Cortado vs Cappuccino Whats Really Better for You

Written by: Raj Jana

cortado vs cappuccino

Are you a coffee lover who's torn between choosing a cortado or a cappuccino? In this article, we'll explore the key differences between these two popular coffee drinks.

From the coffee to milk ratio to the serving size and origin, we'll break down everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

Find out which option is better for various health conditions such as weight loss, lactose intolerance, acid reflux, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, anxiety, and insomnia. Let's dive in and discover which option is truly better for you!

What Is A Cortado?

A Cortado is a popular espresso-based coffee beverage with a unique ratio of espresso to steamed milk, creating a perfect balance of bold espresso flavor and creamy milk texture.

Originating in Spain, the Cortado has its roots in the traditional café culture of the country, where it was enjoyed as a mid-morning treat. To prepare a Cortado, a shot of espresso is poured into a small glass, and an equal amount of steamed milk is then added, resulting in a beverage smaller than a latte but larger than a macchiato. The precise milk ratio ensures that the espresso's rich taste shines through, making it a favorite among coffee enthusiasts seeking a harmonious blend of boldness and creaminess.

What Is A Cappuccino?

A Cappuccino is a classic espresso-based beverage known for its rich combination of espresso, steamed milk, and velvety foam, creating a delightful coffee experience cherished by many.

The frothy foam layer is a key element in a well-made Cappuccino. It is crafted by combining equal parts of steamed milk and microfoam, resulting in a thick and creamy consistency that balances the boldness of the espresso shot.

This layer not only enhances the visual appeal of the drink but also contributes to its overall texture and mouthfeel. The art of milk frothing plays a crucial role in achieving the perfect foam, requiring skill and precision to create the ideal velvety finish that is a signature of a great Cappuccino.

This attention to detail is what sets this beloved beverage apart in European coffee culture, where the strength of the espresso shot and the balance of flavors are celebrated.

What Are The Differences Between A Cortado And A Cappuccino?

difference between cortado and cappuccino

When comparing a Cortado to a Cappuccino, the key distinctions lie in the coffee to milk ratio, the milk texture, and the foam consistency, offering distinct experiences for coffee aficionados.

A Cortado typically consists of an equal ratio of espresso to steamed milk, resulting in a stronger coffee flavor with a velvety mouthfeel.

In contrast, a Cappuccino has a higher milk to coffee ratio, delivering a creamier and smoother texture. The foam in a Cortado is minimal, adding a subtle richness to the drink, whereas a Cappuccino exhibits thick, frothy foam that enhances the overall presentation and taste.

Read: Foam Fanatics How to Make Barista Level Foam for Your Coffee

These variations in milk ratios and foam textures play a significant role in shaping the coffee's taste profile and overall drinking experience.

Coffee To Milk Ratio

The coffee to milk ratio is a crucial factor that distinguishes a Cortado from a Cappuccino, with the Cortado having a higher proportion of espresso to milk compared to the Cappuccino.

In a traditional Cortado, the ratio is typically around 1:1 or 1:2, meaning equal parts espresso to milk or twice as much milk as espresso. This results in a drink that is rich and smooth, with the espresso's bold flavors still shining through.

On the other hand, a Cappuccino usually follows a 1:1:1 ratio, with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and foam. The balance of these elements creates a layered and velvety texture with a milder coffee taste than a Cortado. Achieving the right ratio is essential in both drinks to ensure a harmonious blend of flavors.

Milk Texture

The milk texture in a Cortado differs from that of a Cappuccino, with Cortado featuring silky smooth steamed milk while Cappuccino boasts a thick and luxurious foam layer on top.

The contrast in texture between these two coffee classics plays a key role in how they are enjoyed. A Cortado's velvety milk creates a seamless integration with the espresso, adding a creamy richness without overshadowing the coffee's bold flavors.

On the other hand, a Cappuccino's frothy foam provides a delightful lightness that sits elegantly atop the espresso, offering a contrast in both taste and mouthfeel.

Read: How To Make Frothed Milk In Your French Press

The smoothness of the Cortado invites savoring each sip, while the foam in a Cappuccino offers a playful and airy sensation that elevates the overall coffee experience.

Serving Size

difference in serving size of cortado and cappuccino

In terms of serving size, a Cortado is typically smaller than a Cappuccino, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer a smaller but potent coffee experience.

This smaller size of a Cortado allows for a more concentrated flavor profile, as the ratio of coffee to milk is higher compared to a Cappuccino. The richness and intensity of the espresso shine through in a Cortado, providing a bolder taste that appeals to coffee connoisseurs.

