Flat White vs Cortado – What is Different with these Espresso Drinks?

Coffee is the best way to start the day. If you are not in the mood to brew your own at home, a coffee shop is a great alternative. There are a lot of options to choose from at the coffee shop. The choices can be both overwhelming and confusing at the same time.

If you are in the mood for something new, consider a Cortado or a Flat White. Both provide the stung flavor of a perfectly brewed coffee, but with a couple of differences. Let’s take a closer look at both the Cortado and Flat White to discover which might fit your taste the most.

Comparing Flat White vs Cortado

What is a Flat White?

Flat whites can be found on just about any coffee shop menu, especially in specialty locations. While they may seem like nothing more than a fancy named latte, there is something different about this particular cup of Joe. A flat white is a blend of espresso and steamed milk, but it has much less milk than a latte or cappuccino. This drink features a robust coffee taste paired with a bit of cream and a skinny layer of foam.

If you love the intense flavors of espresso and the creamy texture that comes with steamed milk in your coffee, a flat white is a perfect option. This drink has been around since the ’80s, and once it hit Starbucks, most mainstream coffee houses quickly added it to their menus.

What is a Cortado?

Walk into any coffee shop, and you are bound to have at least 20 different options aside from regular black coffee. Among those options is a little gem nestled amongst the other drinks – the Cortado. While this may sound like a fancy taco or something outrageously complicated, it’s actually much simpler. A cortado is basically espresso and warm milk. You may be thinking that makes it a cappuccino, but while the ingredients are the same, the configuration makes all the difference.

A cortado is an equal balance of espresso and milk at a 1:1 ratio. This helps to temper the acidity that comes with espresso without taking away from its bold flavor. The Cortado uses steamed milk, but unlike cappuccinos and even Flat Whites, there is almost no milk foam or froth. This coffee features a simple structure, small size, and a large burst of creamy flavor.

Pouring Steamed milk to make a Cortado

Why is Cortado also Called Gibraltar?

A Cortado and a Gibraltar are the same drink but with different names. The name of this harmoniously blended coffee will differ depending on the coffee shop you visit. The original name, Cortado is derived from the Spanish word that means cut. A Cortado drink is only strong espresso with the acidity cut by steamed milk. A Gibraltar is the exact same drink, but served in a glass tumbler, specifically a Gibraltar glass. If you visit a coffee shop that services this drink in a glass, it typically will be named Gibraltar. However, if you visit a coffee shop that serves this drink in any other small cup, it will be called a Cortado.

Which Has More Caffeine?

A Cortado and a Flat White are both made with a single or double shot of espresso. The main difference between the two is that one has more milk than the other. Since they both have the same amount of espresso, they will also have the same general caffeine content as long as they are purchased at the same coffee shop.

The taste will vary greatly, however, due to the milk content. If you are looking for a bolder taste, you should order a Cortado, as it contains less milk. For a strong caffeine boost but with a mellower flavor, then a Flat White is what you are looking for.

Can You Serve a Flat White or Cortado Iced?

Hot coffee is a great way to get an easy energy boost, but with summer just around the corner, iced beverages are coming back in style. Just about any coffee type can be poured over ice with flavorful results, and both Cortados and Flat Whites are no exception.

The allure of these particular beverages is their intense flavors paired with the smooth creaminess of the milk. Just ask your local barista to toss yours over ice for the perfect summertime pick me up on the go. Keep in mind that that flavor will be diluted the longer you let your iced coffee sits. Either have your iced Cortado or Flat White served in a smaller cup of ice, or try to drink it before all of the ice melts. Either way, Cortados and Flat Whites over ice is a creative way to get your caffeine fix when the mercury starts to rise.

Flat White Served for Breakfast

Which Drink is Better Cortado or Flat White

It is a good idea to try both on different days to determine which one best suits your drinking style. If you are not sure which to try first, start by asking yourself about your coffee preferences. Do you like a strong coffee taste, or do you prefer a more mellow flavor?

If you love intensely flavored coffee, the Cortado will probably be your best bet. It is made with less milk than a Flat White, so you will be able to enjoy a bold taste. Do you like your coffee to taste and feel smooth? If so, then a Flat White may be more your speed. It is made with equal parts of milk and espresso, which give it a velvety and luxurious feel in the mouth. Both drinks offer the same concentration of caffeine, so the answer really boils down to your personal preferences.

Final Thoughts

For coffee junkies like yourself, drinking large amounts of coffee on a regular basis can get pretty boring. A great way to maintain your caffeine levels while also trying something new is by exploring new coffee drinks. Both Flat Whites and Cortado’s offer a delicious option for coffee addicts who are looking for something new and different to drink.

Make sure that you ask your barista if they plan to use Ristretto shots or Espresso shots when making your drink. If you are looking for a strong flavor but less caffeine, then opt for a shot. If you love a strong boost of energy along with the flavor, then regular Espresso shots should be used for either drink.

Comparison of Flat White and Cortado
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