A cortado is an espresso cut with a small amount of warm milk. The word cortado is the past participle of the Spanish verb cortar (to cut). In Spanish-speaking countries, a cortado is similar to the Italian caffè macchiato, where a small amount of warm milk is added to "cut" the espresso. In the United States, the ratio of milk to coffee is between 1:1 and 1:2, and the milk is added after the espresso.
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 – first Blue Bottle Coffee Company, later Ritual Coffee Roasters and others – 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, in non Spanish-speaking countries, it should be distinguished from the Italian caffè macchiato or cappuccino – a macchiato has only a small amount of milk, while a cappuccino has foam added as well. 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