Cortado vs Macchiato: Exploring the distinctions in taste

Macchiato vs cortado

When we discuss Cortado vs Macchiato, apparently, both drinks look quite similar. But there are specific differences between them. Every coffee flavor has particular features and qualities that differentiate it from all other flavors. A cortado is better if you want a rich, creamy flavor. On the other hand, macchiato has a strong taste.

But how is Cortado a much stronger drink than Cortado? It is due to the use of less milk and more espresso. Cortado is made with two espresso shots and the same amount of Milk.

And a macchiato is prepared with two espresso shots, steamed Milk, and milk foam at the top. But Macchiato adds a few drops of milk to the espresso.

Also, check the difference between Cortado and Latte.

If you’re a new coffee enthusiast, you should know that coffee’s flavor depends on how much milk, water, or other flavors are added to coffee. It also determines the taste, texture, and aroma of any drink.

If you pick a drink with more milk added, it will have a creamy, sweet taste, and a drink with more espresso will have a strong taste. Here, The use of milk is significantly different in both coffees. As cortado adds more milk, the taste becomes creamier and sweeter.

In contrast, Macchiato adds minimum milk volume, which gives a slight taste and texture difference. And Macchiato is far more robust and bitterer coffee than Cortado.

Cortado: The Perfect Harmony of Milk and Espresso

Cortado is an exciting coffee flavor since it is prepared with a balance of coffee and milk. So, the critical essence of a cortado lies in the balance between the rich espresso and the creamy milk, creating a pleasant and smooth experience.

What makes Cortado a unique and attractive coffee flavor? The combination of espresso and milk makes it different. It is made with espresso and Milk, a ratio of 1:1.

This drink is perfect for those who love espresso but want it to be less intensive. When it adds steamed milk, it subsides the bold flavor of espresso and becomes slightly sweeter.

The word Cortado might sound strange to a few because it is a Spanish word. In Spanish, the word Cortado means to cut in half; we can conclude that the strong espresso taste is cut with a milder taste of steamed milk.

Cortado coffee cup

Macchiato: an espresso-dominated drink

It is an Italian drink with two espresso shots and a splash of milk. Milk is added in a smaller volume than espresso, making the beverage slightly sweeter, richer, creamier, and tastier. It usually serves in the early morning to boost your day.

Macchiato coffee is mainly for those who love a strong espresso taste with a few drops of milk to make it whitish in texture. Because a splash of steamed milk makes no difference to taste, it doesn’t make it any creamier.

You may be interested to know the difference between cortado and cappuccino.

macchiato coffee

Now let’s dive into more details regarding the difference between cortado and macchiato.

What is Cortado vs Macchiato?

When comparing cortado and macchiato, you’re probably looking for a drink with milk and espresso. Now, it depends on how much milk you prefer in your drink.

If you want a strong coffee with a dollop of milk that improves its texture and not much taste, Macchiato should be your choice. However, if you are looking to get smoother coffee with an equal ratio of milk and espresso, probably the best option around is Cortado.

There are specific dissimilarities between the two coffees. Let’s review the differences between the two drinks and which would work best for you.

A summary table of Cortado vs Macchiato

Espresso shotsOne or two shots of espressoOne or two shots of espresso
milkSteamed milk only with a ratio of 1:1Slight amount of Steamed and foam milk
TasteIt comes with a less strong and less bitter tasteMacchiato is a strong drink with a bitter taste
Calories content20 to 30 calories per drink5 to 15 calories per drink
Price3.5 to 4.5 dollar2.5 to 4.0 dollar
Caffeine136 mg136 mg
a summary table cortado vs macchiato

Cortado vs Macchiato: The Difference in the Use of Milk

Either you add milk to your espresso or make it without milk. But both drinks use milk with certain variations.


Macchiato Adds milk, but it doesn’t make a difference to taste. It uses a small amount of milk and a topping with foam.

Typically, one or two spoons of steamed and foamed milk are added to the Macchiato. However, I have seen Baristas add more milk, making Macchiato less intense.


In comparison, Cortado coffee brews with an equal volume of milk and espresso. The milk is usually steamed before adding it to the espresso drink, as we know that adding milk makes coffee sweeter, creamier, and smoother.

So while an equal amount of milk to espresso, the Cortado drink is a milder and sweeter coffee than a macchiato.

Both coffees prefer to be prepared with whole milk, which is ideal for frothing and steaming. Because whole milk will hold the milk longer, it makes a thick creamier drink.

Macchiato vs Cortado: which drinks are stronger?

If we make Macchiato with two espresso shots and two tablespoons of coffee, obviously, it is more robust than Cortado. But cortado with two espresso shots is still a strong coffee.

Here is a question: can we make Cortado a concentrated coffee? Yes, it can be made more intense only by adding less steamed milk and more espresso shots.

However, Macchiato is the winner when we look to get a more robust coffee. Pick cortado only when you desire a smoother drink.

Making Macchiato
Calorie content in Macchiatos and Cortados: What to expect

If you are health conscious, calories should be the first thing you should consider before deciding on coffee. You should know that an espresso shot contains almost no calories. But if you add other flavors or milk, the calorie content increases.

