Macchiato Vs Cortado – Differences And Similarities

You’re an aficionado of coffee, an expert in the art of brewing and sipping this delightful beverage. You’ve tried every type of espresso-based drink imaginable, from lattes to cappuccinos. But have you ever wondered about the differences and similarities between two popular drinks: macchiato and cortado?

Get ready for a journey into the world of espresso as we compare and contrast these two delicious drinks.

Macchiato and cortado are both hot beverages made with espresso, but they differ in several ways. One might say that they are like siblings – they share many traits but also possess unique characteristics that set them apart.

Understanding how these drinks differ can help you choose which one to order next time you visit your favorite coffee shop or prepare it at home. So let’s dive in and explore what makes macchiato vs cortado so special!

Key Takeaways

  • Macchiato has a stronger espresso flavor and a layer of foam on top, while cortado has a more balanced flavor profile and smoother texture.
  • The main difference between the two drinks is the milk-to-espresso ratio and overall flavor profile.
  • Preparation of milk temperature and texture is crucial for taste and presentation.
  • Both drinks offer unique tastes catering to different preferences and can be customized with variations and additions such as syrups and spices.

A Table Comparing Macchiato And Cortado

IngredientsEspresso, a little bit of Milk FoamEqual parts of Espresso and Steamed Milk
PreparationMostly Espresso with a dot of Foam1/2 Espresso, 1/2 Steamed Milk
Texture and FoamMore liquid, less foam, larger portion of espressoBalanced, less foam, equal parts of espresso and milk
Taste and Flavor ProfileStrong, intense espresso flavorMilder than macchiato due to equal parts of milk, yet stronger than latte
Serving SizesTypically 1-2 ozTypically 4-6 oz
Caffeine ContentVaries, but generally around 64 mg for a 2 oz servingVaries, but generally around 75 mg for a 4.5 oz serving
Popular VariationsFlavored syrups, different types of milkFlavored syrups, different types of milk
Nutritional ValuesDepends on milk and additional ingredients used, typically lower in calories than a cortado due to less milkDepends on milk and additional ingredients used, typically higher in calories than a macchiato due to more milk

What Are The Main Differences Between Macchiato And Cortado

You’ll want to know that the main differences between a macchiato and cortado lie in their milk-to-espresso ratio and overall flavor profile.

A macchiato is an espresso shot with a small amount of steamed milk added on top, creating a layered look. This tiny amount of milk adds a subtle sweetness and creaminess to the drink without overpowering the bold taste of the espresso.

On the other hand, a cortado is made by adding equal parts espresso and steamed milk, resulting in a more balanced flavor profile. The increased milk volume also creates a smoother texture compared to that of a macchiato.

While both drinks have similar origins and are often served in smaller portions, it’s important to note these key differences when deciding which one you prefer.

Macchiato And Cortado Ingredients

Did you know what goes into these two popular espresso drinks, the macchiato and cortado? Well, the ingredients for both are quite simple, including espresso and milk. However, there are differences in the way these two coffee drinks are made that can affect their taste and texture.

Here’s a list of the main ingredients of macchiato and cortado:

  1. Espresso – Both drinks use a single shot of espresso as their base.
  2. Milk – Macchiato is topped with steamed milk foam while cortado has warm milk added to it.
  3. Size – The size of each drink also differs, with macchiato being smaller than cortado.
  4. Ratio – The ratio of coffee to milk is also different between the two, with cortado having more milk than macchiato.

These small differences in ingredients can make a big impact on how each drink tastes and feels in your mouth. Whether you prefer a stronger coffee flavor or something creamier, knowing the ingredients of these popular espresso drinks can help you choose which one to try next time you’re at your local coffee shop!

Macchiato And Cortado Preparation

When preparing a macchiato or cortado, the temperature and texture of the milk play a crucial role in achieving the desired taste and presentation.

For a macchiato, you’ll need to steam the milk until it reaches a velvety texture with small bubbles. This can be achieved by placing the tip of your steam wand just below the surface of the milk. The goal is to create microfoam that will sit on top of your espresso shot once poured.

On the other hand, for a cortado, you’ll need to heat up your milk until it reaches around 120°F or 49°C while keeping its texture creamy and velvety without too much foam. This can be done by positioning your steam wand further down into the milk jug to create more heat but less froth compared to steaming for a macchiato.

Once heated up, pour it over an espresso shot leaving enough room for latte art if desired. By paying attention to these subtle differences in preparation between these two espresso drinks, you can achieve a perfect balance and harmony between coffee and milk every time!

Macchiato And Cortado Taste

Experience the rich, velvety texture of steamed milk and espresso harmoniously blending together in every sip, tantalizing your taste buds with a symphony of flavors.

The taste of a macchiato and cortado may seem similar at first glance, but there are subtle differences that can be detected upon closer inspection.

A macchiato has a stronger espresso flavor due to the ratio of espresso to milk being more heavily weighted towards espresso. It also has a layer of foam on top, which adds a creamy texture to each sip.

On the other hand, a cortado has a milder espresso flavor as it is balanced evenly with the steamed milk. Its smooth and silky texture makes for an easy-drinking experience.

Both drinks offer unique tastes that cater to different preferences – those who prefer their coffee strong and bold may opt for a macchiato while those who prefer something smoother may enjoy a cortado.

Variations and Customizations Of Macchiato And Cortado

You can customize your milk preference and flavor profile by adding syrups or spices to both the macchiato and cortado. For example, you can add vanilla syrup to a macchiato for a sweeter taste or cinnamon to a cortado for a spicier kick. Additionally, you can choose between regular milk, almond milk, soy milk, or other non-dairy options based on your dietary preferences.

While both the macchiato and cortado have their own unique taste profiles, there are also variations of each that further differentiate them. A popular variation of the macchiato is the caramel macchiato, which adds caramel syrup and whipped cream on top of an espresso shot with steamed milk.

On the other hand, some cafes may serve a Gibraltar instead of a traditional cortado – this drink uses less milk but has more espresso than a typical cortado. Ultimately, these variations allow for even more customization and personalization based on individual taste preferences.


Congratulations! You’re now well-versed in the differences and similarities between a macchiato and a cortado. By now, you should know that while they share some similarities, such as their coffee and milk components, their preparation methods and taste profiles differ significantly.

When it comes to macchiatos, the espresso shot is the star of the show, with just enough milk added to create a bold yet smooth taste.

On the other hand, cortados have an equal balance of espresso and steamed milk for a more mellow but still satisfying flavor.

Overall, both drinks offer unique experiences that cater to different taste preferences. So whether you prefer your coffee strong and robust or light and creamy, there’s a perfect drink waiting for you at your local café.

Now go forth and order with confidence – maybe even try customizing your drink with flavored syrups or alternative milks for an extra twist on these classic beverages!

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.