If you're a coffee lover who appreciates a perfectly balanced espresso-based drink, then the cortado is sure to delight your taste buds. With its smooth texture and equal parts of espresso and steamed milk, the cortado offers a delightful combination of boldness and creaminess. In this blog post, we'll explore the origins and characteristics of the cortado and guide you through the steps of making this delectable beverage in the comfort of your own home.

The origins of Cortado coffee

The cortado coffee has its roots in Spain, where it is a beloved part of the coffee culture. The word "cortado" translates to "cut" in Spanish, referring to the method of cutting the acidity of the espresso with a small amount of milk. The cortado is typically served in a small glass, allowing the layers of espresso and steamed milk to showcase their harmonious flavours in a visually appealing manner.

The characteristics of a Cortado

The beauty of the cortado lies in its simplicity and balance. Unlike other espresso-based drinks that feature a larger proportion of milk, the cortado is all about highlighting the essence of the espresso while providing a subtle touch of steamed milk. Here are some key characteristics of a traditional cortado:

  • Equal Parts: The cortado consists of equal parts espresso and steamed milk, typically a 1:1 ratio.
  • Espresso: The espresso is bold, rich, and extracted to perfection. It serves as the foundation of the cortado, providing a strong coffee flavour.
  • Steamed Milk: It should be delicately steamed and have a creamy consistency without overpowering the coffee. Aim for as little foam as possible. Don't make the milk too hot as it's typically served in a glass and is designed to be consumed a little quicker than other coffee drinks. 

How to Make the Perfect Cortado Coffee

To enjoy a delicious cortado at home, follow these simple steps:

  1. Grind your Ground Coffee beans: Start by grinding fresh coffee beans to a fine consistency. This will ensure optimal extraction and flavour.

  2. Pull a double shot of espresso: Use your espresso machine or aeropress to extract a double shot of espresso. Aim for a smooth and balanced extraction.

  3. Steam the milk: Using a steam wand to steam 1/4 cup of whole milk until it reaches a creamy and slightly thick consistency. Aim for as little foam as possible. Avoid it being too hot – you will know it's ready when your milk frothing jug is just warm to the touch.  

  4. Pour the espresso: Gently pour the double shot of espresso into a small glass or cup. This will form the base of your cortado.

  5. Add the steamed milk: Slowly pour the steamed milk into the glass, aiming for a 1:1 ratio of espresso to milk. 

Remember, the secret to a perfect cortado lies in the balance between espresso and steamed milk and careful temperature control. Take the time to hone your brewing and steaming techniques to achieve the desired result. With a little practice, you'll be able to create a cortado that rivals the ones served in your favourite cafe.

Whether you're craving a moment of tranquillity in the morning or seeking an afternoon pick-me-up, the cortado coffee is a quick and delightful choice.

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