A cortado is a beverage that consists of espresso coffee mixed with a roughly equal amount of warm milk to reduce the acidity. The word cortado is the past participle of the Spanish verb cortar (to cut), in the sense of "dilute". Cortado is a well known drink in Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and also in London.
Other names and variations
A cortado is also known as "Tallat" in Catalan, "Ebaki" in Basque, "Pingo" or "Garoto" in Portuguese and "noisette" in French. In the United States its name varies largely by region. On the East Coast, it is generally known as a cortado, and on the West Coast, it is similar to a drink called a "Gibraltar", which is made with medium steam-frothed milk. The name Gibraltar originated in San Francisco, California, where roasters – first Blue Bottle Coffee Company, later Ritual Coffee Roasters and others – started the cortado trend by serving the drink in Libbey Glass Company glassware by the same name. In the Czech Republic, Costa Coffee sells cortado under the marketing name ‘Corto classic’.
In Cuba, it is known as a cortadito. It's usually served in a special glass, often with a metal ring base and a metal wire handle. There are several variations, including cortado condensada, café con leche condensada or bombón (espresso with condensed milk,) and leche y leche (with condensed milk and cream on top). Brought to the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, Florida, by Cuban-Americans in the 1960s, the drink is now found throughout the city, and is an important part of everyday culture, particularly among Cubans. However, the cortadito is a drink distinct from Cuban-style coffee, which includes sugar in addition to milk, and has its own brewing method as espresso.
However a cortado is made in non Spanish-speaking countries, it should be distinguished from the Italian caffè macchiato or cappuccino. A macchiato has only a small amount (a spot) of milk foam added, while a cappuccino has both foam and milk. A similar drink in Australia is known as a piccolo latte, or simply a piccolo. This is a single ristretto shot in a macchiato glass that is filled with steamed milk in the same fashion as a cafe latte. A larger drink, popular in Portugal, is the galão, which uses 1:3 proportions but is otherwise similar to a cortado.
- Nguyen, Tien (February 10, 2011), "Drink This Now: Cognoscenti Coffee's On-the-Menu Cortado", LA Weekly
- Strand, Oliver (March 4, 2010), "A Cortado Is Not a Minivan", T: The New York Times Style Magazine
- Daniel Young (March 2009), Gibraltar, San Francisco's Cult Coffee, Comes to London, archived from the original on January 2016
- "Nápoje" [Drinks] (in Czech).
Corto classic. Jemná a krémová káva, ze dvou shotů směsi Mocha Italia, s mléčnou pěnou zdobenou technikou latté art.
- "What is a Piccolo Latte?", Cafe Culture, August 15, 2011
- The dictionary definition of cortado at Wiktionary