Difference Between Cortado And Latte - Read This First!

Difference Between Cortado And Latte – Read This First!

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 21:11

When you learn the subtle difference between cortado and latte, you will know which of these two coffee drinks are most suited to your own particular coffee taste and gusto.

To give you a quick outline of the difference, a cortado is made with a double shot of espresso while a latte is made with a single shot. They have different coffee to milk ratios: one uses a 1:1 ratio while the other is a 1:2 ratio.

But which uses which ratio?

Keep reading to find out!

Difference Between Cortado And Latte – The Main And Obvious Differences

There are a lot of differences between these two coffee drinks. The most obvious and evident difference is the size of the coffee drinks as a latte is notably larger than a cortado coffee.

The other obvious difference is the cortado ratio and the latte ratio, which produce a very different coffee taste.

  • Cortado ratio: 1:1 ratio of espresso to milk.
  • Latte ratio: 1:2 ratio of espresso to milk.

The different ratios mean that a cortado has a much stronger coffee taste while a latte has a more milky taste due to a greater coffee to milk ratio.

A very subtle difference, one that is often overlooked, is the type of steamed milk used. Both these coffee drinks use a different type of steamed milk.

  • Cortado: Textured milk.
  • Latte: Steamed milk.

Textured milk is simply steamed milk that has not been frothed.

Difference Between Cortado And Latte
Difference Between Cortado And Latte

Read: Iced Cortado

What Is A Cortado?

A cortado is a short 4-ounce Spanish coffee drink with origins in the Basque Country. It’s a coffee beverage made with a double espresso shot with textured milk in equal parts.

It is served in 4.5 ounce Gibraltar glass.

It’s a strong coffee with balanced espresso flavor that cuts through the milk content better and easier than a caffe latte. A touch, a small amount of foam is added. Like a latte, a cortado can have latte art on top.

The Origins Of A Cortado

A cortado has its origins in Spain, particularly in the Basque Country. It’s a coffee drink that is popular all over Latin America, the Caribbean and the entire Iberian Peninsula.

The name comes from the past participle of the Spanish verb “cortar” which means to cut. It is also from the word, “corto” which is from the same verb, meaning “short” which is exactly what a cortado is, a short coffee.

Variations Of A Cortado And Flavor Profile

A cortado is strong yet smooth, very smooth and soft coffee with a silky velvet-like texture with an espresso flavor that dominates more than that of a latte.

A cortado coffee is a very balanced drink that has all the great flavors of the coffee and the milk coming together perfectly.

It is very uncommon for flavored syrups, flavored coffee beans and spices to be added to a cortado. There are a few popular variations where the drink is made with condensed milk, or evaporated milk.

Although it is not common for non-dairy milk to be used, I have seen oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk and soy milk cortados in gourmet coffee shops in Spain.

A cortadito, in Spain, is the baby brother of a cortado made with a single espresso shot and an equal amount of milk. In Cuba, a cortadito is a regular cortado with a different name.

In other countries, a cortado may be known as Gibraltar.

Variations Of A Cortado
A Cortado In A Gibraltar Glass

Read: Cortado Vs Latte Vs Cappuccino

Brewing Method – How Is It Made?

A traditional cortado is easy to make. It’s a double espresso with equal parts espresso and textured milk. The serving size is 4 ounces (120 ml).

The drink is very smooth and is normally not stirred. The only stirring happens if a drinker adds sugar. The calorie content is 15 to 30 calories per serving with the variation due to the type of milk used, which incidentally is whole fat milk for an original and authentic cortado coffee.

There is approximately 150 mg of caffeine in a cortado; be warned this is a strong drink.

What Is A Latte?

A latte, which has its origins in Italy, is one of the most popular espresso coffee drinks with milk. They are very mild and great for beginners getting into coffee and can be customized to suit personal tastes.

Demographically, a latte is most popular with Asian-Americans aged 25 to 39.

The Origins Of A Latte

The latte, often called a caffe latte or café latte, is an espresso-based coffee drink with milk which originates in Italy. Latte simply means with milk, and thus caffe latte – coffee with milk.

In France a café au lait, which literally translates to coffee with milk, should not be mistaken with a latte as a café au lait is made with brewed coffee and served in a wide brimmed bowl like coffee mug.

In Spain, a café con leche is much more similar to a latte but is a distinctly different drink as it is made with scalded milk and not steamed milk, a very subtle difference.

The term caffe latte was first used in a William Dean Howell essay in 1867.

The Origins Of A Latte
A Traditional Latte

Read: Cortado Vs Latte

Variations Of A Latte And Flavor Profile

A latte is quite literally the most customizable coffee drink that you will find, anywhere. The combination of steamed milk and espresso and milk froth created a creamy coffee beverage with a rich, silky and velvet-like and very exquisite mouthfeel with a light coffee flavor.

When the heated milk is steamed and frothed, the resulting texture coats your tongue for extra flavor.

