Cortado vs Macchiato – What’s The Difference?

Hey there coffee addicts. Today I have a new topic to talk about. We are going to compare Cortado and Macchiato.

Since coffee boosts our morning energy and became a routine that we cannot get rid of, it is better to know what are we drinking, and what are ingredients included?

As you already know, the size does matter in a coffee. Having the same drink in different cups obviously affects the taste and deliciousness.

Both Cortado and Macchiato have some things in common, they are both rich, short, and come from Europe. At least once in life, you had the opportunity to come across them, let alone the coffee enthusiasts.

Let’s see what is it about them, shall we?

Macchiato Wrap-up

What is about this traditional drink that people are drowning for a sip?

Macchiato is a simple beverage made of espresso and milk. At a glance, it has nothing extra other than basic ingredients. When it comes to taste, it kind of clicks. Macchiato has the highest ratio of coffee to milk in comparison to other coffee drinks.

Macchiato is all about brewing espresso and adding some milk to the cup. Because it is originated in Italy, they tend to use frothed milk rather than steamed milk.

The difference between frothed and steamed milk is that frothed milk has more volume, and has extra foam whereas steamed milk is hot and produces less foam.

Now you may ask what is different from espresso? It’s all about adding milk. Milk makes it much sweeter, smoother, and lighter.

Cortado Wrap-up

As I mentioned previously, they are both made of espresso. From its name, I guess it’s easy to find the origin. Spanish coffee tasters decided to serve the same coffee in distinct sizes, that’s why I said cup size is important.

In coffee shops, they are served as 4 oz. This usual size is served everywhere (there are always exceptions).

This is not the case with Macchiato because it is served in small-size and medium-size.

A Spanish cortado is served in a double shot of espresso, where it is cut equally by the amount of steamed milk. The ingredients may be the same, but the preparation and the amount of milk are a little bit different.

Macchiato VS Cortado Preparation

Italian Machiatto

Macchiato uses only one shot of espresso, 1 or 2 tsp. of foamed milk. The served size is usually around 1.5 oz. However, in many places, the size and taste can change.

Spanish Cortado

Cortado uses a double shot of espresso, half of the cup is filled with espresso, and the other half is filled with steamed milk. When your pour espresso and milk, the amount of both should be equal.

Cortado generally is served in 4 oz of the cup size.

Foamed Milk Contrasted To Steamed Milk

Foamed Milk

The amount of milk in a macchiato vs. in a cortado is the most noticeable distinction. Likewise, there is another distinction that has a significant impact on the flavor; the way the milk is produced.

Macchiatos are made by using foamed milk. A milk frother or a steam wand can be used to create foamed milk. The machine you are using to make foamed milk captures air beneath the surface. The heated milk starts to form little bubbles as the machine passes through.

This produces a very light and airy beverage that pairs well with lattes, cappuccinos, and other hot coffee drinks.

Steamed Milk

Steamed milk is used in Cortado. The heat is applied to steamed milk, but no air bubbles are coming out from it.

As a result, the texture is smooth, creamy, and much dense. If you do not possess a steam wand, you can steam milk by heating it until it’s ready to be boiled on the stove.

Which One You Should Choose?

Every individual has their own taste when it comes to coffee drinking. Thankfully nowadays we have a wide range of possibilities to choose from. Some prefer stronger coffee types to wake them up in the morning, and some of them prefer lighter versions with flavor. Both pairs are ok because some people need more brain exploding coffee and some sweeter or spicy coffee.

I can’t directly say this coffee is better than the other one, but I can give you some tips to find out which suits your taste well. Although I would highly recommend drinking both, they taste super delish.

If you are into something stronger like black, or small cup sizes choose Machiatto.

On the other hand, if you are not a regular coffee drinker, just love the taste and the smell of it, choose cortado. Cortado is more for people who can spend a day without getting coffee, but choose to have a cup in the morning. It contains more amount of milk, and the milk drops the strength of beans.


The traditional macchiato is served in a small cup, but today, you can encounter grande even other sizes. Starbucks caramel macchiato is served in 4 sizes.

Macchiato shouldn’t be half coffee and half foam. Instead, it is made with less milk and foam and more added coffee (espresso).
On the contrary, Cortado is served in 5- 6.3 fluid ounces in a glass. Most of the coffee shops (some not) don’t offer larger or smaller glass sizes.

The traditional cortado should be served in a glass, not in a cup, but this grab-and-go or take-over thing is changing the routine.

In What Period Should You Drink?

I’m going to put myself in a repetition mode. Again, the time you decide to drink coffee depends on your pleasure. You do you, all the times you choose to drink are perfect and ideal.

When Italians drink Macchiato, they prefer it in the morning because the stomach is empty. They believe you have a full taste of it.
After breakfast or lunch, milk can be too much to handle and can result in nausea or sickness. To some consumers, this scene may happen in the morning, this is why this question doesn’t have an exact answer. Listen to your metabolism and act how it navigates you.

Spanish Cortado is an evening coffee type, you know drinking to calm you down for a bit after a long rough day. It is a great conversation starter, even a great accompany when you spending some alone time.

To sum up a little bit; In the morning drink Macchiato, in the evening drink Cortado.