You know what, you guys and girls loved my blog post debunking the flat white so much that I thought I'd go ahead and make a series out of them. Because heck, why not?
So of course I went one step further on the spectrum of coffee confuzzles and am talking about the gloriousness that is the cortado. Or rather, the gloriousness of the cortado done WELL. In some ways, I find this is the hardest drink to prepare on a coffee shop menu, so you know you're in one heck of a brill place when done well. (Including the wonderful Beanberry Coffee where I'm sat writing this).
The fiasco with the flat white has happened again with the cortado, which in some ways has meant that the general public has let the concept of this drink go slightly...well, off. The chains have adopted the cortado as their new favourite drink (well, besides cold brew, but that's another story altogether...), and in some was tarnished it. Why do I say this? Well, order a cortado in a chain and a flat white in a speciality independent and they'll probably be the same size.
So to progress with the argument of size, let's talk about that. The cortado is a short drink. In definition, it should have equal amounts of steamed milk to the espresso length, but this is very wishy washy in itself. Why? Well, because shots of espresso can be different sizes depending on its extraction, and thus this rule does not always obey itself. Instead, most coffee shops will use a 4oz coffee glass - pull a blomin' gorgeous espresso, and fill the rest of the glass with steamed milk.
Now, after a bit of research, I found out that the translation from Spanish is 'cut', symbolising the milk cutting into the espresso to neutralise its flavour slightly. Therefore, sources I've had a look at says that the milk should not be stretched in any form, and hot milk should simply be added to the espresso beverage to 'top it up'.
However, within the speciality coffee scene (in England at least), the cortado, although with a couple of differentiations between coffee shops, uses the same silky microfoam texture as with the flat white - something that I really enjoy. This, in some ways, makes the cortado that tiny bit more wonderful than the flat white, as it takes a lot of skill (and a steady hand!) to pour some lovely latte art into that small glass.
So what I'm saying, really, is that the cortado is a very short beverage, with almost an equal amount of espresso to microfoam-steamed milk. If delivered well, this drink gives you an equal amount of espresso in a milk-based drink. I always try and opt for a cortado when trying out a new place, as I feel like you can still really taste the espresso through the milk, but also get a taste of how skilled the baristas are in their milk steaming. As I said before, if you're good at making cortados, you can practically take over the world.
Well, the coffee world at least.
(Until next time, lovelies) x