Cortado Vs Flat White - [Read This First]

Cortado Vs Flat White – [Read This First]

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 20:47

In the battle of the two smaller coffee drinks, Cortado Vs Flat White, I talk about these two coffee drinks in detail to help you choose which one is best for you.

After reading this article comparing the two drinks, you will be able to choose which is most suited for you based on taste, caffeine content and the calorie count.

Keep reading for the details.

Cortado Vs Flat White

These two coffee drinks are incredibly similar both in their appearance and how they are made. They are two unique coffee drinks and let’s talk about both of them in detail and talk about the difference between the two drinks.

Cortado

A cortado is a classic Spanish espresso coffee drink made with a double shot of espresso and a ratio of espresso to steamed milk of 1:1.

While there are some coffee websites and blogs that claim this is made with a single espresso shot, this is simply not true or how this beverage is served.

Having lived and worked in a few coffee shops for 12 years and made thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of cortados I can personally guarantee that it is a doubleshot of espresso that is used in this coffee and an equal amount of steamed milk.

Spanish coffee drinkers often request a cortadito, which is the same drink made with a single shot of espresso and equal ratio of steamed milk.

The steamed milk used is steamed but not frothed, making it texturized milk, to be more accurate.

The name cortado comes from the past participle of the Spanish verb cortar, meaning to cut. The contextual use, and given my vast experience in the Spanish language and speaking Spanish as if it were my native language the term cortado, within its use translates better to short as it is a short, small coffee that is very similar to a café con leche. Notably, the word for short (corto) is derived from the same verb, cortar.

This is confirmed with the Catalan name, tallat, a language that I am also very familiar with.

Cortado Vs Flat White
A Cortado

Read: Macchiato Vs Cortado

Flat White

A flat white is a coffee beverage that Australian and New Zealand coffee drinkers love and is their version or variation of a latte with a few key differences.

It is made with a double shot of ristretto and twice as much milk as there is ristretto, giving a coffee to milk ratio of 1:2, the same as a latte with the distinct difference that a different type of espresso is used and a double shot of it instead of a single shot.

For clarity, a ristretto is concentrated espresso made with a coffee to water ratio of 1:1 whereas an espresso has a coffee to water ratio of 1:1.5. The size of both an espresso and a ristretto are different also; an espresso is 1 Oz (30 ml) while a ristretto is 2/3rd of Oz (20 ml).

This means there is more total coffee (40 ml, vs 30 ml (1.33 Oz Vs 1 Oz)) and a stronger type of espresso in a flat white than a latte, but less than a cortado (40 ml Vs 60 ml (1.33 Oz Vs 2 Oz).

The type of milk used in a flat white is milk that has been steamed and frothed, making the milk different from a cortado but the same as a latte.

Unlike a latte, a flat white only has a very fine cap of microfoam typically only 1 cm to 2 cm of foam.

It is the very fine layer of foam that gives the drink its name.

Cortado Vs Flat White – What Do These Drinks Taste Like?

Cortado Taste

A cortado is a small coffee drink typically served in a 4.5 to 5-ounce (135 ml to 150 ml) Gibraltar glass. The drink is a small cup of coffee, of typically 4 ounces (120 ml). The espresso double shot is strong and bold with the milk adding a hint of sweetness. Due to the textured milk, you will enjoy a subtle silky mouthfeel.

A cortado tastes very similar to the coffee base of a cappuccino without the milk foam added. Literally, and I mean literally, it is exactly the same, only more of it.

A cappuccino’s coffee base is a single shot of espresso with an equal amount of steamed and frothed milk (it is this part a cappuccino tastes very similar to), then the milk foam topping is adding in an equal amount to a cappuccinos coffee and milk base.

Flat White Taste

A flat white has a strong coffee base, using the strongest and boldest coffee beverage as the base of the drink. It’s a cup of coffee with a stronger taste than all drinks that are similar to it, including a latte and a cortado. It is strong and bold.

