A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Differences Between Cortado and Cappuccino

Are you a coffee lover who likes to experiment with different types of espresso-based drinks? If so, you might have heard about cortado and cappuccino. These two popular coffee drinks are loved by many for their unique tastes and textures. But what exactly is the difference between cortado and cappuccino? In this blog post, we’ll dive into the details of each drink, compare them head-to-head, explore their pros and cons, share tips on how to make them at home like a pro barista, discuss their health benefits, suggest alternatives to try out if you’re feeling adventurous. So grab your favorite mug and let’s get brewing!

What is a Cortado ?

Cortado is a Spanish coffee drink that literally means “cut” in English. It’s made by pouring a shot of espresso into a small cup and adding steamed milk to it, which cuts the acidity of the espresso and creates a smooth, creamy texture.

The ratio of espresso to milk in cortado is usually 1:1 or 1:2, depending on personal preference. Unlike other milk-based drinks like cappuccino or latte, cortado has less foam and more dense milk. Its taste is strong but not overpowering, with subtle notes of sweetness from the steamed milk.

Cortado is often served in small glasses called Gibraltar or Duralex cups that hold around four ounces of liquid. This size makes it perfect for sipping slowly while enjoying its rich flavor. It’s popular among coffee aficionados who prefer their espresso shots tempered with just enough milk for balance without diluting its boldness.

Cortado is an excellent choice for those looking for an intense yet balanced coffee experience without too much fussiness involved.

What is a Cappuccino?

A cappuccino is a popular espresso-based coffee drink that originated in Italy. It is made by combining equal parts of espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk to create a creamy texture with a layer of foam on top.

The name “cappuccino” comes from the resemblance of the drink’s color to the robes worn by Capuchin monks. The traditional way to serve a cappuccino is in a small porcelain cup, which helps retain its heat and flavors.

Cappuccinos are versatile beverages that can be customized according to one’s preferences. Some people like their cappuccinos sweeter and add sugar or syrup while others prefer them stronger and opt for an extra shot of espresso.

One unique aspect of this beverage is its presentation. A skilled barista may craft intricate designs on top using the foam layer, known as latte art. This adds an aesthetic value to the drink that makes it more inviting and appealing.

Cappuccinos offer a rich taste with balanced sweetness that appeals to many coffee lovers around the world.

Comparison of the Two Coffee Drinks

When it comes to the world of coffee, there are so many different drinks to choose from. Two popular options that you may have heard of are cortado and cappuccino. While they may look similar at first glance, there are some key differences between these two beverages.

A cortado is a Spanish drink made with espresso and steamed milk. It typically has a 1:1 ratio of espresso to milk, which means it is stronger than your average latte or cappuccino. The result is a smooth and balanced flavor that still packs a punch.

On the other hand, a cappuccino is an Italian drink that also includes espresso and steamed milk. However, it has more foam on top than a cortado does. Typically, it has equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam.

So what’s the difference? Essentially, the main distinction between these two drinks comes down to their ratios of ingredients. A cortado has more espresso in relation to its amount of milk compared to a cappuccino.

If you’re looking for something slightly stronger with less frothiness – go for the cortado! If you prefer more foam on top then opt for its creamier counterpart- the classic cappuccino!

Pros and Cons of Cortado

Cortado is a delicious coffee drink that many people enjoy. However, there are both pros and cons to this beverage.

One of the biggest pros of cortado is its taste. Cortados have a rich flavor that blends the bitterness of espresso with the sweetness of steamed milk. This makes it an excellent choice for those who love coffee but want something a little more mellow than a traditional shot.

Another pro of cortado is its size. It’s much smaller than other coffee drinks like lattes or cappuccinos, which means you don’t have to worry about consuming too much caffeine or sugar in one sitting.

On the downside, cortados can be difficult to make at home without proper equipment. The perfect cortado requires precise measurements and temperature control, which may not be achievable with basic kitchen tools.

Additionally, some people might find that they prefer their coffee drinks sweeter or stronger than what a cortado offers. In this case, other beverages like lattes or mochas might be more appealing options.

While there are definitely some drawbacks to drinking cortados, its unique taste and small size make it an enjoyable indulgence for many coffee lovers out there!

Pros and Cons of Cappuccino

Cappuccino is one of the most popular coffee drinks in the world. It’s made by combining espresso, steamed milk, and frothy milk foam to create a creamy and delicious beverage. While cappuccinos are beloved by many coffee enthusiasts, there are also some drawbacks to consider.