On the other hand, a Cappuccino offers a slightly larger serving size with a balanced mix of coffee, steamed milk, and frothy foam, catering to those who enjoy a creamy and frothy texture in their coffee without overwhelming the espresso flavor.


The origins of Cortado and Cappuccino can be traced back to European coffee traditions, with the Cortado having Spanish roots and the Cappuccino being an Italian classic.

These iconic coffee beverages are deeply rooted in the rich coffee cultures of their respective countries, reflecting the unique rituals and traditions that have evolved over centuries.

In Spain, the Cortado is a beloved drink that embodies the country's emphasis on bold flavors and simplicity. It consists of equal parts espresso and steamed milk, creating a balanced and smooth flavor profile.

On the other hand, the Cappuccino from Italy is known for its frothy milk foam and espresso base, symbolizing the elegance and artistry of Italian coffee-making. Both drinks showcase the influence of Italian and Spanish coffee traditions, adding to their cultural significance.

Which One Has More Caffeine?

caffeine in cortado and cappuccino

When it comes to caffeine content, a Cortado typically has a stronger espresso flavor due to its higher espresso to milk ratio, making it a bolder choice for those seeking a caffeine kick.

On the other hand, a Cappuccino, while also made with espresso, has a higher proportion of steamed milk and foam, resulting in a milder coffee taste. This difference in espresso concentration between the two drinks not only impacts the flavor profile but also affects the caffeine levels. Cappuccinos generally have less caffeine compared to Cortados due to the higher milk content, making them a preferred choice for those looking for a more balanced coffee experience. The varying caffeine levels in these drinks can influence taste preferences as well as energy levels throughout the day.

Which One Is Better For Weight Loss?

In the context of weight loss, choosing between a Cortado and a Cappuccino depends on personal preference and dietary goals, as both beverages can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle.

While both Cortado and Cappuccino are popular coffee choices, their caloric implications can differ based on factors like milk type, added sweeteners, and serving sizes.

When incorporating these beverages into a weight loss journey, it's essential to be mindful of portion control and overall caloric intake. Opting for smaller sizes or choosing non-fat milk options can help reduce the calorie content.

Being aware of how these beverages fit into your daily caloric budget can aid in maintaining a balanced and sustainable approach to weight management.

Which One Is Better For People With Lactose Intolerance?

For individuals with lactose intolerance, opting for a Cortado with lactose-free milk may be a suitable choice, as it offers the creamy texture of a coffee drink without the discomfort of dairy.

Similarly, when enjoying a Cappuccino, individuals with lactose intolerance can opt for almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, or coconut milk as alternatives to regular dairy milk. These non-dairy options not only provide a creamy consistency to the beverage but also cater to the dietary needs of those with lactose sensitivities. By accommodating such dietary restrictions, cafes and coffee shops can ensure that all customers can indulge in their favorite coffee creations without compromising their well-being.

Read: The Truth About Vegan Coffee

Which One Is Better For Someone With Acid Reflux?

When considering acid reflux, individuals may find a Cortado to be gentler on the stomach due to its balanced espresso-to-milk ratio, offering a smoother coffee experience without exacerbating reflux symptoms.

This balanced ratio helps reduce the acidity of the coffee, which can be a trigger for acid reflux in some individuals. While a Cappuccino also contains milk, the higher proportion of milk foam in a Cortado creates a creamier texture that may be easier on the digestive system. It's important for those managing acid reflux to pay attention to how their body reacts to different types of coffee, as personal tolerance levels can vary. Opting for a Cortado over a Cappuccino could potentially lead to a more comfortable coffee-drinking experience for individuals prone to digestive issues.

Which One Is Better For Someone With High Blood Pressure?

cortado or cappuccino for people with high blood pressure

Individuals managing high blood pressure may benefit from choosing a Cortado with reduced caffeine content, as it provides a milder coffee experience compared to the stronger caffeine presence in a Cappuccino.

  • Cortados are known for their balanced ratio of espresso to milk, making them a favorable choice for those concerned about excessive caffeine intake. By opting for lower-caffeine options like Cortados, individuals can still savor the rich flavors of coffee without compromising their health.

Considering the impact of caffeine on blood pressure regulation, it is essential to strike a balance between one's taste preferences and health considerations when selecting coffee beverages.

Which One Is Better For Someone With Diabetes?

For individuals managing diabetes, selecting a Cortado without added sugars may align better with dietary restrictions, offering a simple and satisfying coffee choice without excessive sweetness.

