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Cortado vs. Macchiato: The Unique Differences Including Calories, Ingredients & More

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Cortado vs. Macchiato: The Unique Differences Including Calories, Ingredients & More

Cortado vs. Macchiato: What's the difference? These unique coffees may seem the same, but they are quite different regarding calories, ingredients, taste, and history.

For example, the cortado rose to coffee power in the 1960s in Spain. The popularity of this drink spread from Spain to Portugal and the rest of the world. The macchiato has a different history, showing up in the 1980s in Italy. Baristas in Italy wanted to create a shot of espresso without adding milk. Thus, a macchiato was born.

But there's also so much more that distinguishes the corado from the macchiato. This guide dives into those differences. We dive into what makes the cortado unique from the macchiato.

Cortado vs. Macchiato: Different Ingredients

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The cortado and macchiato are similar but have a few differences that make them unique.

©iStock.com/Waqar Hussain

When it comes to making a cortado, either one or two espressos (depending on how strong you want the coffee) are blended with milk. There is no foam milk, like you might see with a cappuccino.

Regarding macchiatos, there's no steamed milk, like there is a with a cortado. Only a teaspoon of milk foam is added to the top of the expresso. The milk in a macchiato is designed to complement the espresso to take the edge off a bit.

One core difference is that the milk added to the cortado compared to the macchiato is smooth. It's steamed milk that gives the cortado a smooth taste. It's also typically served in a small glass and is quickly consumed. Compared to a latte, the cortado has significantly less milk than a latte.

Regarding potency, the macchiato is a clear winner because there are only a few teaspoons of milk. Because there's a lack of milk, the coffee tastes more strongly than a cortado or other coffees.

Differences In Calories

The difference in calories between a cortado and a macchiato is marginal. They both have around 10 to 30 calories. Of course, this depends on what kind of milk you use for either.

If you use whole milk, you'll have more calories to drink than reduced-fat or fat-free dairy. The calorie difference may also be more noticeable if chocolate, cinnamon, or other sweeteners are added to a macchiato since it has a foamy top. When a macchiato is made, the milk is typically frothed and added to the top of it. You can also choose alternative milk options that may be healthier, like almond, soy, or oat milk.

However, a cortado typically has twice as much milk. Again, the milk used to make the cortado could affect how many calories there are in this coffee drink.

Differences In Taste and Texture

A macchiato will naturally have a much stronger taste than a cortado because there's milk added to it, giving more flavor to the espresso. Additionally, the cortado has foam, giving it a more distinguishing taste.

The question of taste and texture comes down to whether you want to taste more of the coffee or you want to taste more of the milk. The cortado is not as strong because it has more foam and milk. It helps offset the taste of the espresso.

Macchiatos are made for espresso lovers. If you love the taste of espresso without it being influenced too much by the milk, then the macchiato is perfect for you. But if you want espresso with added flavor by adding milk, the cortado is perfect.

When to Enjoy a Cortado and the Macchiato

The cortado is always served in two-ounce cups with equal parts of milk and espresso. It's often a drink enjoyed after a long day of work in Italy. It's also enjoyed mostly in the evenings. However, you can also have a cortado to jumpstart your day.

A macchiato can be enjoyed throughout the day. The purpose of a macchiato is to enjoy the acidity and bitterness with a touch of milk to take away some of the espresso's boldness. One of the most unique things about a macchiato is that it has the highest ratio of coffee to milk than any other coffee.

Cortado vs. Macchiato: Which Should You Choose?

Choosing between a cortado and a macchiato is a matter of preference. They both have unique benefits that outweigh the other. However, it comes down to how much you enjoy espresso. It also depends on how much you like milk or foam in your coffee.

Both coffees are exceptional to add to your morning routine or to sip on in the evening. They are the best kinds of coffee because they allow you to taste the richness of an espresso. Either way, trying both will give you an idea of which one you like more.

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