Cortadito Coffee – History, Easy Recipe, and More

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Poulami Ganguly

How to make Cortadito Coffee

Looking for an authentic source to cultivate your Cortadito knowledge? Here comes the authentic version that includes almost everything that you need to know about Cortadito Coffee.

Life turns boring when you stay within the limits of what you already know, and often, the same phenomena crop up in the brewing world, doesn’t it? For coffecionados, there ain’t any limit to exploring new horizons, and when it comes to trying something enticing, the popular Cuban coffee, Cortadito, is an easy and cool way to encounter a cup of sweet heaven. 

Though Cortadito coffee hasn’t earned much limelight compared to its cousins – Cortado and cafe Cubano; this dark, strong, and sweet coffee is a blue-eyed boy among Cubans. You never know; once you try this, it might become one of your favorites too! 

So folks, today in this article, you will come across the history, recipe, and almost everything that you need to know about Cortadito coffee. Here we go! 

A Look Back at the Past – Cuban Coffee

It all started way back in the mid-1700s when coffee growing was introduced to Cuba and was significantly being exported to Spain by 1790. The involvement of French coffee farmers in farming coffee in Cuba exploded the country’s coffee industry. Not only the coffee industry, but sales of beans gave a boost to sugar sales in the 1820s, and coffee beans reached a whopping 20,000 tons of export volume by the early 1950s. 

However, later on, with the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Cuba’s coffee industry started shrinking, and another catalyst was excessive rainfall. Cuban coffee, better known as Cafecito or Cafe Cubano, was first developed in Cuba as a type of espresso drink when Italians came to the country. Later, Colada – the shareable version of Cafecito, Café Con Leche and Cortadito Coffee came into the picture. 

Knowing Cortadito coffee

The Cuban specialty, Cortadito coffee, is pretty similar to the well-known Spanish Cortado. With two shots of espresso topped with the same amount of steamed milk, both Cortado and Cortadito share a 1:1 ratio of milk and coffee. However, the Cortadito coffee uses presweetened espresso or sweetened condensed milk, making it an extremely sweet coffee beverage. 

How to make Cortadito Coffee – Step-by-Step Recipe 

Preparation time: 5 mins

Serving: 1

Calories: 61Kcal

Fat: 2g (saturated: 1g)

Things you will need


  • Finely ground Cuba Coffee
  • Filtered Water
  • 1-2 ounces milk, evaporated or warmed
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar 


  • Espresso maker or Moka pot
  • Small coffee cup and creamer or small bowl
  • Microwavable bowl or small saucepan
  • Spoon and whisk

Step 1: Getting your espresso ready 

The classic espresso for Cortadito coffee requires a Moka pot. However, in case you don’t have a Moka pot handy, you can simply prepare espresso the way you usually do. To make espresso in a Moka pot, simply follow the given steps –

  • Fill the bottom of the pot with filtered water ( up to the safety release valve)
  • Fill the filter basket with fresh, finely-ground coffee. 
  • Put the filter in the bottom section and then attach the top section.
  • Now, put the pot on the stove, and keep the heat medium. Make sure neither you rush the process nor overcook.

 Step 2: Warming Milk

Now that you have your espresso ready, it’s time to warm the milk on the stovetop or microwave. Make sure that you don’t scorch the milk; it should be hot but not boiling. 

Step 3: Getting your Espuma ready

Take a small bowl and put 4 teaspoons of sugar (for taste) in it. Remove the Moka pot from heat once you get an ounce of espresso appearing on top of the Moka pot. Now, pour that 1 ounce of espresso into the bowl containing sugar and put back the Moka pot on the stove to complete brewing. Mix the sugar and espresso until you notice a light brown foam after the sugar dissolves.  

Step 4: Combining the milk and espresso

Once ready, pour the brewed espresso into the coffee cup. Next, add the warm milk to each mug, ensuring that there’s a 1:1 ratio of espresso to milk. 

Bingo, your Cortadito coffee is now ready to delight you and avail you with a sweet coffee moment!

#Pro tip: When you attempt to create Espuma, ensure that you have added adequate coffee to wet the sugar. It will result in a grainy and rich taste that will become looser when the sugar dissolves. 

Sweetening your Cuppa Cortadito – Exposing the Secret

Sweetening Cortadito is no less than an art, and here we are going to help you with the secret. First, whip the espresso with sugar., and make sure you do this before adding milk to the espresso. Now, add sugar to the Moka pot before brewing. Once done, add steamed or condensed milk to the espresso. 

If you are not much fond of that sweet-ish mouthfeel, you can simply leave the espresso unsweetened and top it with condensed milk. 

Wrapping Up

Hope you are happy with this Cortadito knowledge base, and I believe that your experience with Cortadito brewing is going to be a wonderful one. But what if your cup doesn’t turn out? Well, no need to beat yourself up. Making Cortadito is quite easy, but it won’t be a surprise if you fail to achieve perfection at the very first trial. 

Just be extra careful of the factor that you are using high-quality Cuban coffee, and the rest will depend on your practice. The more you will practice, the better grasp of the recipe you will achieve. So, never give up on hope, and I’m sure that one day you will start loving your Cuban coffee brewing experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you milk Cortadito with vegan milk?

Yes, vegan folks, Cortadito is a vegan-friendly beverage that can be made with almond or oat milk. You can also use soy milk. This is probably the best about Cortadito – it requires only steamed milk, not frothed. So, you don’t have to worry about the frothing capacity of the milk you prefer to use. 

How do evaporated milk and condensed milk differ?

While evaporated milk and condensed milk are not the same, they are pretty similar. While half of the water is removed from evaporated milk, the condensed milk requires sugar to be added to create a thick syrup. However, condensed milk also has a few amounts of water removed. 

How to drink your Cortadito?

To make your Cortadito experience highly admirable, you should always use whole or evaporated milk. Apart from choosing the best-quality Cuban coffee beans, this is the trick to drinking a perfect cup of Cortadito. 

How much caffeine is in a Cortadito?

Since Cortaditos include a double-shot of espresso, they are a bit high in caffeine – around 58-158 mg per cup. 

Can I use sweeteners in Cortadito?

For sweetening Cortaditos, sugar works the best. However, if you are a little conscious about sugar intake, you can use alternative sweeteners. 

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