Cortadito Coffee: A Guide To Making The Perfect Cuban Espresso

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter
Cortadito Coffee

Cortadito Coffee: Although cortado and cafe cubano are well-known cafe staples, the cortadito hasn’t yet gained widespread recognition. This rich, robust coffee, sweetened and mixed with milk, is a beloved Cuban favorite and might soon be yours too!

But what exactly makes a perfect cortadito coffee?

What Is a Cortadito Coffee?

A cortadito is a Cuban coffee specialty that stands out from other similar beverages. It’s best described by comparing it to its close relative, the cortado. The traditional Spanish cortado consists of two shots of espresso mixed with an equal amount of steamed milk. Similarly, the cortadito uses a 1:1 ratio of coffee and milk, but with a unique twist—it incorporates presweetened espresso or sometimes sweetened condensed milk.

Cuban coffee culture also features other distinct beverages. The cafe cubano, or cafecito, consists of presweetened espresso without any milk. Another popular option is cafe con leche, which is akin to a latte but uses slightly less milk. In Cuban society, sharing these delightful coffee drinks is a cherished way to connect with loved ones.

How to Make Cortadito Coffee

The basic idea behind a cortadito is simple, but the preparation can vary. Traditionally, this Cuban coffee is often made with a Moka pot instead of an espresso machine. To achieve the signature espuma, sugar is whipped with a small amount of coffee before adding milk. Alternatively, some prefer to sweeten the coffee during the brewing process by adding sugar to the top of the Moka pot or on top of the tamped grounds in the portafilter.

For a different twist, you can leave the espresso unsweetened and top it with steamed condensed milk. The beauty of the cortadito is its adaptability and simplicity—you don’t need special accessories or even a milk frother. Heating milk in a small saucepan works perfectly.

Ingredients and Equipment

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar (adjust to taste)
    • Espresso coffee beans or strong coffee beans
    • Milk or sweetened condensed milk
  • Equipment:
    • Moka pot or espresso machine (AeroPress can also be used)
    • Serving cups
    • Small saucepan (if not using a milk frother)
    • Whisk or spoon

Steps to Make a Cortadito

Step 1: Prepare the Sugar

  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar to your serving cup. Set it aside while you brew the coffee.

Step 2: Brew the Coffee

  • If using an espresso machine, pull a double shot of espresso.
  • If using a Moka pot, fill it with water and ground coffee according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place it on the stove over medium heat until the coffee brews.
  • If using an AeroPress, brew a strong coffee concentrate.

Step 3: Create the Espuma (Foam)

  • Pour a small amount of brewed coffee into the cup with the sugar.
  • Use a whisk or spoon to whip the sugar and coffee mixture vigorously until it becomes light and fluffy. This creates the espuma, which is a thick, frothy foam.

Pro Tip: Add just enough coffee to wet the sugar. It will form a thick, grainy paste at first, but as you continue to whip, it will dissolve and become looser and frothy.

Step 4: Combine Coffee and Espuma

  • Once you have a fluffy espuma, add the remaining coffee to the cup.
  • Stir gently to combine the coffee and espuma thoroughly.

Step 5: Prepare and Add Milk

  • If you prefer traditional milk, heat it in a small saucepan until it’s warm and slightly frothy. If using sweetened condensed milk, you can heat it slightly as well.
  • Pour an equal amount of steamed milk or sweetened condensed milk into the cup over the coffee mixture.

Note: The ratio is generally 1:1 coffee to milk, but you can adjust based on your preference.

Tips for Making Cortadito

  • Sweetening During Brewing: If you prefer, you can sweeten the coffee during the brewing process:
    • For a Moka pot: Add sugar to the top of the pot before brewing.
    • For an espresso machine: Sprinkle sugar over the tamped grounds in the portafilter before brewing.
  • Espuma Consistency: When creating espuma, aim for a smooth, light, and airy consistency. This enhances the flavor and texture of the cortadito.

Enjoy Your Cortadito

  • Serve the cortadito immediately while it’s hot.
  • This drink is perfect for any time of day and pairs well with pastries or Cuban snacks.

By following these detailed steps, you can make a delicious cortadito at home, bringing a taste of Cuban coffee culture to your kitchen. This versatile and straightforward recipe is perfect for both beginners and experienced coffee enthusiasts. Enjoy the rich, sweet flavors of your homemade cortadito!