Learn how to make a creamy smooth Spanish Cortado, with a balance of equal parts steamed milk and espresso. This style of coffee originated in Spain and is popular all around the world. It’s an elevated yet approachable drink that takes less than 10-minutes to make.

milk pouring into a cortado

If you’ve ever traveled to a Spanish speaking country, chances are you picked up on the universal love of coffee. It’s more than just a drink, celebrated as a way of life and a serious morning (sometimes afternoon & evening) ritual.

The cortado originated in Spain and is a 1:1 blend of steamed, frothy milk with smooth and creamy freshly brewed espresso. The name cortado translates to ‘cut’ in Spanish, a reference to the strong coffee being cut with milk.

This simple but distinguished drink is the perfect example of how Spanish culture infuses passion and elegance into daily life.

An otherwise ordinary cup of coffee with cream becomes an sophisticated textural experience, with foamy light milk and silky smooth coffee, in perfect harmony.

More coffee recipes you will love: The espresso martini, a cup of Moroccan coffee and, of course, café con leche.

a shot of espresso and steamed milk

What Makes a Cortado Special?

What makes a cortado unique? It’s that signature 1:1 blend of 2 ounces espresso with 2 ounces of milk.

This rule is what sets this drink apart from a latte or a cappuccino, which both have their own signature ratios of espresso to milk and foam.

Ingredients

Find the full ingredient list with exact quantities in the recipe card below.

  • Espresso: If you don’t already have a bag of espresso ground beans, you can buy some or ask your local coffee shop to provide this special grind.
  • Whole Milk: The whole milk is key in this recipe as it provides an important richness and stems really well.

If you’re looking for the best plant based alternative to whole milk, I recommend using a full fat oat milk.

espresso brewing into a glass

Step by Step Instructions

Perfect Pairings

When you enjoy a cortado at a coffee shop or at home, it’s really up to you how you’d like to enjoy it. Like most coffee drinks, this one goes great with pastries, breakfast foods, sweets, and on it’s own.

Here are some of my favorite Puerto Rican sweets to enjoy with one:

a cortado in a glass

3 Tips for Brewing Silky Smooth Espresso

  1. Prep properly: Make sure your machine is clean to guarantee a smooth end result.
  2. Measure: Measure out your espresso grounds to make sure you’ve got the right does for your machine. This will make certain that your espresso will be strong and silky.
  3. Tamp, tamp, tamp! This step is important in ensuring the brewing water extracts maximum flavor from the coffee.
milk pouring into a cortado

Special Equipment / Storage / Variations

  • Espresso Machine
  • Milk Steamer / Frother

If you’re looking to invest in an espresso machine, most will include the milk steaming attachment. Today I’m using a Breville Bambino.

Otherwise, you can use a handheld frothing tool or add your warm milk to a mason jar, cover with a lid, and shake up until frothy.

a cortado in a glass

More Coffee Recipes

Buen Provecho,

Salima written in cursive
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milk pouring into a cortado

10-Minute Cortado (1:1 Espresso & Steamed Milk)

  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x
  • Category: drinks, beverages
  • Method: Brewed, Steamed
  • Cuisine: Spanish
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Learn how to make a creamy smooth Spanish Cortado, with a balance of equal parts steamed milk and espresso. This style of coffee originated in Spain and is popular all around the world. It’s an elevated yet approachable drink that takes less than 10-minutes to make.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 ounces espresso (about 15 grams or 1 tablespoon of ground espresso)
  • 2 ounces whole milk (see note for plant based option)


Instructions

  1. Brew the espresso. Clean your machine before measuring out your grounds, tamping down, and brewing 2 ounces of espresso into a 4.5 ounce glass.
  2. Froth the milk. Steam & froth 2 ounces of whole milk in a separate container.
  3. Combine. Pour the milk into the glass with the espresso, latte art optional.
  4. Enjoy!

Notes

  • If you’re looking for the best plant based alternative to whole milk, I recommend using a full fat oat milk.

Keywords: cortado