Considering the impact of sugar content on blood sugar levels, opting for a Cortado can be a wise decision for those looking to control their carbohydrate intake. By choosing a beverage that is lower in sugar, individuals with diabetes can better manage their blood glucose levels. Mindful selections like a Cortado, which consists of equal parts espresso and steamed milk, can provide a balanced option that helps regulate energy levels throughout the day. Being aware of the sugar content in coffee choices is crucial for overall health maintenance and effectively managing diabetes.

Which One Is Better For Someone With Heart Disease?

In the context of heart disease, individuals may opt for a Cortado as a heart-healthy choice due to its moderate caffeine content and balanced espresso-milk combination, promoting a lighter coffee indulgence.

This balanced coffee option provides a smooth and mellow flavor profile while reducing the likelihood of adverse effects on cardiovascular health.

Choosing a Cortado over a Cappuccino can be beneficial for individuals with heart disease, as excessive caffeine intake may contribute to elevated blood pressure and heart palpitations.

The Cortado's smaller size also encourages moderation in consumption, which is key to maintaining overall wellness.

By being mindful of their coffee choices, individuals can enjoy their favorite beverages while prioritizing their heart health.

Which One Is Better For Someone With Osteoporosis?

Individuals concerned about osteoporosis may consider a Cappuccino with fortified milk as a source of additional calcium, supporting bone health alongside the enjoyable coffee experience.

This delightful combination not only provides a tasty way to start the day but also helps in meeting the recommended daily calcium intake. Calcium is crucial for bone density and strength, making it essential for individuals at risk of osteoporosis. By incorporating milk-based coffee drinks like Cappuccino into their routine, individuals can effortlessly boost their calcium levels. Maintaining adequate calcium intake through dietary sources is key in preventing bone-related issues and ensuring overall bone health. So, enjoying a Cappuccino can be a simple yet effective step towards stronger bones.

Which One Is Better For Someone With Anxiety?

When considering anxiety management, individuals may find comfort in a Cortado's soothing coffee experience, offering a balanced blend of espresso and milk for a calming ritual without overwhelming caffeine effects.

The gentle nature of a Cortado allows for a moment of tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life. The warmth of the freshly brewed coffee coupled with the creamy texture of steamed milk creates a harmonious combination that can help ease stress and promote a sense of relaxation.

For many, the act of preparing and savoring a Cortado has become a cherished ritual, providing a brief respite from the chaos of the outside world. It's not just a drink; it's a comforting embrace that offers solace and a much-needed break from anxiety.

Which One Is Better For Someone With Insomnia?

choosing between cortado and cappuccino for someone with insomnia

For individuals struggling with insomnia, a decaffeinated Cortado may offer a comforting coffee experience without the disruptive effects of caffeine, promoting relaxation and a peaceful transition to sleep.

When deciding between a decaffeinated Cortado and a Cappuccino, it's essential to consider the benefits of choosing a coffee option that won't interfere with your sleep quality.

Opting for a decaffeinated beverage can help in establishing a calming bedtime routine, allowing your mind and body to unwind and prepare for a restful night's sleep. Incorporating comforting rituals like enjoying a warm decaf Cortado or engaging in calming activities before bedtime can further enhance your chances of achieving a deep and rejuvenating sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Cortado and a Cappuccino?

The main difference between a Cortado and a Cappuccino is the ratio of espresso to steamed milk. A Cortado has a higher proportion of espresso to milk, giving it a stronger, bolder flavor. A Cappuccino, on the other hand, has a higher ratio of steamed milk to espresso, resulting in a creamier and smoother taste.

Which drink has more caffeine: a Cortado or a Cappuccino?

A Cortado typically has more caffeine than a Cappuccino due to the higher proportion of espresso. However, the actual amount of caffeine can vary depending on the size and strength of the espresso shots used.

What are the origins of a Cortado and a Cappuccino?

The Cortado originated in Spain and is a popular drink in many Spanish-speaking countries. It is also known as a "Café con Leche" in some regions. The Cappuccino, on the other hand, originated in Italy and is a staple in many Italian cafés.

Which drink is better for those who are lactose intolerant?

Both the Cortado and Cappuccino contain dairy milk, so neither would be suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. However, both can be made with alternative milk options such as almond, soy, or oat milk.

What are the serving sizes for a Cortado and a Cappuccino?

A traditional Cortado is served in a small glass or cup, typically 4-5 ounces. A Cappuccino is usually served in a larger cup, around 6 ounces or more. However, serving sizes can vary depending on the café or region.

Are there any health differences between a Cortado and a Cappuccino?

In terms of health, both drinks are generally considered to be the same. However, a Cortado may have a slightly higher caffeine content due to the higher ratio of espresso. It is always important to consider the added sugar and milk content in specialty coffee drinks for overall health.