While the cafe cubano and cafe con leche might have become common cafe menu items, the cortadito hasn’t yet had its time in the limelight. This dark, strong coffee cut with milk and sugar is a favorite among Cubans. It might just become one of yours too! So what makes a good cortadito coffee?
What Is A Cortadito Coffee?
Perhaps the best way of describing this Cuban specialty is by explaining how it differs from other similar coffees. There is, of course, the cafe cubano or "cafecito". Cafe Cubano features the presweetened espresso but without the milk topping. There’s also the cafe con leche (coffee with milk), similar to a latte but with slightly less milk. The cortadito however, uses a 1:1 ratio of espresso and milk or sometimes evaporated milk. However, it uses presweetened espresso.
How To Make A Cortadito
The basic premise of the cortadito is pretty standard, but the preparation is not. In homes, or even in some Cuban cafes, you’ll find the coffee is made with a Moka pot rather than an espresso machine. To get the traditional espuma on the coffee, you whip the sugar with a small amount of coffee. And you do it before adding the milk. Others prefer to sweeten it during the brewing process.
What we love about the Cortadito is how adaptable and easy it is to make at home. You don’t need any unique accessories or even a milk frother. The best thing is, you can heat the untextured milk in a small saucepan.
This simple cortadito recipe is made using an espresso machine. But, as I said before, if you don’t have one, you can make strong coffee with a Moka pot. Or even an AeroPress. Using a Moka pot is preferable if you want to make cortaditos for a crowd. In this case, you would whip the sugar/coffee mix for all cups at once and portion it out for serving.
Step 1: Add the sugar to the serving cup and set it aside.
Step 2: Brew your double shot of espresso.
Step 3: Pour a small amount of coffee into the sugar and whip until light and fluffy.
Step 4: Add the remaining coffee to the cup and stir to combine.
Step 5: Top with an equal amount of steamed milk.