A macchiato uses less milk and no added flavors or sweetener, so it has fewer calories than a cortado. In reality, cortado has almost double the number of calories than a macchiato.

However, the type of milk contributes to the calorie content of a drink. And always avoid any sweeteners and flavors to reduce calories.

Check the difference between Americano and Macchiato.

Cortado vs Macchiato: What is the caffeine content in both drinks?

It depends on the drink, but caffeine content depends on what coffee beans you use and how much they are roasted. A cup of espresso contains around 68 mg of caffeine. And these drinks usually add two espresso shots containing 136 mg of caffeine per serving.

However, if you are wary of high caffeine, a single shot of espresso should be your priority. Both drinks can adjust with a single espresso shot, reducing the milk volume. Similarly, you can make cortado with one espresso shot and a similar volume of milk.

I always prefer one shot of espresso while making cortado and Macchiato; it balances the caffeine content, which is a better option if you consume many cups daily.

Cortado vs Macchiato: Which drink should you pick and why?

While checking all the differences, picking one between these two drinks is easy. It purely depends on individual preference for which coffee he picks, keeping all its positive points.

However, here are a few points that you should consider before choosing any drink. Macchiato is a more potent and bitterer coffee; you can drink it early in the morning to boost your day. Also, when you want fewer calories in your drink, Macchiato is the best choice.

Otherwise, Cortado is a milder drink with a good volume of milk in it. Cortado is the best option when you crave for milk drink with espresso. Also, if you’re not a fan of the strong bitter taste of espresso.

Do you know the difference between doppio and espresso?

How many variations are in Cortado and Cappuccino?

After discussing all the differences, Here comes the similarity in both drinks: customizing and adding different flavors and additives. Let’s check the different flavors that we make with cortado and Macchiato.

Also, check the difference between Macchiato and Mocha.

Macchiato drink customization

It customizes with different flavors and syrups.

  • Latte Macchiato

It makes with extra foam milk, which makes the drink more flavorful and creamier. Latte macchiato tastes like a latte coffee.

  • Iced Macchiato

An ideal drink for the summer season. First, make a cup of Macchiato with normal milk and espresso and pour it over iced cubes.

  • Caramel Macchiato

A favorite and highly consumed drink at Starbucks. Made with espresso and milk, add a caramel syrup layer at the top.

  • Doppio Macchiato

This makes with double shots of espresso, making it stronger coffee. It is also called Long Macchiato.

cortado and macchiato with flavors

Cortado coffee variations

This drink has so many options to make and enjoy.

  • Cortado leche y leche

It makes with condensed milk at the bottom and hot foam milk at the top. Cortado leche y leche is a heavier, creamier, and sweeter drink.

  • Café con leche and bombón

This makes with condensed milk and heavy cream at the top—a heavier and creamier Cortado.

  • Piccolo

It uses less milk and serves in a small cup. Piccolo is a relatively stronger coffee.

  • Iced Cortado

First, Cortado prepares with cold milk. And it adds iced cubes, a perfect summer beverage. You can add sugar syrups to these drinks. Also, you can add more milk.

Macchiato vs Cortado: difference in price

You will get variable prices between two drinks in different coffee bars. A Cortado coffee price will range between 3.5 and 4.5 dollars per cup. While a cup of Macchiato costs from 2.5 to 4.0 dollars.

For obvious reasons, cortado is a more expensive beverage. When you add flavors, the cost will increase further.

You may find the following interesting, too:

Red eye vs black eye vs dead eye coffee: what are the differences?

Cortado vs Macchiato: Final Thoughts

While summing up, I should say Cortado and Macchiato are two different drinks. However, I prefer to enjoy both because of their diverse and unique tastes. You should not restrict yourself to one drink; instead, try all the flavors you can make and enjoy.

But when you are craving something smoother and sweeter, you should cortado. Otherwise, pick Macchiato if you want a strong taste of espresso. And usually, you will get both drinks easily available at every coffee shop.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many shots of espresso are usually needed for a Cortado coffee?

It usually serves with two shots of espresso and steamed milk. However, the Cortado prepares with one shot of espresso and steamed milk in Spain. So different countries have various methods of making Cortado coffee.

It is important to remember how many shots you add to a Cortado drink; this coffee always prepares with the same amount of milk and espresso.

Is Macchiato a healthy drink?

If you consume Macchiato in balance, it is a healthy drink. However, high consumption can hurt your health. A macchiato has fewer calories since it uses a small amount of milk.

So Macchiato is healthier than a latte, cappuccino, or Cortado.

Is Cortado available at Starbucks?

Cortado isn’t the official Starbucks coffee. And Barista may not be familiar with the word Cortado; in that case, you should order a customized drink, double shots of espresso topping with milk foam.

Cortado vs Macchiato: Exploring the distinctions in taste
Article Name
Cortado vs Macchiato: Exploring the distinctions in taste
Macchiato is prepared with two espresso shots, steamed Milk, and milk foam at the top. But Macchiato adds a few drops of milk to the espresso. What makes Cortado a unique and attractive coffee flavor? The combination of espresso and milk makes it different. It is made with espresso and Milk, a ratio of 1:1.
Publisher Name
my latte coffee
Publisher Logo

Leave a Comment

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