Cortado Vs Cortadito - There Is A Little Difference...

Cortado Vs Cortadito – There Is A Little Difference…

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 21:23

To learn the difference between a Cortado Vs Cortadito you must first learn what a cortado is and then the difference and similarities between these two drinks become obvious, very obvious.

Both drinks are the same with the only difference being the drink size, with one being brewed with a double espresso and the other being made with a single shot. Both drinks differ ever so slightly from a Gibraltar.

Keep reading for the detail and an instruction on how to make a cortadito at home with a delicious cortadito recipe.

Cortado Vs Cortadito – What Is A Cortado?

You simply can’t learn about a cortadito without first understanding what a cortado is.

A cortado is a classic coffee drink from the Basque Country of Spain and has grown to be so popular that it is available all over the Iberian Peninsula and all over Latin America and inspired the Gibraltar coffee beverage, a very similar coffee that grew out of the hip and trendy San Francisco coffee scene.

Some coffee experts and coffee lovers consider it as the perfect coffee due to the balance of coffee and milk.

The textured milk served in an equal proportion to the double espresso shot tones down the acidity and bitterness of the coffee and provides that perfect equilibrium between the creaminess of the milk and the coffee.

It’s tasty, delicious, delightful and has one heck of a caffeine kick with 150 mg of caffeine per serving.

Cortado Vs Cortadito
A Cortado

Read: Flat white Vs Cortado

How Does A Cortado Get Its Name?

The name cortado is from the past participle of the Spanish verb, cortar which means to cut. This is precisely what the drink does: it cuts through the acidity and the bitterness of the strong and bold coffee.

The name is also taken from the word corto, meaning short and is also derived from the verb cortar. This is also what a cortado is, a short coffee drink.

How Does A Cortado Differ From A Gibraltar Coffee Drink?

These two great coffee drinks are only slightly different, ever so slightly that the average and even experienced coffee drinker will not notice.

The difference becomes obvious when you see the composition of each drink together:

  • Cortado Coffee: Made with a double espresso and textured milk using an espresso to milk ratio of 1:1 and a fine cap of milk foam.
  • Gibraltar Coffee: Made with a double espresso and steamed milk using an espresso to milk ratio of 1:1 and a fine cap of milk foam.

Can you see just how subtle the difference is?

It’s the slight difference in the type of hot milk used. A cortado is made with textured milk, which is steamed milk that has not been frothed, while a Gibraltar is made with regular steamed milk.

Both beverages can have a little latte art on top.

What Is A Cortadito
A Gibraltar Coffee

What Is A Cortadito?

If you are familiar with the Spanish language, you will know that the “ito” suffix is diminutive. Thus, by the very definition a cortadito is a smaller cortado.

The cortados baby brother as I like to call it.

A cortadito is made with a single shot of espresso and an equal amount of textured milk with a small, fine cap of foam.

To be clear, the use of the “ito” suffix does not always mean that the drinker wants a smaller cortado. If you are a barista, it is best that you confirm with your client by showing them the glass that you are going to make the drink in or simply ask if they want it with a double or single espresso shot.

The awkwardness is due to there being no set location as per when and where a cortadito means a cortado or when and where it means a smaller cortado.

In Spain, particularly in Catalonia, a cortadito means a smaller cortado; in other parts of Spain this may not be the case. Also, if a Cuban client asks for a cortadito in Catalonia he or she may want a cortado.


Yes, that is why you must double-check with your client to make sure that you serve them the drink that they want and you as a client must be clear with the barista about what it is that you want, be in a cortado with a double shot or a single shot of espresso.

Cuban Cortadito Coffee

Something to be very clear on. A Cuban cortadito is almost always a regular cortado with no differentiation between a cortado and a cortadito.

A Cuban cortadito is usually made with local coffee beans and condensed milk. The condensed milk is sweeter and helps to mask the strong bitter taste of the local coffee bean.

Puerto Rico, it is the same as Cuba. To be clearer, Puerto Rican and Cuban love their coffee to be made with Café Bustelo, a coffee they have grown to love for several generations.

Cuban Cortadito
A Cortadito Is Easy To Make

Read: Cortado Vs Latte

Cortadito Recipe

Let’s get making an amazing, tasty and delicious cortadito coffee at home.