One of the main pros of cappuccino is its versatility. You can customize your cappuccino with different types of milk or flavors like vanilla or caramel syrup. Additionally, cappuccinos are typically served in smaller portions than other coffee drinks, making them a great option for those who want to enjoy a rich and flavorful drink without consuming too much caffeine.

However, one downside to cappuccinos is that they can be quite high in calories if you choose whole milk or add sugary syrups. This means that they may not be the best choice for those watching their waistlines or trying to maintain a healthy diet.

Another potential con of cappuccinos is their price tag. Because they require more time and effort to make than regular drip coffee, they’re often more expensive at cafes or restaurants.

While there are certainly some downsides to drinking cappuccino on a regular basis, it remains an incredibly enjoyable and indulgent treat for many people around the world.

Tips for Making the Perfect Cortado or Cappuccino at Home

Making the perfect cortado or cappuccino at home can be a challenge, but with these tips, you’ll be able to create café-quality drinks in no time!

First and foremost, invest in a good quality espresso machine. While it may seem like an expensive purchase initially, it will pay off in the long run as you’ll be able to make your favorite coffee drinks from the comfort of your own home.

Once you have your espresso machine set up, start by heating up your milk. For a cortado, heat up about 3 ounces of milk in a small pitcher until it’s steaming hot but not boiling. For a cappuccino, use about 5-6 ounces of milk and froth it until there are small bubbles on top.

Next, pull an espresso shot into each cup. Use freshly roasted beans for the best taste and aroma.

Now comes the fun part – pouring the milk! Hold back any foam with a spoon while pouring warm milk over each shot for a cortado or pour equal parts foam and warm milk over each shot for a cappuccino.

Add any additional flavors or sweeteners if desired such as vanilla syrup or cinnamon powder on top.

With these tips in mind and some practice under your belt, you’ll soon become an expert at making delicious cortados and cappuccinos right at home!

Health Benefits of Both Beverages

Both cortado and cappuccino have some health benefits, but it’s important to note that these drinks are not exactly considered “healthy” since they contain caffeine, sugar, and dairy. However, in moderation, both beverages can provide certain advantages.

Cortado is a great option for those who want a coffee drink with less milk than a latte or cappuccino. Since cortado consists of espresso mixed with steamed milk in equal parts, it has fewer calories than other milk-based drinks while still providing the energy boost from caffeine.

On the other hand, cappuccino contains more frothed milk than cortado which makes it creamier. Although this means more calories compared to cortado, the added calcium from the excess milk provides various benefits such as stronger bones and teeth.

Both beverages also contain antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and improve overall health. Additionally, studies show that moderate caffeine consumption (less than 400mg per day) can improve mental alertness and cognitive function.

While neither beverage is necessarily “healthy,” consuming them in moderation can provide certain benefits without harming your health.

Alternatives to Cortado and Cappuccino

If you’re looking for something different than a cortado or cappuccino, there are plenty of other coffee drinks to try. Here are some alternatives to consider.

1. Americano: This drink is made by adding hot water to a shot of espresso, creating a milder and larger cup of coffee.

2. Latte: A latte is similar to a cappuccino but with more milk and less foam. It usually has one shot of espresso and steamed milk poured over it.

3. Mocha: If you have a sweet tooth, then the mocha might be your go-to drink as it combines chocolate syrup with espresso and steamed milk.

4. Macchiato: This Italian word means “stained” or “marked,” so in this case, an espresso shot is marked with just a dollop of frothy milk on top.

5. Flat white: Originating from Australia and New Zealand, this drink has become quite popular all around the world recently due to its creamy texture that comes from steamed whole milk poured over two shots of espresso.

While these are just some examples, there are many other delicious coffee beverages out there waiting for you to explore!


After analyzing the differences between cortado and cappuccino, it is clear that each coffee drink has its own unique taste and characteristics. Cortado offers a richer flavor with less milk and foam, while cappuccino provides a creamier texture with more frothy milk.

When it comes to health benefits, both beverages have similar advantages such as boosting energy levels and improving mood. However, excessive consumption of these drinks can also lead to negative effects like jitteriness and insomnia.

Whether you prefer cortado or cappuccino ultimately depends on your personal taste preference. It’s always worth experimenting with different coffee drinks to see what suits you best. With the right equipment and ingredients, making the perfect cortado or cappuccino at home is within reach for any coffee lover!