A cortado is an espresso cut with a small amount of warm milk. The ratio of milk to coffee is between 1:1 and 1:2, and the milk is added after the espresso. The word cortado is the past participle of the Spanish verb cortar (to cut).
Other names and variations
A cortado is also known as "Tallat" in Catalan, "Ebaki" in Basque, "Pingo" or "Garoto" in Portugal and "noisette" in France. It is also commonly called a "Gibraltar" in the United States, especially on the West Coast. The name Gibraltar originates in San Francisco, California, where roasters such as Blue Bottle Coffee Company and Ritual Coffee Roasters started the trend by serving the drink in Libbey–Owens–Ford glassware by the same name.
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, cafe con leche condensada or bombon (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 a cortado is made, it should be distinguished from the Italian caffè macchiato or cappuccino. A similar drink in Australia is known as a piccolo caffè latte, or simply a piccolo for short. This is a single ristretto shot in a macchiato glass that is then 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.
- "Drink This Now: Cognoscenti Coffee's On-the-Menu Cortado", LA Weekly
- "A Cortado Is Not a Minivan", The New York Times Style Magazine, March 4, 2010
- Daniel Young (March 2009), Gibraltar, San Francisco's Cult Coffee, Comes to London
- The dictionary definition of cortado at Wiktionary