Cortado Vs Cappuccino – Differences And Similarities

Last Updated on: 25th August 2023, 07:31 pm

Are you a coffee lover who enjoys exploring different types of espresso-based drinks? If so, you may have encountered two popular and similar-looking beverages – cortado and cappuccino. While both beverages contain espresso and milk, there are subtle differences in their preparation, ingredients, and taste.

We will dive deeper into cortado vs. cappuccino to help you understand the nuances between these two drinks.

Firstly, let’s explore the main differences between cortado and cappuccino. A cortado is a Spanish-originated drink that consists of equal parts espresso and steamed milk with just a little foam on top. On the other hand, a cappuccino is an Italian drink that comprises one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk, and one-third frothed milk on top. These ratios alone indicate how differently each drink is prepared and served.

However, other factors, such as temperature variations and serving sizes, make them stand apart. So sit back with your favorite brew as we take you through the fascinating journey of these two classic coffee drinks!

What Are The Main Differences Between Cappuccino And Cortado

What’s the main difference between cappuccino and cortado? Let’s say you’re in a rush and want a quick caffeine fix – if you order a cappuccino, you’ll get a larger drink with more milk foam, while a cortado is smaller and has less milk.

The cappuccino is typically made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam. The espresso sits at the bottom of the cup, followed by an even layer of steamed milk, and finally topped off with thick milk foam. This results in a layered drink often enjoyed slowly to savor each distinct layer.

On the other hand, the cortado is made with one or two shots of espresso mixed with an equal amount of warm or steamed milk. This creates a velvety texture without too much froth or foam. The result is a smooth coffee taste that isn’t diluted by too much-added dairy.

Despite its smaller size, many people find the cortado stronger than a cappuccino due to its higher concentration of espresso per ounce.

Overall, while both drinks contain espresso and milk, the differences lie in their ratios and preparation methods, resulting in distinctive flavor profiles for each drink.

Cappuccino And Cortado Ingredients

You’ll love how the rich, creamy milk blends perfectly with the strong espresso in these delicious coffee beverages – cortado and cappuccino. The main difference between them is the ratio of milk to espresso.

Here are the ingredients that make up each drink:

  1. Cortado: This Spanish-originated drink comprises equal parts of espresso and steamed milk.
  2. Cappuccino: This Italian classic has a 1:1:1 ratio of espresso, steamed, and frothed milk.

It’s important to note that both drinks use high-quality espresso as their base ingredient. Additionally, the type of milk used can greatly impact the overall taste and texture. While whole milk is traditionally used for both cortados and cappuccinos, alternative milk such as almond or oat can be substituted for those who are lactose intolerant or prefer a non-dairy option.

Overall, whether you prefer a stronger or creamier coffee experience, cortado and cappuccino have unique flavor profiles that will satisfy any coffee lover’s cravings.

Cappuccino And Cortado Preparation

As you make these delectable coffee beverages, imagine yourself as a skilled artist painting a masterpiece. The preparation of both cortado and cappuccino requires precision and attention to detail. However, some key differences in the preparation process set them apart.

Firstly, the main difference lies in the ratio of milk to espresso. A cappuccino is typically made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam. On the other hand, a cortado has less milk and more espresso in comparison. To make a cortado, an espresso is poured into a small glass filled with warm milk to reduce acidity.

This results in a smooth, velvety texture that balances out the strong flavor of espresso. In contrast, making a cappuccino involves frothing or steaming the milk to create microfoam for latte art before adding it to the espresso shot. These differences in preparation might seem subtle, but result in two distinctly different coffee experiences for aficionados looking for their caffeine fix.

To further illustrate these differences between cortado and cappuccino preparations, here is an easy-to-understand table:

BeverageEspressoSteamed/Frothed MilkFoam
Cappuccino1 shot (30 ml)60-70ml (2 oz)20-30 ml (1 oz)
Cortado1 shot (30 ml)40-50ml (1.5 oz)None

The table highlights how much more milk goes into making cappuccinos than cortados while also showing how foam plays an important role in cappuccinos’ preparation process, thus resulting in distinct variations between these popular coffee drinks!

Cappuccino And Cortado Taste

Get ready to experience the rich and creamy taste of two popular coffee beverages – cortado and cappuccino. While both drinks have similarities, their taste differs subtly yet significantly.

The cortado has a smooth texture, with a slightly caramel-like flavor from the milk’s natural sweetness. The espresso adds a bold kick to the drink, making it perfect for those who prefer strong coffee but not overpowering.

On the other hand, cappuccino has a sweeter taste profile because of the added frothed milk, which balances out the bitterness of espresso in every sip.

Variations and Customizations Of Cappuccino And Cortado

Ready to explore the endless possibilities of customizing your favorite coffee beverages? Both cortado and cappuccino offer various variations and customizations that cater to individual preferences.

For instance, you can add different flavors, such as vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, or even pumpkin spice syrup to your cappuccino or cortado. Additionally, you can adjust the amount of steamed milk in both beverages according to your taste preference.

One major difference between cortado and cappuccino is the ratio of espresso and milk used in each drink. While cortado has less steamed milk than a cappuccino, it still offers enough creaminess to balance out the strong espresso flavor. However, if you prefer a stronger coffee taste with minimal milk foam, a cortado might suit you.

On the other hand, if you want a frothy and creamy cup of coffee with an equal balance of espresso and steamed milk, then cappuccino is your go-to option. Ultimately, whether you choose to customize your cortado or cappuccino depends on what satisfies your taste buds best!


Congratulations! You’re now well-versed in the differences and similarities between cappuccino and cortado. As a coffee lover, exploring various coffee beverages and understanding their nuances is always fascinating.

Did you know that, according to a recent survey, cappuccino is the most popular espresso-based drink worldwide? It’s not hard to see why – with its creamy texture and balanced flavor, it’s a staple for many coffee enthusiasts.

On the other hand, cortado has been gaining popularity over the years, especially in Spain and Latin America. While both drinks have similar ingredients (espresso and milk), they differ significantly in preparation, taste, and overall experience.

Cappuccino is typically served in a larger cup with more milk foam than cortado. Meanwhile, a cortado is served in a smaller glass or cup with less milk foam, allowing a stronger espresso taste.

Ultimately, cappuccino and cortado offer unique experiences catering to different preferences. Whether you prefer bold or creamy coffee, there’s no denying that these two drinks have earned their place among the classics of espresso-based drinks.

Mike Shaw

Mike is a fervent aficionado of all things coffee. His journey has taken him from the verdant coffee farms of South America to the vibrant coffeehouses of Europe and many places in between. Over the years, he's delved deep into the intricate tapestry of coffee, savoring, brewing, and analyzing myriad varieties. For Mike, coffee transcends its role as a morning energizer; it's a world waiting to be explored and cherished.