cortadito coffee

Cortadito Coffee: How to Brew an Authentic Cuba Cup

In this blog post, we will explore the delightful world of Cortadito coffee. Originating from Cuba and later gaining popularity in the United States, Cortadito is a sweetened coffee drink that combines espresso and steamed milk, creating a unique and flavorful experience. We will discuss how to brew your own authentic Cortadito at home, the difference between Cortadito and Cortado, and why this coffee drink has become a beloved treat for many. So grab your coffee equipment and get ready for a taste of Cuba in every sip! And did you know that Cortadito coffee is often referred to as the “American Dream” of Cuban coffee? Let’s dive in and uncover the secrets behind this beloved drink.

What is Cortadito Coffee?

Cortadito is a rich, sweetened coffee beverage that originated in Cuba. It is made by combining sweetened espresso with steamed milk, creating a delightful balance of flavors. This unique Cuban drink has gained popularity not only in Cuba but also in the United States, where it has become a favorite among coffee enthusiasts.

How to Brew Your Own Authentic Cortadito

If you want to experience the authentic taste of Cortadito in the comfort of your own home, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you brew your own cup:

  1. Gather the Required Coffee Equipment

    To brew Cortadito, you will need an espresso machine or a moka pot, a milk steamer or frother, a whisk, and your favorite coffee beans.

  2. Brew a Strong Espresso

    Start by brewing a strong espresso using your preferred method. If you’re using an espresso machine, make sure to follow the instructions carefully to extract the best flavors.

  3. Heat and Sweeten the Milk

    While your espresso is brewing, heat the milk in a milk steamer or frother until it reaches a desirable temperature. Additionally, you can sweeten the milk by adding a teaspoon of sugar and whisking it until it dissolves.

  4. Mix the Espresso and Sweetened Milk

    In a separate cup or glass, pour the prepared espresso. Then, pour the sweetened milk on top of the espresso while holding a tablespoon to create a frothy layer.

  5. Serve and Enjoy

    Your authentic Cortadito is now ready to be served! Take a moment to appreciate its aroma and flavors before taking your first sip.

The Distinction Between Cortadito and Cortado

While Cortadito and Cortado may sound similar, they have distinct differences:

  • Cortadito: Originated in Cuba, Cortadito is a Cuban coffee specialty that includes a unique sugar paste element. It is typically sweeter than a traditional cortado.
  • Cortado: Originating from Spain, the term “Cortado” refers to a general category of coffee drinks involving the combination of espresso and steamed milk. It is not specific to any particular sweetness level or sugar paste addition.

Cortadito: A Delightful Treat or Dessert

Cortadito is not your typical cup of coffee. Its sweet and creamy taste makes it a delightful treat or a perfect ending to a meal. This flavorful Cuban coffee is a testament to the rich cultural heritage and traditions of Cuba.

Explore the World of Cortaditos

If you find yourself falling in love with the taste of Cortadito, why not explore other variations and flavors? There are numerous recipes and variations of Cortadito in different regions that you can try, from adding flavors like cinnamon or vanilla to experimenting with different types of milk.

Indulge in the warmth and richness of Cortadito, and let the experience transport you to the vibrant streets and colorful culture of Cuba.

Step by Step Guide: How to Brew Your Own Authentic Cortadito Coffee

Step 1: Gather Your Coffee Equipment

First and foremost, make sure you have the necessary coffee equipment to make a delicious cortadito coffee at home. You will need:

  • An espresso machine or a stovetop espresso maker
  • An espresso grinder or pre-ground espresso coffee
  • A milk frother or a steam wand attached to your espresso machine
  • A whisk or spoon to mix the sugar paste
  • Coffee cups to serve your cortadito

Step 2: Prepare Your Sweetened Espresso

Start by brewing a strong espresso. If you’re using an espresso machine, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re using a stovetop espresso maker, fill the bottom chamber with water, add the coffee grounds to the filter basket, assemble the pot, and place it over low heat until the coffee starts to bubble up into the top chamber.

Once your espresso is ready, add the desired amount of sugar to a small bowl. Traditionally, Cuban cortadito coffee uses a sugar paste made by combining equal parts sugar and espresso. Try starting with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar for a sweet taste.

Add a small amount of your brewed espresso to the sugar and whisk vigorously until it forms a thick, smooth paste.

Step 3: Steam and Froth Your Milk

Next, pour the desired amount of milk into a pitcher or container suitable for frothing. Whole milk is commonly used for cortadito, but you can experiment with other milk alternatives like almond or oat milk.

Using a milk frother or the steam wand on your espresso machine, froth the milk until it reaches a creamy, velvety texture. Make sure not to overheat the milk, as it should be warm and not scalding.

Step 4: Combine the Espresso, Sugar Paste, and Steamed Milk

Spoon the sugar paste into your coffee cups. If you prefer a stronger sugar flavor, you can add more paste.

Pour the brewed espresso over the sugar paste in each cup and give it a quick stir to dissolve the paste.

Gently pour the frothed milk into each cup, aiming to create an equal balance between the milk and espresso.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Authentic Cortadito Coffee

Finally, sit back, relax, and savor the taste of your homemade cortadito! Take a moment to appreciate the rich flavor and the touch of sweetness from the sugar paste.

Feel free to experiment with different variations by adding a sprinkle of cinnamon, cocoa powder, or even a dash of vanilla extract to your cortadito to enhance the flavor.

Remember, cortadito is typically served in smaller cups, resembling espresso shots, so you can enjoy it as a delightful treat or pair it with your favorite dessert.

Now that you know how to brew your own authentic cortadito coffee, you can experience the flavors of Cuba right in your own home. So go ahead, start your day or indulge in an afternoon pick-me-up with this delicious and unique coffee creation!


In conclusion, Cortadito coffee is a delightful and unique beverage that brings a taste of Cuba to every sip. Its rich history and cultural significance have made it a beloved drink for coffee enthusiasts around the world.

By understanding the difference between Cortadito and Cortado, you can appreciate the distinct elements that make Cortadito a special coffee experience. The marriage of sweetened espresso and steamed milk, along with the traditional sugar paste, creates a harmonious balance of flavors.

Now that you know how to make Cortadito at home, you have the opportunity to enjoy this delicious coffee anytime you want. By following the brewing instructions and using the right equipment, you can recreate the authentic taste of Cuban Cortadito in your own kitchen.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Cortadito coffee and its origins. If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget to visit our website, Ten Coffees, for more coffee-related articles and information. And be sure to check out our article on “How to Make Cuban Coffee: Cafe Cubano” for another exciting coffee adventure!

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