Cappuccino Vs Cortado - The Differences Detailed

Cappuccino Vs Cortado – The Differences Detailed

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 20:50

In the battle of the brew of a Cappuccino Vs Cortado it is good to know how these drinks are similar and how they are different. Know this will help you get an idea of which will suit your need and the kind of coffee that you want to drink, and when.

Keep reading for the detailed dossier on these two coffee drinks.

Cappuccino Vs Cortado

These two drinks, while the coffee base, or to be more accurate, the espresso base, is the same but only in different quantities.

Let’s get into more detail!

What Is A Cappuccino?

A cappuccino is the classic Italian espresso-based coffee drink that is made with a single espresso shot, and equal amounts of steamed milk and foam. The espresso, steamed milk and foam are in a ratio of 1:1:1.

There are several variations where the foamed milk is replaced with whipped cream, heavy cream, and other non-dairy alternative milks like almond milk, oat milk, soy milk or any type of milk that the drinker prefers.

A cappuccino is often topped with chocolate powder or chocolate shavings or cinnamon.

While a cappuccino is the classic Italian coffee beverage, it has its origins in Vienna, Austria where it was made with heavy cream and not foam or whipped cream, which is why a Cappuccino in Vienna, in its original form and way of elaboration is a cappuccino with cream.

There are a few variations of a cappuccino, which are:

  • A Wet Cappuccino: A wet cappuccino is made by altering the ratios slightly with a little more steamed milk is added to the espresso shot.
  • An Extra Wet Cappuccino: A cappuccino with no froth and more milk added to the espresso.
  • A Dry Cappuccino: A dry cappuccino alters the ratio of milk to espresso by reducing it slightly to produce a cappuccino with a more prominent espresso taste.
  • A Bone Dry Cappuccino: This variation has no milk, hence the term bone dry. It’s all espresso and frothy milk.
  • An Iced Cappuccino: This is a regular cappuccino with ice.
  • A Cappuccino Freddo: An iced cappuccino with whipped cream.

It’s a great drink and is very enjoyable in all its forms. The variations mean that there is one to suit the taste of all coffee lovers.

Cappuccino Vs Cortado
A Cappuccino

Read: How to make cortado

What Is A Cortado?

A cortado is the classic Spanish coffee drink with origins in the Basque Country. While it is a specialty coffee drink in America, Australia, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, it is an ordinary beverage served everywhere in Spain and Latin America.

A cortado is made with two shots of espresso and an equal amount of steamed milk. To be more precise, the milk used is steamed but not frothed, meaning it is texturized.

It’s predominantly served in a 4.5 to 5-ounce Gibraltar glass, commonly known in Spain as a cortado glass.

The drink has a little baby brother, the cortadito, which is a cortado but made with a single shot of espresso and an equal amount of texturized milk.

What Is The Difference Between A Cappuccino And A Cortado?

These two drinks are both made with a shot of espresso and hot milk. That is where the similarities end. They are different in quantity, elaboration, taste and texture and just about every other aspect.

The coffee to milk ratio of a cortado is the same as a cappuccino, 1:1 ratio. One of the key differences is a cortado is made with a different type of milk, texturized vs steamed. A cortado has no milk froth and is twice the volume due to having two shots of espresso.

A Cortado

Read: Cortado V Macchiato

The Obvious Difference

The most obvious and biggest difference between the two coffee beverages is the use of foam on a cappuccino. One third of the cup of a cappuccino is made with foam. A cortado when made correctly has neither foam nor froth.

I’ve made tens of thousands of cortados while living in Spain for 12+ years and working in coffee shops and restaurants.

The Taste Difference

These two drinks also taste very different. A cortado has a strong espresso taste and has a higher acidity. The texturized milk tones down the bitterness but doesn’t make the drink overtly sweet.

A cappuccino is much sweeter and can have sugar added for extra sweetness or a drizzle of chocolate or a dollop of cream or whipped cream. If you have a sweet tooth, adding sugar to a cappuccino will suit you more.

