What is a cortado at Starbucks? (what does a cortado at Starbucks taste like + more information)

Starbucks has made household names out of Frappuccinos, Americanos, and other fan-favorite coffee drinks but not many people know about cortado. What is a Cortado at Starbucks?

According to the company’s website, a cortado is two ristretto shots topped with warm, silky milk and is served in a 6oz cup. It is made with equal amounts of espresso and steamed milk. It is slightly similar to Macchiato but the milk used in making macchiato is foamed, not steamed.

I only found out about this when my boss vaguely instructed me to get her an espresso with silky milk and not the usual frothed. Even she did not know it was a thing. I had a chat with the barista and got a lot of insight that I am going to share with you. Read on!

Where did the Cortado originate?

Not much is known about the origin of cortado especially because it seems to mean a different type of drink in different places. For some, it is a combination of espresso and milk while for others it is a latte or a flat white. For this reason, the baristas mostly always leave the choice in the hands of the customers.

The origin of cortado can be traced to Spain. The word cortado is the past participle of cortar which means “to cut”. This refers to milk cutting through the espresso to reduce its intensity while retaining the coffee flavor.

Most coffee houses in Spain consider a cortado to be one shot of espresso and a little milk. The milk is most of the time less than coffee unlike in other places where the ratio is 1:1. So while the concept of steamed milk and espresso originated from Spain it has evolved and everyone has adopted a different way of making it.

What is in the Starbucks Cortado?

Order cortado at Starbucks

You will most likely not find a cortado on the Starbucks menu boards but chances are that at one point in time you might have unknowingly ordered it. This is because a cortado is a very simple drink with few ingredients. If you are someone who does not fancy the Starbucks inclusions but like the drinks simple and straight forward then you must have come across a cortado a few times.

Starbucks cortado has two shots of espresso and steamed milk. It can be customized by adding vanilla syrup or hazelnut syrup and whipped cream topping, mocha drizzle, or caramel drizzle. The espresso is highly concentrated which is why the cortado is served in a 6oz cup. It is also among the Starbucks drinks with few customizations most of which only apply when ordering online.

What is Starbucks Cortado nutrition?

There are 59 calories in a short serving size of Starbucks cortado. The approximate caffeine content is 150 mg and there are 1.7 g fat, 6.6 g carbohydrates, 4.6 g sugar, 4.2 g protein, and 0.1 g salt.

A standard cortado does not contain sugar but upon the addition of inclusions like syrups and sugary toppings the carbohydrate level increases which leads to a rise in the number of calories. The nutritional content is also affected by other customization like changes in milk type between semi-skimmed, whole milk, or skimmed.

What is the Starbucks Cortado recipe?

Making a cortado takes a few steps since it requires only two ingredients, espresso, and milk. The first step is to grind coffee beans and extract two espresso shots using an espresso machine. Then you steam an equal amount of milk and then pour it into the espresso.

Making only one cup of cortado can be challenging since it is difficult to froth a little amount of milk. To avoid this you should froth at least four ounces to prevent the milk from burning. Since Starbucks is a big coffee house, the baristas extract a lot of espressos and steam a lot of milk, this is why they don’t face this challenge.

How can I store the homemade Starbucks Cortado?

what does a cortado at Starbucks taste like

A cortado is usually served in either a 4oz or 6oz cup. It is however not only impossible to make this little amount but making it each time you want a drink can be hectic. That is why making it in a large amount and then drinking and storing the rest for later is a better option. Then comes the scare that it might go bad and end up in the garbage bin. That does not have to be the case if the cortado is stored well.

The best place to store a cortado is in the fridge. Once your homemade cortado has cooled down you can keep it in the fridge for later. Since it has milk, it will most likely separate but you can blend it and add ice then enjoy an iced cortado instead.

What does Starbucks Cortado taste like?

Starbucks cortado has an intense and sweet taste. The espresso has a strong taste and combined with the milk, it becomes soft and silky. These two conflicting tastes come together nicely making it very difficult to hate this drink. The steamed milk is very smooth and reduces the acidity of the espresso. The espresso is however still very pungent at first sip then the milk balances the taste. If you are someone who enjoys espresso then cortado is a creative way to have it.


Which coffee beans are the best for making a cortado?

A cortado requires flavorful and sweet beans for the perfect espresso. One such coffee bean that checks off all the boxes is Vietnamese Robusta coffee beans. They are also cheaper and easy to grind.

Is a cortado sweet?

Yes, it is. The blend of espresso and steamed milk is perfectly acidic and silk and is sweet tasting.

Are cortados stronger than macchiatos?

No, they are not. Macchiatos are made with less milk and more espresso which makes them stronger than cortados which are made with equal amounts of milk and espresso.

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