mug of delicious drink to dig into. A cortado at home in the morning will easily become a tradition, we promise.
FAQ - Cortado
What does a cortado contain?
A cortado contains espresso and hot, skimmed milk. If espresso is not available, you can use, for example, brewed or pressed coffee. The important thing is to make sure that the milk is slightly frothy. That is the big difference between a Cortado and, for example, a macchiato. If you look at how a cortado is mixed, you should have as much milk as coffee. Considering that espresso is what is used, you also understand that it is a rather small and rough drink.
What does cortado mean?
The word cortado is Spanish and means split. It can be about a cortado shared between milk and coffee - or that the milk cuts down on (cortat - to cut in Spanish) the acidity of the coffee. There is a shared (lucky!) opinion.
How much milk in a Cortado?
It should be 50/50 between coffee and milk in a true cortado.