Starbucks has all kinds of coffee drinks and espresso drinks, right? They must have a Cortado on the menu! Well, they don’t. At least not in the US. If you live in the UK then you’re in luck. You can get it there as it’s an item on the UK Starbucks menu: https://www.starbucks.co.uk/menu/product/11055232.
However, even though it’s listed on the UK menu, it’s kind of not a traditional Cortado. A Cortado is made with a double espresso shot and 2 oz of steamed milk and a tiny bit of foam on top. It’s served in a Gibraltar glass that holds 4.5 oz.
The Starbucks UK version of this espresso-based coffee beverage is served with two Ristretto shots topped with steamed milk. These are basically two shots of espresso with a little less water so they taste stronger. To fill to the 6 oz cup that you get the UK Cortado in, they do have to add around 4 oz of milk. Not saying that this version of a Cortado won’t taste delicious but it’s a little more milky than what you might expect.
Let’s hop back across the pond to Starbucks in the USA. No Cortado on the menu anywhere…
Yet, with a little fantasy, there are ways to get one! Read on to find out more.
How to Order a Cortado at Starbucks
A Cortado is similar amounts of espresso and steamed milk with a thin layer of foam on top (which makes it possible to have a Cortado with Latte Art!). Yet, if you would go to the register at Starbucks and order a Cortado you most likely will get the answer that it’s not on the menu.
So, what to do?
First, you could just as for a double espresso with about 2 oz of steamed milk with little or no foam. Most typically, the barista would be able to get you that beverage in what Starbucks calls a Short cup. The Short cup measures 8 oz so it could be a bit tricky to get the measurements somewhat correct.
Second, you could order a short Flat White with little or no foam. That would be a bit more milk than the first option but still pretty close to a Cortado.
Third, go for a triple shot Flat White or latte in a short size. That will tip the scale towards a real Cortado as you get around 3 oz of espresso and then 4 to 5 oz of steamed milk. Pretty close indeed.
If you’re even more adventurous then get a short quad shot latte. Consider taking that with decaffeinated espresso to stay healthy and avoid any possible health implications! That’s not the same as a Piccolo Latte which is also closely related to the Cortado!
However, three shots of espresso might keep you away for a while if you’re not used to a lot of caffeine! Technically, you can play that game even with a Venti size Flat White. A hot Venti size is 20 oz and to get the coffee to milk ratio for a Cortado you’d need 10 shots of espresso topped with the frothy milk. That’s a coffee lovers dream come true! On the flipside, it might keep you awake for the next few days but it sure does sound delicious!
You can also find suggestions online to order a ‘doppio espresso macchiato wet’. That type of macchiato is close to the Cortado and will be as close or far off as the short triple shot flat white or short triple shot latte. Same goes if you specifically ask for a double shot of espresso with 2 oz of steamed milk.
In the end, as Starbucks does not have a Cortado on their menu, it’ll never be 100% made the traditional way. Having said that, it’ll be close enough and it’ll be delicious – even if the Cortado will not be served in a glass cup!
Does Starbucks make Cortado Coffee at all?
Starbucks offers Cortado coffee in some countries. The US is not one of them. However, as outlined above, there are ways to get a Cortado’esque drink by customizing what Starbucks has.
You want to be aware though that mixing a Cortado at Starbucks often requires to get three shots of espresso. Each espresso shot contains 75mg of caffeine so you end up with 225mg of caffeine.
That’s quite high considering that a cup of regular coffee has roughly 100 mg of caffeine. So, a triple shot short latte with no foam at Starbucks (close to being a Cortado) has around twice the caffeine content of a regular cup of coffee.
There’s nothing wrong with that if caffeine doesn’t keep you awake and alert for hours! You certainly can switch to decaf espresso instead. Starbucks pulls every shot of espresso fresh so there’s no issue substituting to decaffeinated espresso instead of regular one.
Final Thoughts on Ordering a Cortado at Starbucks
As pointed out, there are numerous versions to get a Cortado-like drink at Starbucks. What you can’t rely on is to order a Cortado and then knowing the barista what you’re actually looking for.
You might be lucky and have a barista inform you that you’re ordering a Cortado when you ask for a short triple (or even quad) latte. Yet, you can’t rely on that. Next time you might think you can simply order a Cortado only to be told that they don’t sell it.
So, go with anything ranging from a ‘double-shot espresso with 2 oz of milk’ to ordering a ‘short triple shot latte’. The least confusion and the closest you can reliably get is the triple shot short latte.
You can even order that on the app by specifying the size, number of shots, etc. The only way it would be easier if you could actually order a Cortado at Starbucks.
Hey Starbucks – you hear us? Put the Cortado on the menu!