Coffee Insight: Cortado vs Macchiato


There’s no doubt that coffee makes a significant part of most people’s daily routine. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer taking it early in the morning, drinking it leisurely during your free time, or enjoying it while on safari.

Since there are different types of coffee drinks, the choice is always yours. Regardless, it can be an uphill task merely comparing the different varieties of this universally popular beverage.

For instance, among the existing varieties of espresso drinks, there’re significant differences and similarities. Thus, we’ve endeavored to provide a clear insight into the essential characteristics that differentiate cortado vs macchiato. Moreover, you’ll learn how to prepare the drinks and how to discern the tastes.

Mastering the Difference: Cortado vs Macchiato

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Cortado refers to the process of adding milk foam to the espresso. The main difference between a cortado vs macchiato espressos is that a cortado involves extra milk foam. This richer milk addition makes the cortado have a creamier, less intense taste than a macchiato. Therefore, the method used to prepare the cortado extensively usually impacts its flavor.

Making cortado is a straightforward process. You first need to make the espresso and foam the milk. Mix the two. You can do this using a semi-automatic, automatic, or even a pod-style espresso machine.

Cortado is commonly served in a small glass, with a little foam layer. If you want to make a unique espresso drink, don’t hesitate to try a cortado; you’ll love it!

How to Prepare a Classic Macchiato Drink

Macchiato, on its part, involves adding a minimal amount of foamed milk to the espresso. Consequently, macchiato has a robust taste and is slightly bitterer vs the cortado. The final quality, however, depends on how one prepares the espresso.

To prepare the espresso, froth the milk and add a teaspoonful of foamed milk. Like with a cortado, you can use several methods to do this.

If you use a semi-automatic espresso machine, grind the coffee beans before pressing them into a container. Next, place the container into a machine and press the button to make the espresso. Keep in mind that using this machine guarantees maximum control over the process; thus, the final product will have a fresher taste.

Learn to Customize the Macchiato Taste to Preference

Several factors usually determine the taste of a macchiato. The preparation method is most crucial. If you use more milk foam, the product will have a less intense and creamy taste, close to the cortado.

The type of beans also determines the macchiato taste. If you use Arabica beans, the espresso will have a smoother and bitterer taste. If you use Robusta, the espresso will have a richer, bitterer flavor.

Overall, the size of the grind determines the macchiato taste. Using fine grinds results in a richer taste. However, a very fine grind will make the flavor bitter.

Typically, macchiato espresso is often served in a demitasse cup. This guarantees coffee lovers a little milk in their espresso. Moreover, the milk helps soften the relatively strong acidic taste.

If you crave a creamier and stronger drink in the flavor or a less milky taste, go ahead and try espresso macchiato.

Factors for the Similarities and Differences: Cortado vs Macchiato

Notably, cortado and macchiato espresso shades are strikingly similar. This is because both cortado and macchiato contain freshly steamed milk and espresso.

Further, the difference between the two varieties depends on the ratio between the milk and the espresso in these two delightful drinks. Whereas the creamy cortado consists of a 1:1 rate of frothed milk to espresso, macchiato has a 2:1 ratio of espresso to milk, resulting in a stronger espresso.

Also, cortado involves adding a lot of foamed milk to the espresso, while macchiato just needs a dot of milk. The result is that cortado generally tastes a little creamier than macchiato. Moreover, the milk used in making cortado and macchiato is always steamed. It is, however, less thick, textured, and bubblier with a macchiato.

Final Thoughts: Cortado vs Macchiato

Learning the similarities, differences, and preparation methods relevant to the two espresso coffee types means that you can make a better choice between settling for a cortado or a macchiato.

Yes, having mastered the basics, you can even take macchiato today and cortado the next day.

The ball is squarely in your court.

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