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Cortadito Coffee – What Is It And How To Make It?

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By Kelvin Nolan

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Discovering the Deliciousness of Cortadito Coffee

A Cuban Specialty with a Unique Twist

While the cortado and the cafe Cubano might have become everyday cafe menu items, the cortadito hasn’t yet been in the limelight. This dark, substantial coffee cut with milk and sugar is a favorite among Cubans. It might just become one of yours too!

how to sweeten your cortadito?

What Sets a Good Cortadito Coffee Apart?

Perhaps the best way to describe this Cuban specialty is by explaining how it differs from similar coffees. If you know what a cortado is, the cortadito could be considered its Cuban cousin. The Spanish cortado is two shots of espresso topped with equal steamed milk. The cortadito also uses a 1:1 ratio of coffee and milk. However, it uses presweetened espresso or sometimes sweetened condensed milk. But it’s not the only coffee that’s specific to Cuba.

A Society Built on Coffee and Connections

This is a society where people spend time with people they love — often over coffee.

There is, of course, the cafe cubano or cafecito. Cafe Cubano features the same presweetened espresso but without the milk topping. There’s also the cafe con leche (coffee with milk), similar to a latte but with slightly less milk.

Ingredients and Equipment for a Perfect Cortadito

  • Two shots of espresso
  • Two teaspoons of sugar
  • Steamed milk
  • Serving cup
  • Spoon or small whisk

Preparing the Perfect Cortadito

The basic premise of the cortadito is pretty standard, but the preparation is not. In homes, or even in some Cuban cafes, you’ll find the coffee is made with a Moka pot rather than an espresso machine. To get the traditional espuma on the coffee, you whip the sugar with a small amount of coffee. And you do it before adding the milk. Others prefer to sweeten it during the brewing process. There are two ways to do this: add the sugar to the top of the Moka pot. Second, add it on top of the tamped grounds in the portafilter.

Alternatively, you can leave the unsweetened espresso and top with steamed condensed milk.

Easy and Adaptable: Making Cortadito at Home

What we love about the Cortadito is how adaptable and easy it is to make at home. You don’t need any unique accessories or even a milk frother. The best thing is you can heat the untextured milk in a small saucepan.

We also outlined the steps below on how to make a cortado. Before proceeding, watch Steven from Home Grounds make a Cortadito in this video recipe:

This simple cortadito recipe is made using an espresso machine. But, as I said before, you can make strong coffee with a Moka pot if you don’t have one. Or even an AeroPress. Using a Moka pot is preferable to make cortado for a crowd. In this case, you would whip the sugar/coffee mix for all cups and portion it out for serving.

Cortadito what you need

How to Make a Cuban Cortadito: A Sweet and Strong Coffee Drink

Cortadito recipe: making coffee in a moka pot

Step 1:

Add the sugar to the serving cup and set it aside.

Step 2:

Pull your double shot of espresso.

Step 3:

Pour a small amount of coffee into the sugar and whip until light and fluffy.

Cortadito adding sugar to a wok pot

Step 4:

Add the remaining coffee to the cup and stir to combine.

Step 5:

Top with an equal amount of steamed milk.

If you like this drink, you may also like the Colada coffee.

Cortadito: pouring coffee into a mug

Pro tip: When creating espuma, add just enough coffee to wet the sugar. It will first be a thick, grainy paste, but once the sugar dissolves, it will become looser.

FAQs – Cortadito Coffee

Cortadito: adding frothed milk to the mug

1. What is Cortadito coffee, and where does it originate from?

Cortadito coffee is a famous Cuban espresso-based beverage. It is traditionally prepared with equal parts of espresso and steamed milk.

2. What makes Cortadito coffee different from other coffee drinks?

Unlike traditional espresso or cappuccino, Cortadito coffee has a unique balance of solid espresso flavor combined with the creamy richness of steamed milk.

3. How is Cortadito coffee typically served?

Cortadito is usually served in small cups, similar to espresso cups, due to its concentrated nature.

4. Can Cortadito coffee be sweetened?

Yes, sweetening Cortadito coffee with sugar or condensed milk is common. This adds a delightful sweetness and creaminess to the beverage.

5. What kind of coffee beans are best for making Cortadito?

For an authentic Cortadito experience, it is recommended to use dark roast coffee beans that have been ground finely.

6. What equipment do I need to make Cortadito coffee at home?

To make Cortadito, you will need an espresso machine to brew the espresso and a milk frother to steam the milk.

7. Is there a specific ratio of espresso to milk for making Cortadito?

Traditionally, Cortadito is made with a 1:1 ratio of espresso to steamed milk. However, you can adjust the ratio based on your personal preference.

8. Are there any variations of Cortadito coffee?

Some variations of Cortadito include adding a sprinkle of cinnamon or cocoa powder on top for extra flavor.

9. Can I make Cortadito without an espresso machine?

While it might not be entirely traditional, you can try making a makeshift Cortadito using strong coffee made with a Moka pot or a French press and frothing milk separately.

10. How would you describe the taste of Cortadito coffee?

Cortadito offers a bold and rich coffee flavor, combined with the smoothness of steamed milk and sweetness if sugar or condensed milk is added. It’s a delightful balance of flavors in a small but satisfying cup.

11. Is Cortadito strictly a morning drink, or is it enjoyed throughout the day?

In Cuban culture, Cortadito is commonly enjoyed in the morning, but it can be savored at any time as a delightful pick-me-up.

12. Can I experiment with different milk types, such as almond or oat milk, when making Cortadito?

Absolutely! While it might not be traditional, experimenting with alternative milk types can lead to exciting and delicious variations of Cortadito to suit individual preferences or dietary needs.

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