There is literally no limit to the flavor that you can make with a latte. Some popular flavored lattes are:

  • Pumpkin spice.
  • Hazelnut.
  • Mocha.
  • Vanilla.
  • Caramel.
  • Salted Caramel.
  • Nutmeg.
  • Coconut.
  • Cinnamon.

The flavoring is usually from flavored syrups but can also be from spices and flavored coffee beans.

There are a wide range of alternative milks that can be used to make a latte too, including coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk and oat milk being popular options. A latte can also be made with half-and-half cream, which is the case of a breve latte.

An espresso con panna, which is similar to a latte, is an espresso with heavy cream and highlights the possibility of a latte being made with heavy cream.

Piccolo latte is a slight variation of a latte. It’s a shot of ristretto with steamed milk.

I did say it is one of the most customizable drinks!

Brewing Method – How Is It Made?

A latte is made with a single shot of espresso and steamed milk using a coffee to milk ratio of 1:2 ratio with a layer of foamed milk on top. It is very common for latte art to be added to the top of this drink.

A latte can be made and enjoyed as it is or over ice for a tasty summer coffee drink.

Even though a traditional latte is made with whole fat milk, any milk can be used. When using alternative milk the Barista brand is best as regular non-dairy milk can be problematic for using with coffee drinks due to them curdling.

A standard latte has 75 mg of caffeine and 100 calories.

Variations Of A Latte
A Latte Comes With Beautiful Latte Art

Cortado Ratio And Latte Ratio

The espresso to milk ratio for each of these coffee beverages is as follows:

  • Cortado Ratio: 1:1, equal parts of espresso and milk.
  • Latte Ratio: 1:2, there is twice as much milk as espresso.

Speaking of ratios, the coffee to water ratio for the espresso shot used is typically 1:2.

Cortado And A Latte – The Calorie Count

The calorie count in each of these two drinks is vast. A latte can vary widely depending on what you add to it, the type of milk and how many pumps of flavored syrup.

A bare naked latte, with nothing added and made with whole milk, has approximately 100 calories. Compared to a cortado which has 15 to 30 calories.

The amount of calories in a latte can get as far as 250 to 300 due to the additional ingredients.

You can also make a latte go in the opposite direction by using alternative milk to lower the calorie count.

This is also a “trick” that you can use to lower the calories in a cortado also.

Cortado And A Latte The Caffeine Content

There is twice as much caffeine in a cortado as latte due to a latte being made with a single shot of espresso and a double shot being used to make a cortado.

  • Latte: 75 mg of caffeine.
  • Cortado: 150 mg of caffeine.

Frequently Asked Questions About Difference Between Cortado And Latte

No, a latte is not the same as a cortado. Both coffee drinks have the milk used to make them in different ratios. A latte has a coffee to milk ratio of 1:2 while a cortado coffee has a ratio of 1:1. Also, the type of steamed milk used is different. A Latte uses steamed milk while a cortado is made with textured milk.

The amount of coffee is also different as a cortado is made with a double espresso shot and a latte a single espresso shot.

That about sums up briefly a cortado vs latte and their differences.

How Is A Spanish Latte Different?

A Spanish latte, known as a café con leche differs from a regular latte due to the type of milk used. A latte is made with steamed milk while a café con leche is made with scalded milk.

Is Cortado Stronger Than Latte?

Yes, a cortado coffee is stronger than a latte due to having a more focused coffee to milk ratio of 1:1 meaning the taste of coffee cuts through the creaminess of the milk easier and is more notable. Between these two, the coffee drink with the highest caffeine content is the cortado due to being made with two shots of espresso compared to the single shot of a latte.

What Is The Most Popular Coffee Drink In Spain?

By far, a café con leche is the most popular coffee drink in Spain. Other popular coffee beverages in Spain are café solo, and of course a cortado.

Do You Put Sugar In A Cortado?

A traditional cortado, which has its origins in the Basque Country, you are not supposed to add sugar. However, I have made tens of thousands of cortados while working in coffee shops in Spain during my current 12+ year residency in the country I can absolutely tell you that it is very common for local Spaniards to add sugar to their cortados.

Should I Stir A Cortado?

It is up to you if you want to stir yoru cortado or not. I have never seen a local Spaniard stir their cortado without first adding sugar. Those that enjoy their drink as it is tend not to stir it. However, in my opinion, if you order a cortado from a coffee shop it is best that you stir it to get a more even distribution of milk and espresso.

Final Thoughts – Difference Between Cortado And Latte

Now that you know the difference between cortado and latte, you will know which of these two coffees meets your needs, tastes and will fulfill your enjoyment.

Both are very easy to make, and thus you have no excuses!

Join our online coffee community and join in by sharing your coffee creations, amazing latte art, and those tasty recipes. I double dare you to post some funny coffee jokes and coffee memes. 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 Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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