Cortado vs Macchiato

Cortado vs Macchiato: Find the differences here

Who doesn’t like espresso? Well, everyone does, but the fact that we differ when it comes to the amount of caffeine intake is a matter to highlight. Cortado and Macchiato are two similar forms of espresso, but with a slight difference. Many of you might be confused when it comes to choosing between the two, but the amount and texture of milk that is added to the espresso is what makes the two distinct. Here is a guide that will help you take your pick the next time you enter a coffee shop.

A Trip to the Origin of Cortado and Macchiato

Cortado was originated in around 1930 in Spain. It has been derived from the Spanish word “cortar” which means “to cut.” In simple words, “to cut” here means that the milk added to it cuts the sharpness of the espresso, making its flavor less intense. Traditionally, Cortado was a blend of black coffee and an almost equal amount of milk. But over the years, its recipe has evolved, and now Cortado is an espresso with steamed milk added to it. People also prefer adding condensed milk to it, making it sweeter and creamier.

Note that a Cortado is not to be confused with Flat White (it is also a kind of espresso, but is sweeter and thicker than a Cortado) or Cortadito (a Cuban espresso and a sweetened version of Cortado)

Coming to the history of Macchiato, its name itself gives a hint that it might be from Italy. Yes, it is from Italy and is believed to have been created in the eighties. “Macchiato,” when translated would mean “spotted” or “stained.” Why on earth was it named “spotted coffee”? Well, there’s a reason for it. Macchiato is an espresso with a spoon or two of milk foam added on top of it. Interestingly, the milk topping looks like a spot, and hence it came to be known as “spotted coffee.” It is also called “stained coffee” because of the fact that the milk added on the top gets stained by the espresso. Cool! Ain’t it? Originally, Macchiato was an espresso with a very little amount of milk foam on the top. But eventually, it has been transformed into various shades and flavors like the “Iced Caramel Macchiato,”  “Latte Macchiato” and many more.

Cortado vs Macchiato: The Key Differences

What makes these two coffees different, when the ingredients added to it are the same? Let’s find out.

FormulaEspresso and steamed milk.Espresso and milk foam.  
Espresso to Milk Ratio1:12:1  
TasteLight coffee taste.Strong coffee taste.  
Cup sizeUsually 4 ounces.Approximately 3 ounces.  
Calories Around 35 calories per cup.Only 8 calories.  
TextureCreamier and wholesome.Is a soft coffee liquid.  
Time to sip the coffeesMorning beverage (ultimately your choice)Afternoon beverage (ultimately your choice)  

This was a simple chart of the differences, the points below give a thorough understanding. Let’s dive into it:

1. The Formula

Though the ingredients these coffees include are same, they differ when it comes to the consistency and the quantity of milk. While steamed milk is added to the espresso to make Cortado, the milk foam is added on top of the espresso to prepare Macchiato. A simple dairy product, milk, is what makes the difference. Comparatively, Cortado contains more milk than Macchiato.

2. The Ratio

What might be the espresso to milk ratio in Cortado and Macchiato?

Cortado consists of two shots of espresso with an equal amount of steamed milk. The ratio of espresso to milk in a Cortado is 1:1

Macchiato, on the other hand, has a strong caffeine flavor, which consists of two shots of espresso and a relatively smaller amount of milk. The ratio of espresso to milk in a Macchiato is 2:1

3. The Taste

There will surely be a difference in taste with the difference in the espresso to milk ratio. Cortado has a lighter flavor when compared to Macchiato. Macchiato is more intense due to the presence of more caffeine and less milk.

If you prefer quite lighter coffee with a smooth texture, then the best option for you is Cortado. Whereas, if you prefer a deep and strong taste of espresso, go for Macchiato without having a second thought.

4. The Size of the Cup

Ever imagined in what-sized cups Cortado and Macchiato served? No worries! You have this guide to check out. Cortado is generally served in a cup measuring around 4 ounces and Macchiato is served in a proportionately smaller cup of approximately 3 ounces. The size of the two vary due to the variation in the quantum of milk used.

5. The calories you drink in

The calories that a drink contains are definitely a cause of concern. The impact of the size of the cup and the texture of the coffee also falls on the amount of calories it holds. According to Nutritionix, a single cup of Cortado coffee has 91 grams of calories, while a Macchiato consists of 40 grams of calories.

Note: The number of calories the coffee carries possibly differs with the type of milk used for the preparation of the coffee.

6. The Texture of the Coffee

Now here comes the vital point. If you prefer a slightly thicker consistency, giving you a wholesome feeling, then Cortado is the one. You definitely feel a mouthful when you take in a sip as it is creamier and smoother. I can feel it in my mouth as I write about it. Yummy!!

Alternately, if you’re looking for a soft liquid consistency, then what are you waiting for? Grab a Macchiato.

7. The Coffee Time

Cortado is enjoyed as a morning beverage by many and when it comes to Macchiato, it is more of an afternoon drink. As time goes by, relish your drinks.

Recipes: How to make a Cortado and Macchiato?

Let’s try our hands at these lovely coffees using just two ingredients.


  • Take Freshly roasted coffee beans.
  • Grind the coffee.
  • Pull two shots of espresso.
  • Take chilled milk.
  • Steam it.
  • Add an equal amount of steamed milk to the espresso.

Ta-da! Your Cortado is ready.


  • Take Freshly roasted coffee beans.
  • Grind the coffee.
  • Pull two shots of espresso.
  • Take chilled milk.
  • Steam it.
  • Top a spoon or two of the milk foam on the espresso.

Your Macchiato is ready to serve and drink.


Now that you’re well-acquainted with the two coffees, you can enter the coffee shop as confidently as never before and order your favorite one. Coffees are a mood booster, you take a sip and you’re relieved. Try out the Cortado and the Macchiato next time you hang out with your friends, they’ll also be amused with your knowledge about them. My pick is the Cortado. Which is yours?

I’ll conclude with the quote, “Never underestimate the power of a good coffee.” – Ursula Vernon.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply