If you’ve never had a cortado or a latte, this article will briefly explain the differences between these two coffee drinks.

Both have the same base ingredients — espresso and milk — but the preparation and serving methods are different.

Quick Answer: What’s the difference between a cortado and a latte?

The main difference between a cortado and a latte is the amount of milk used. A cortado consists of a 1:1 ratio of espresso and steamed milk, while a latte uses a 1:3 ratio, making it creamier and milder.

Cortado vs. Latte: The Differences Between Milk and Espresso

Below, you’ll find all the information you need to know about these delicious drinks, and at the end, you’ll have a new favorite drink you can make or order!

Cortado vs. latte, how do they differ?

Before getting into detail about these drinks, you can have a look at the overview below to see the differences:

Comparison:Cortado:Latte:
Flavor notesSlightly sweet, well-balancedSmooth with a creamy texture
Espresso?Yes, two espresso shotsYes, one espresso shot
Milk added?Yes, 2 oz (0.06 l)Yes, 6 oz (0.18 l)
Caffeine content136mg of caffeine68mg of caffeine
Number of calories34 calories110 calories

As you can see, there are quite a few differences to get into.

A cortado is served in a small espresso glass, whereas a latte is served in a tall glass. Below is an example of the drinks side by side:

Cortado on the left. The latte is on the right.

Now that you know about the main differences, it’s time to dive a little deeper into what sets these drinks apart:

What is the difference in espresso used?

A cortado uses two espresso shots (2 oz or 60 ml), while a latte uses a single espresso shot (1 oz 30 ml).

Out of the two coffees, the cortado has a more robust flavor. This is because more espresso coffee is used to prepare the drink.

Homemade cortado.

The amount of espresso can change depending on how your favorite coffee bars serve these coffees, but this is roughly the standard used globally.

What is the caffeine difference?

Because a cortado uses more espresso coffee, it has higher caffeine content. It comes in at 136 mg of caffeine, while a latte has 68 mg of caffeine. (source)

Each espresso shot will add an additional 68 mg of caffeine to your drink.

Three espresso shots stacked on top of each other.

So, if you like to order your latte with an extra shot of espresso, you’ll also increase the caffeine content.

How much milk is used in a cortado and latte?

Typically, a latte uses 6 oz (0.18 l) of milk. The milk used consists of steamed and foamed milk. For a cortado, 2 oz (0.06 l) is usually used for this traditional espresso coffee drink with steamed milk and no foam topping.

Furthermore, when it comes to the texture of the milk, lattes tend to be creamier due to their higher proportion of steamed milk.

In a cortado, the milk is used to dilute the concentrated espresso shots, resulting in a bolder and stronger coffee flavor.

The ratio of milk to espresso for both drinks can change depending on your strength preference and the coffee bar you go to.

Milk in a jar.

You can always ask for an extra espresso shot to increase your drink’s strength.

How many calories are in a cortado and latte?

You can make both the cortado and latte with different kinds of milk. You can calculate the number of calories depending on which milk you like added to your coffee.

Most of the time, whole milk is used to prepare these espresso-based drinks.

I’ve made a table with the number of calories for both drinks, with some of the most popular milk and milk alternatives that are used.

Have a look below to get an idea of the calories in your favorite drink:

Milk used:Calories in a cortado:Calories in a latte:
Whole milk37 calories110 calories
2% fat milk30 calories92 calories
Non-fat milk26 calories77 calories
Oat milk30 calories90 calories
Almond milk10 calories30 calories
Soy milk24 calories96 calories

As you can see, the number of calories differs significantly between the drinks. Because a latte uses more milk, it’ll always have more calories.

If you want a lower-calorie drink, then a cortado may be the best drink for you. Or, you can choose to order a latte with lower-fat milk instead. It’s all up to you and your preference!

What is the difference in flavor?

Cortados are made with steamed milk, whereas lattes require steamed milk but also a layer of foam.

Because of the texture of the milk, the drinks will taste very different. Steamed milk adds a smooth flavor to the robust espresso coffee, while foamed milk adds a bit of texture to it.

The amount of espresso used also plays a role in the flavor of these drinks.

A cortado uses more espresso, so it’ll have a more robust coffee flavor and less milk flavor.

On the other hand, a latte uses a single espresso and more milk, which is also textured, creating a coffee that most can enjoy.

Brewing espresso shots.

The cortado tastes a bit denser, and you can taste many of the espresso flavors.

A latte has a more textured and fluffy flavor to it because it’s more milk-heavy. This creates a more well-balanced drink where you can still taste the espresso coffee but without the strong flavors that come with it.

This means it’s up to how much coffee you like to taste in your drink, but either way, both drinks taste great!

Recipe tip: If you want to learn how to make a cortado at home, you can get the complete recipe here.

Cortado vs. latte, which is the right drink for you?

A cortado is similar to a latte, but rather than using a 1:3 ratio of espresso and steamed milk like in a latte, the barista pours espresso over an equal amount of steamed whole milk.

The result is espresso with some micro-foam on top, whereas, in a latte, the foam sits on top of the creamy milk.

  • If you’re looking for something milder than a straight shot of espresso but still want to enjoy that rich body and bold flavor, then a cortado is perfect for you.
  • If you’d rather enjoy something milk-heavy with a sweeter flavor, then a latte is worth trying out!

I hope I have given you enough information to decide which drink fits you best.

Personally, I like to drink a cortado over a latte because I prefer the stronger espresso taste it has to offer.

Tip: You can check out this easy recipe to make a latte at home!

Related coffee comparison articles

Are you wondering how the cortado and latte compare to other coffees?

Great! Check out the articles below for more in-depth coffee comparisons:

And to compare more coffees, visit the coffee comparison hub!

Conclusion

So, what’s your favorite? A cortado or a latte? The choice is yours. Both drinks are delicious, and it doesn’t really matter which one you choose.

They’re both great in their own way, and the only person who can make that decision for you is yourself!

I hope that you found this article to be interesting and informative. If you’re interested in more delicious coffees, then please check out the recipes I’ve listed below.

Which coffee do you prefer drinking? Let me know by leaving a comment down below. If you have any other questions regarding coffee, you can also contact me directly by pressing the “Contact Me” button at the top!

Coffee recipes to try

Picture of Jeffrey, Author at Your Dream Coffee
Author

On my coffee blog you will find everything you need in order to start brewing coffee at home. Ranging from the basics; to the newest coffee recipes everybody talks about! You can learn more about me here.

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