Due to using twice as much micro-foamed milk as coffee, the milk and the lactose help to tone down the strong coffee taste and produce a velvety and lightly heavy mouthfeel.

Flat White
A Flat White

Read: How to make cortado

Cortado Vs Flat White Caffeine

There is a slightly greater caffeine content in a cortado than a flat white as it has a double shot of espresso, which means it has 150 milligrams of caffeine.

A flat white is not lagging behind much with the double espresso shot giving you a caffeine kick of 130 mg of caffeine. Both these drinks will provide you with a more than adequate caffeine intake and provide a sufficient boost.

Cortado Vs Flat White Calories

A flat white has 110 calories to 290 calories depending on the drink size.

  • Short 8 Oz (240 ml): 110 calories.
  • Tall 12 Oz (360 ml): 170 calories.
  • Grande 16 Oz (480 ml): 220 calories.
  • Venti 20 Oz (600 ml): 290 calories.

A honey almond milk flat white contains the following calorie count:

  • Short 8 Oz (240 ml): 80 calories.
  • Tall 12 Oz (360 ml): 120 calories.
  • Grande 16 Oz (480 ml): 170 calories.
  • Venti 20 Oz (600 ml): 210 calories.

Although no data is available for the calorie count of a cortado, with all things being equal, the same coffee beans and the same milk a cortado will have fewer calories due to containing less milk due to the different ratios of milk used to make each coffee.

A 4 Oz (120 ml) flat white will have 80 (2.67 Oz) ml of milk while a 4 0z (120 ml) cortado will have 60 ml (2 oz) of milk.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cortado Vs Flat White

Which Has More Milk Cortado Or Flat White?

A flat white has more milk and is a larger drink. It uses a coffee to milk ratio of 1:2 while a cortado is a smaller coffee drink and has a coffee to milk ratio of 1:1. 2 ounces (60 ml) of milk is used in a cortado while a flat white has 80 ml (2.67 Oz).

Which Has More Coffee Flat White or Cortado?

These two drinks use two different types of espresso and both use a double shot.

  • Cortado: Double shot espresso.
  • Flat White: Double shot of ristretto.

A double shot of ristretto is smaller than a double espresso. A double ristretto is 40 ml (1.33 Oz). While a double shot espresso is 60 ml (2 oz). Clearly, a cortado has more caffeine (150 mg Vs 130 mg).

A ristretto is a focused and slightly more concentrated espresso as it uses a coffee to water ratio of 1:1 compared to 1:5.

Is A Flat White A Double Cortado?

No, a double cortado would be 4 shots of espresso and an equal amount of milk. A flat white is a double shot of ristretto. It’s a different drink made with a very different type of espresso. 

The type of milk used is also slightly different. 

Read: Cortado Vs Latte

Is Cortado Same As Macchiato?

No, both a macchiato and a cortado are distinct and different drinks. A macchiato is a traditional Italian drink that is made with a shot of espresso and a “stain” of milk. The name macchiato translates to stain, only a dash or teaspoon of steamed milk is used. 

A cortado is a double shot of espresso with an equal amount of steamed milk. 

The very name cortado translates to cut in the Spanish language. In the context of use, cortado is better translated to short in English. Which is what you are served, a short coffee. Usually the drink is a double espresso (60 ml (2 Oz)) and an equal amount of steamed milk. 

Source of translation and context: 12 years living in Spain and working in coffee shops. I speak Spanish as if it was my native language and have done so for more than a decade.

Do You Put Sugar In A Cortado?

Traditionally, Spaniards don’t put sugar in their cortado, the older Spaniards rarely put sugar in their cortados, however in the fancy modern coffee shops you will find it is served with sugar with middle age and younger adding sugar as per their own gusto. 

In some Latin American countries, a cortado is made with sugar. 

Final Thoughts – Cortado Vs Flat White

This article has given you a good comparison of Cortado Vs Flat white, and while I am a sucker for great cortado there are times that a flat white hits the spot for me, particularly when I want a milkier drink with more of a flavor punch from the distinctive ristretto base. 

Which do you prefer?

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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 Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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