Cortado vs Flat White: Which Espresso Drink Is Right for You?

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

If you’re craving a caffeine boost, an espresso shot is perfect. But don’t worry if it’s too strong for you! You can still indulge in creamy espresso drinks like a cortado or flat white. They’re just as delightful but smoother.

Don’t know the difference between a cortado and a flat white? No problem! This article is here to help. We’ll guide you through what sets these two drinks apart and even show you how to easily make them at home. Get ready to impress your friends with your new coffee knowledge!

Cortado vs Flat White: Quick Comparison

CortadoFlat white
Coffee-to-milk ratio1 part espresso
1 part steamed milk
1 part espresso
2 parts steamed milk
TasteSlightly creamy, strong coffee flavor Creamier, mild coffee flavor
Caffeine content (double espresso)126 mg 126 mg 
Calories (double with whole milk)4074

What Is a Cortado? 

A cortado, a common Cuban coffee drink

A cortado is a cozy coffee drink from Spain, blending equal parts of espresso and warm milk. Its name comes from the Spanish “cotar,” meaning “to cut.” This mix beautifully softens the espresso’s sharp taste and strength with smooth steamed milk.

What Is a Flat White?

A flat white, an espresso drink that may or may not have originated in Australia

Dive into the world of flat whites, a creamy espresso drink topped with a whisper-thin layer of frothy milk. There’s a fun debate around its origins, with some claiming it’s an Aussie favorite. Yet, many believe it came to life in Wellington, born from a cappuccino twist using low-fat milk for a smoother finish.

Flat White vs Cortado: Coffee-to-Milk Ratio

A cortado blends espresso and warm milk in equal parts, but a flat white combines 1/4 espresso with 3/4 creamy steamed milk.

What’s special about a cortado? It’s crafted with two shots of espresso mixed with the same amount of warm, frothy milk. Want it lighter? Ask for a single-shot cortado instead.

A flat white mixes more milk with two espresso shots, earning its “flat” name from a thin, delicate layer of foam on top. It’s creamy with a coffee kick.

Even though cortados have less milk than flat whites, both can rock latte art! That’s because the milk in cortados is creamy, and in flat whites, it’s smoothly textured. So, get creative! 

Flat White vs Cortado: Serving Traditions

A cortado has a smaller serving size than a flat white.

Cortados come in a small 4-ounce cup or a clear glass known as a Gibraltar.

Flat whites come in unique sizes – bigger than cortado cups but not as large as those for lattes or cappuccinos. It’s rare to find them in 8-ounce mugs at coffee shops.

Flat White vs Cortado: Flavor Profile

A cortado tastes stronger than a flat white.

Love bold, creamy tastes? Try a cortado! It’s the perfect mix of steamy milk and rich espresso. The milk softens the espresso’s sharpness, letting the espresso shine without overpowering it. Dive into this balanced delight!

If you adore lattes, give flat whites a try! They still let the espresso shine through, but it’s smoother and not as intense as in a cortado. Perfect for a gentler coffee experience.

For a sweeter flat white, swap espresso for ristretto. It’s a simple change with a big flavor impact! 

What exactly is ristretto? It’s a unique coffee shot made using very fine coffee grounds and less hot water. The brewing time is shorter too. This method makes your coffee richer, giving it a sweeter and more fruity flavor compared to the usual espresso.

Flat White vs Cortado: Caffeine Content

Both beverages have almost the same amount of caffeine.

A flat white and a cortado both pack a punch with two shots of espresso, but the flat white has a bit more milk. Each serving buzzes with about 126 mg of caffeine, but remember, the type of coffee bean can change that number.

A cortado with espresso packs more caffeine punch than a flat white with ristretto. Even though ristretto tastes bolder, espresso actually has more caffeine.

Flat White vs Cortado: Calories

Paying attention to calories can help you pick the best coffee for your health. For example, a flat white with whole milk packs 74 calories, but a cortado with the same milk cuts it down to 40. So, for a lighter choice, go for a cortado!

For a healthier flat white, try swapping whole milk for skim or low-fat options. Whole milk packs 17 calories per ounce, but low-fat drops to 13, and skim milk dips even lower to just 11 calories.

Cortado and Flat White Recipes

How to make a Cortado

  1. Finely grind 18 grams of coffee beans.
  2. After grinding, brew two shots of espresso.
  3. Steam 4 ounces of milk a little cooler than usual (130-150 °F).
  4. Create a small espresso base in a Gibraltar glass.
  5. Pour the milk over the coffee.
  6. Serve and enjoy it while it’s still hot!

How to make a flat white

  1. Finely grind 18 grams of coffee beans.
  2. Prepare your double espresso shots.
  3. Pour the espresso into your 6-ounce cup.
  4. Steam 4 ounces of milk in a milk pitcher.
  5. Remove any large bubbles by tapping the container.
  6. Slowly fill 3/4 of the cup with your steamed milk.
  7. Enjoy!

Take Espresso to the Next Level

Love creamy coffee but still need that energy boost? Cortados and flat whites are your go-to. But, if you’re after a bolder coffee taste, why not explore the world of magic coffee? It packs a punch!

Ready to elevate your espresso game? Dive into the world of different coffee drinks! I suggest starting with a delicious cappuccino, a classic latte, or a bold espresso macchiato. Don’t hesitate to explore variations of these favorites by using a long shot or a ristretto for a unique twist.

cortado vs flat white

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *