Top 5 Differences Between Cortado vs Cappuccino

Written By Alla Levin
March 15, 2022

Top 5 Differences Between Cortado vs Cappuccino

Have you ever wondered what the difference between your favorite Cappuccino and cortado is? While most people tend to assume that the two espresso drinks are quite similar, some significant traits set them apart. For instance, although the two drinks are often made of the same ingredients, they vary greatly in terms of taste, texture, temperature, and more.

Still, confused what’s the difference between cortado vs. Cappuccino? Don’t sweat it, below we break down the differences between cortado vs. cappuccino so that you can confidently order a drink of your preference next time you visit a coffee shop with your friends.

What’s A Cortado?

Cortado is an expresso drink that originates from Spain. It can also be referred to as Noisette, Gibraltar, or cortadito, depending on the country. When preparing cortado, a 1:1 coffee to milk ratio is used; the balance between coffee and milk makes it an ideal espresso for most people. Cortado holds a thin top line as the milk is not textured; therefore does not hold any froth or foam.

What’s A Cappuccino?differences between cortado vs cappuccino

Cappuccino is a favorite espresso drink for most people in the world. As its name suggests, Cappuccino hails from Italy. Cappuccino is mainly defined by its foam texture content with less milk than the cortado espresso. This makes you notice a strong espresso flavor as it’s not shadowed by milk.

Cappuccino is mainly prepared with the ratio of 1:3 of each steamed milk, espresso, and frothy foam. The thick microfoam layer allows for the addition of different delicious top-fills like chocolate and cream, making your Cappuccino just wow!

5 Differences Between Cortado vs. Cappuccino: The amount of foam

This is perhaps the biggest difference between cortado and Cappuccino. Foam is the main trait that defines the great quality and unique nature of cappuccino espresso. In fact, cappuccinos are so foamy that foam occupies one-third of the cup. On the other hand, cortado espresso does not hold any foam unless your barista decides to make a different pattern, where they can add just a little foam.

The texturecortado vs. Cappuccino

The milk texture of these two drinks is another huge difference. Cortado espressos tend to be smooth and velvety with a highly dense milk texture. On the flip side, cappuccinos have a   much lighter texture, with the milk foam having natural tiny air bubbles. Cappuccinos feel pretty light in your mouth unless cream or other toppings are added.

The taste

Taste is another big factor that differentiates the two espressos. Having a 1:1 espresso and milk content, a cortado is neither sweet nor bitter and holds a well-balanced taste. On the other hand, its sister beverage, Cappuccino, contains 1:3 dairy content and other additives like syrups, sugar, chocolate powder, etc., giving it a bit of extra sweetness.

The sizes

Both cortado and cappuccino beverages comprise specific ratios of espresso and steamed milk. With a 1:1 coffee to milk ratio, cortado tends to be the smaller drink than Cappuccino, which has a 1:3 espresso to steamed milk and frothy foam. The thick layer of foam in cappuccino factors the difference between the two drinks.

Calories content

Finally, the calories content in the two beverages is completely different. People watching their carb intake and weight are advised to make cortado their ideal drink due to its low-calorie content. As for Cappuccino, it holds high amounts of calories even without cream addition.


While cortado vs. Cappuccino possesses a base of espresso and milk, the milk content in each will help you distinguish the two espressos. The two drinks are pretty unique, each boasting an exciting coffee flavor. But if you’re looking for a foamy and incredibly sweet espresso, then cappuccinos are your choice. People looking for an espresso with little to no foam but with a velvety smooth feeling in the mouth should consider cortados.

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