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Is a cortado 1 or 2 shots?

Is a cortado 1 or 2 shots

The simple yet nuanced question of whether a cortado contains one or two shots of espresso is a subject of debate among coffee connoisseurs and baristas alike. The concise answer is: it varies. In the UK, a cortado is often made with one shot of espresso, but it can contain two shots depending on the coffee shop and personal preference. Now, let’s dissect this answer further and see how the cortado measures up against other popular coffee drinks in terms of strength.


Is a cortado stronger than a cappuccino?

When comparing a cortado to a cappuccino, the most glaring difference is the milk-to-espresso ratio. A cappuccino generally has a 1:1:1 ratio of espresso, steamed milk, and foam, often made with a single shot of espresso. On the other hand, a cortado, especially as it is served in the UK, tends to feature a higher proportion of espresso to milk, often close to a 1:1 ratio.

“A cortado aims for a balance, providing a nearly equal proportion of espresso to milk.”

  • Cappuccino: 1 shot of espresso + equal parts of steamed milk and foam
  • Cortado: 1-2 shots of espresso + a small amount of steamed milk (no foam)

In essence, the cortado delivers a more concentrated coffee experience compared to a cappuccino. However, the cappuccino’s volume is often greater due to the addition of foam, which could make it seem like a ‘larger’ drink.

Which is stronger cortado or flat white?

Comparing a cortado with a flat white presents another interesting angle to evaluate the cortado’s strength. While both drinks aim to highlight the espresso, the amount of milk used in each can be a deciding factor. Flat whites, which originated from Australia and New Zealand but have become popular in the UK, typically contain two shots of espresso. The cortado, however, might contain one or two shots, depending on the barista’s or drinker’s preference.

Coffee TypeNumber of Espresso ShotsAmount of Milk
Cortado1-2Small amount
Flat White2Moderate amount

“The flat white is generally considered to be stronger due to its standard use of two shots of espresso.”

The flat white, then, will generally be stronger, unless a double-shot cortado is ordered. Both aim to create a harmonious balance between milk and espresso, but the flat white’s additional shot makes it the more potent option.

Is A cortado stronger than a macchiato?

The macchiato, like the cortado, aims to be an espresso-forward drink but does so in a slightly different manner. A traditional espresso macchiato is essentially a shot of espresso ‘stained’ with a dollop of milk foam. The ratio of milk to espresso in a macchiato is far less than that in a cortado, making the former a stronger drink in terms of coffee concentration.

  1. Espresso Macchiato: 1 shot of espresso + small dollop of foam
  2. Cortado: 1-2 shots of espresso + small amount of steamed milk

“A macchiato, with its sparse use of milk, offers one of the strongest espresso experiences.”

Although a cortado may be considered strong when pitted against drinks like cappuccinos or lattes, it finds its match in the macchiato. If you prefer a more intense espresso kick, a macchiato would be the way to go. A cortado, however, strikes a middle ground, providing a robust espresso flavour without overwhelming the palate.

In conclusion, the question of whether a cortado has one or two shots of espresso depends largely on individual preference and specific coffee shop practices. In terms of strength, it sits somewhere in the middle of the spectrum—stronger than a cappuccino but weaker than a flat white or a macchiato. The cortado’s versatility makes it an excellent choice for those looking to customise their coffee experience, as you can tailor it to suit your preference for strength and flavour.