What You Will Need

  • A single shot of espresso.
  • Whole fat milk.

How To Make A Cortadito Coffee

A cortadito is traditionally made with a moka pot, however they are in modern times made using an espresso machine. To be clear, open and honest, a better quality cortado is made with an espresso machine.

To get a better quality cortado with your moka pot I highly recommend that you alter the coffee to water ratio from the regular 1:10 to 1:8.

I strongly advise you to preheat your water to 70C (158F) and add it to the water chamber of your moka pot and then add it to the water chamber and then proceed to brew your coffee. This slight difference means that less water vapor is rising and spoiling the bed of coffee above.

This ensures that you are not getting too many of the low temperature compounds into your coffee as the water is heating up due to rising water vapor and getting all the best flavor compounds into your brew.

With a home espresso machine, weigh 20 grams of freshly roasted dark coffee beans. Grind them to a very fine coffee grin size and tamp with an even pressure of 30 kg approximately.

Brew your shot. Brew time should take 25 seconds with a variation of 5 seconds. If your brew time is 19 seconds or shorter, you will likely need to use a smaller grind size to encourage greater contact between the grinds and your hot water.

If your brewing time is longer than 30 seconds, you will need to use a smaller grind size to reduce the contact time between your water and coffee grounds.

To make your textured milk, use your steam wand and steam your whole fat milk without frothing it. Alternatively, use a saucepan and heat your milk until you start to see vapor rising.

Add your steamed milk in an equal amount, 30 ml (1 Oz).

Sweetening your drink can be done at any point. In Spain, it is added to the finished drink; in Cuba, it is added while brewing. The choice is yours.

How To Drink A Cortadito Coffee

A cortadito coffee, like its big brother, is a coffee beverage that is sipped and enjoyed. Often enjoyed with a small snack or a little dark chocolate.

The robust strong coffee flavor balanced with the creaminess of the milk is to be enjoyed.

Be careful of drinking it too quickly and ordering a second coffee as both a cortado and a cortadito pack an ample caffeine punch with 75 milligrams and 150 milligrams of caffeine respectively.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cortado Vs Cortadito

What’s The Difference Between Cortadito And Café Con Leche?

A cortadito is made with a shot of espresso and textured milk in an equal amount. A café con leche is made with an espresso shot and a particular type of steamed milk, scalded milk in a coffee to milk ratio of 1:2, making it very similar to a latte.

Is A Cortadito Strong?

A cortadito, often charmingly called a Cuban espresso with steamed milk. A slightly inaccurate description, it is a shot of espresso with an equal amount of textured milk. It is a strong coffee with the taste of the espresso toned down with the espresso shot.

What Is In A Cortadito Coffee?

A cortadito coffee is simply made with espresso coffee and textured milk. Textured milk is simply steamed milk that has not been frothed.

How Many Shots Are In A Cortadito

A cortado is made with two shots of espresso while a cortadito is made with a single shot of espresso.

The suffix “ito” is diminutive, meaning smaller, thus a cortadito is a smaller cortado. However, this rule of language is not always adhered to. In some countries like Cuba there is no difference between a cortado and a cortadito.

Why Is It Called A Cortadito?

The name cortado comes from the past participle of the Spanish verb cortar, which means to cut. It also comes from a word from the same verb, corto, meaning short, which is exactly what a cortado is, a short 4 oz to 4.5 ounce coffee drink. A cortadito is simply a smaller version. The “ito” suffix means little cortado.

How Do You Drink A Cortadito?

A cortadito is often a morning coffee drink enjoyed with breakfast. When enjoyed as an afternoon coffee, it is often sipped, savored and enjoyed. It can be enjoyed with or without food.

Final Thoughts – Cortado Vs Cortadito

If you have read this far you know all about a Cortado Vs Cortadito and why you might choose to enjoy the smaller drink – fewer calories, less caffeine and only needing a little pick me up mid-afternoon and the full caffeine jolt from a larger version.

Join our online coffee community and share your great coffee creations, amazing latte art, and tasty coffee recipes. I double dare, even triple dare you to post these hilarious coffee memes and jokes. 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

Blogarama - Blog Directory