The Texture

There is a big difference in texture between a cortado and classic espresso drinks due to the milk texture and the milk content. The milk used to make a cortado is texturized milk, which is milk that is steamed but not frothed. The result is a silky velvety-like rich smooth mouthfeel.

A cappuccino, due to the frothed and steamed milk and foam, has a much lighter mouthfeel. It’s airy with a great bubbly feel.

The Temperature

A cortado, the milk is steamed to 55C (130F) and served in a 4.5 oz Gibraltar glass. The glass is not too hot to touch and won’t burn you due to the lower temperature.

A cappuccino, the milk is steamed to a slightly higher temperature, 60C (140F) and served in a ceramic coffee cup which is usually preheated with water before pulling the espresso shot. The preheating of the coffee cup helps to maintain the temperature.

The Body

A cortado has very little, a minimal amount of suspended gasses and thus has a heavier mouthfeel than a cappuccino and is smoother and easier to drink quickly.

Due to the microscopic air bubbles in a cappuccino, the drink has a soft, pillowy and light body. The light mouthfeel is due to the actual coffee mas in each sip being minimal.

Cappuccino Vs Cortado Calories

Both these two coffee drinks contain the same ingredients but in different amounts, and thus the one with the most calories is the one that uses the ingredients in greater amounts.

Where there is no solid reliable data available for how many calories are in a cortado it is clear that it has more calories than a cappuccino, assuming no cocoa powder or chocolate drizzle is added.

This is simply because there is twice as much espresso and twice as much milk used in a cortado.

If you are on a diet and watching your calorie intake, a cappuccino, without chocolate added, has fewer calories.

Cappuccino Vs Cortado Caffeine Content

The exact amount of caffeine in each of these two coffee drinks is impossible to calculate as different coffee beans contain differing amounts of caffeine.


we can use averages and since both beverages have the same coffee base, a shot or two of espresso we can take the average amount of caffeine in a shot of espresso, which is 75 mg.

With this mind we can deduce that a cappuccino has 75 milligrams of caffeine and a cortado has 150 milligrams of caffeine.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cappuccino Vs Cortado

Yes, a cappuccino is made with a single shot of espresso while a cortado is a double shot of espresso and thus has a greater caffeine content. Due to both coffee drinks having the same ratio of espresso to milk both have the same bold espresso flavor.

Yes, a cortado is a small Spanish coffee drink and having worked in a few coffee shops in Spain during my 12 years of living there I can absolutely tell you that a cortado is a drink that the locals like to sip.

Sparkling water is often served to help cleanse your palate before drinking the cortado. It is to help you enjoy more of the taste of the coffee drink.

Read: Cortado Vs Latte

No, a cortado is not a small cappuccino. For a start, a cortado does not have any of the milk foam or the large layer of foam that cappuccino has. A cortado can be accurately described as a larger version of the coffee base that forms a cappuccino.

A cappuccino is made with a single shot of espresso and an equal amount of steamed milk. A cortado is made with a double shot of espresso and an equal amount of steamed milk, but no froth is added.

Are Cortado And Gibraltar The Same?

Yes, both a Gibraltar and a Cortado are the same. The name Gibraltar comes from the type of glass that the drink is served in. A Gibraltar glass. Being a British national that lives in Spain I have visited Gibraltar many times. The coffee shops there are not all fussed if you ask for a Gibraltar or a cortado. 

Yes, for this tasty coffee drink of Spanish origins you steam milk but don’t froth milk for a cortado. The type of milk used is called texturized. Yes, steamed milk is used.

Final Thoughts – Cappuccino Vs Cortado

In the brew battle of a Cappuccino Vs Cortado which of these two drinks wins out for you? For me, I love a good cortado with tapas for a genuine and authentic Spanish experience from start to finish.

Join our cool coffee community and tell us who wins the Cappuccino Vs Cortado battle for you. Find us on Facebook/Meta.

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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