Macchiato vs Cortado Coffee – What Make Them Distinctive?

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The differences between macchiato vs cortado still confuse many drinkers. It’s because they are less popular than the other high-grade types of coffee.

However, these two names are truly interesting to discover for coffee aficionados. At first glance, these two types of coffee are relatively similar.

It is possible to realize their similarities easily because they are espresso with a combination of milk to make the special flavor. But this similarity also makes it difficult to distinguish between the two. Worry not. We’ve got you covered. This article will be promising to provide significantly useful information about these types of drinks. Scroll down to know more!

Macchiato vs Cortado: Definition Of Each Type

Cortado

The original interpretation of cortado will make you surprised and curious. According to several pieces of research and documents, a cortado is quite an interesting name. What is the meaning of cortado? What makes this name attractive and special? 

We would like to invite you to make a trip to Spain and enjoy a mellow glass of coffee with a little amount of milk. The Spanish use the word “cortado” to name such a glass of espresso.

Cortado means “cutting” based on the definition of the Spanish. This definition is also similar to the dilution of cortado together with the available amount of milk.  

In Spain, most coffee lovers are fond of properly adding a warm amount of milk in a glass of coffee to enjoy any time or when waking up in the morning. Cortado has become a popular and familiar beverage in Spain. 

This is a favorite and sweet flavored drink for the Cuban as well. The people in Cuba changed the name to cortadito to make it suitable for their coffee drinking style. 

Because it is quite difficult to look for fresh milk, the Cuban Cortadito is primarily combined with condensed type to make it deeply sweet. A Cortadito glass will make the Cuban de-stress and comfortable after a hectic working day.  

Bombón, Leche y Leche, condensada are some of its main variants in Spain and several other countries.  

Macchiato

If cortado is a favorite and special drink in Spain, a macchiato is a type of beverage that shows the impressive coffee style of the Italian. Macchiato coffee, also named Espresso macchiato, is one of the well-known drinks in Italy. 

Like several other kinds of drinks, such as Latte or Cappuccino, the main ingredients of macchiato are espresso and foam. Macchiato is more special than the other drinks due to its fattish foamed layer on the top. This is also the reason why it is more intensely flavored than others. 

The Italian baristas use the name macchiato to distinguish it from the other similar types of coffees. The meaning of macchiato is “speckled” or “marked” in the Italian definition. The term will evoke an enjoyable image of a sweet foamed cup of joe. 

Macchiato has been existing in several countries all over the world for a long time. However, this name has become more and more popular in Italy from the 20th century up to now. There are two main variants: Latte macchiato and Espresso macchiato.

Macchiato vs Cortado Coffee: What Are Differences?

Amount Of Milk

Milk and coffee are two key components of macchiato, but this type uses foamed milk. What is it? It is an eye-catching and unique milky layer on the top for covering the coffee layer. You can use a specialized machine to produce the foam with the little bubbles.

Principally, you only get 1-2 teaspoons of milk for mixing with the espresso to have a completed cup of macchiato. With only such a tiny volume, the taste will not change that much. This also explains why it is still concentrated-flavored and delicious.  

The form of milk that cortado uses is relatively different from its counterpart. It favors the steamed milk and mixes it with a greater amount. You will get the steamed successfully by using the steaming wand or heating without the small bubbles inside the stove. 

Due to the greater amount of milk, even up to over 50%, cortado looks creamier, softer, and tastes sweeter.    

Based on the difference in the amount of milk of the two, drinkers can freely choose one out of them. If you would love to enjoy the sharply sweet taste, a Spanish-styled glass of cortado is quite ideal for you. 

In some cases, you only would like to sip an Italian-styled cup of java with a tiny amount of milk. Macchiato is the way to go. 

Form Of Serving

The next distinction between the two kinds is how it is served. A demitasse cup is specialized to serve macchiato for the drinkers to enjoy. 

For another type of espresso, baristas or servers will get a glass and pour the espresso together with the respective amount of steamed milk. 

This type of glass is almost the same as a tall glass for refreshers or flavored beverages.  It is wonderful for you to enjoy a glass of cortado in the early morning before working or at the coffee shops anytime. 

Taste And Smell

Taste and smell are two essential elements to enjoy and assess the quality of cuppa, including macchiato and cortado. The different amounts of milk result in their distinctive taste and smell. 

Cortado uses the equal ratio of the steamed milk for mixing evenly with the parts of coffee. This proportion will make this espresso smoother and softer. As a result, the taste becomes moderately sweet, and its flavor is more gentle and comfortable.  

In contrast, the taste of macchiato is relatively bitter, and its smell is significantly intense. Due to the small volume of milk on the top, the greater amount of espresso primarily contributes to the typical taste and flavor of this kind.  

Besides, some other factors, including the brewing, roasting the coffee beans, origin, and quality, also influence substantially the taste and smell of the two drinks.  

Recipe For Making

Making a glass of cortado or a cup of macchiato is not the same.

In terms of this type of espresso, the key ingredient for its delicious taste is a double shot of espresso. You have to grind black roasted beans finely first to brew espresso. An espresso machine will make the brewing process more convenient and rapid. 

Besides, you should prepare necessary things for an easier making process. You need to dry and clean the coffee filter to keep the appropriate pureness of espresso. The next step is to make steamed milk. A steaming wand will be extremely useful for getting it. 

In some cases, if you don’t have a steam wand, you can replace it with the stove using the heating adjustment.  

When the espresso and milk are ready, mix cleverly and properly the volume of these two ingredients in one specialized glass. The rule of thumb is to use a 1:1 ratio for these ingredients.  

You should use another small cup to check the size of espresso and milk first. The measurement will help you balance and adjust their amount to your liking. Lastly, you can comfortably enjoy a full-flavored and attractive glass of espresso. 

For macchiato, a single shot of espresso is required. Again, an espresso machine will brew a single shot of espresso easily at a suitable temperature. 

After brewing a single shot of espresso, you will pour the milk into a specialized glass and use a steam wand for collecting the foam with tiny and lovely bubbles. 

A demitasse cup with the available espresso will be ready for adding a small amount of milk. You should use a small teaspoon to remove the big-sized bubbles before pouring a little volume of milk on the top of an espresso. Finally, place the foam on top of the cup and enjoy. 

Time For Drinking

Italians would often prefer to enjoy a tasty cup of espresso in the morning after they wake up. They don’t like drinking it after their stomach is full. You should try such a cup of coffee to be alert and start an energetic day.

Meanwhile, drinkers would rather enjoy cortado in the evening to relieve the stress after a hard-working day or provoke an interesting date. It is better to use one more glass of freshwater to clean your palate after drinking.  

Conclusion 

The journey from Italy to Spain to discover macchiato and cortado finished pleasantly. We hope that you can easily get more useful information about the two types of coffee. 

More significantly, you can understand more about the fundamental differences between macchiato vs cortado coffee. You can try drinking both to experience the actual comparison as well. 

Macchiato, cortado or both? Give both a try to find your fav!

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Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).