Iced Cortado

Iced Cortado: What is It and How to Make It at Home

Beat the summer heat with a homemade iced cortado! This classic espresso-based drink is a great go-to for when you’re looking to cool down and energize. Whether you’re an avid coffee lover or just getting into the brewing scene, creating your own iced cortado is an easy, delicious way to experience this popular beverage from the comfort of your own home. With just a few simple steps you’ll be able to make barista-level creations that will leave family and friends impressed. Keep reading to find out how!

What is A Cortado?

A traditional cortado
A traditional cortado

A cortado is a type of coffee beverage that originated in Spain and is now popular in many parts of the world. It is made by combining equal parts espresso and steamed milk, resulting in a balanced and smooth taste. The word “cortado” comes from the Spanish word “cortar,” which means to cut, and refers to the way the milk cuts the intensity of the espresso. This creates a drink that is less strong than a traditional espresso, but still maintains its bold flavor.

The cortado is often served in a small glass, allowing the rich, caramel-colored liquid to be admired. The espresso used in a cortado is typically made with high-quality beans and brewed using a specific method to extract the best flavor. The steamed milk is carefully poured into the espresso, creating a beautiful layer of foam on top. This foam not only adds visual appeal but also helps to enhance the taste and texture of the drink.

One of the defining characteristics of a cortado is its balance. The combination of equal parts espresso and milk creates a drink that is neither too strong nor too milky. The steamed milk adds a creamy and smooth texture to the espresso, while still allowing the bold flavors to shine through. The result is a drink that is rich and satisfying, without being overwhelming.

In recent years, the cortado has gained popularity among coffee enthusiasts and has become a staple in many specialty coffee shops. Its simple yet sophisticated flavor profile appeals to those who appreciate a well-crafted cup of coffee. Whether enjoyed as a morning pick-me-up or an afternoon treat, the cortado offers a unique and enjoyable coffee experience.

What does Cortado Taste?

The flavors of an iced cortado can vary slightly depending on the type of espresso and milk used. Generally speaking, it is a complex yet harmonious blend of sweet, creamy, and slightly nutty notes that come together to create a smooth and delicious beverage. The espresso adds boldness and body while the steamed milk contributes sweetness and creaminess. When combined, these two elements bring out the best in each other, resulting in a well-balanced drink.

The addition of ice to the cortado creates an even more refreshing and mellow flavor. The cold temperature pairs perfectly with the smooth espresso and creamy milk, creating a light yet flavorful beverage that is sure to please any palate. Unlike iced coffee drinks, the ice doesn’t dilute or overpower the flavor of the cortado. Instead, it enhances its taste while adding a nice chill to each sip.

Benefits of Iced Cortado

The iced cortado is a great way to enjoy the flavor of a traditional cortado while also benefiting from its cooling properties. The addition of ice cubes helps to mellow out the strength of the espresso, making it perfect for hot summer days. This type of drink is also incredibly refreshing and energizing, providing you with an invigorating jolt of caffeine.

The process of making an iced cortado is fairly simple and requires the same steps as a regular cortado, with the addition of ice cubes. Start by preparing your espresso shot using a quality beans blend and specific brewing method. Once the espresso is complete, add steamed milk to create a beautiful layer of foam on top. Finally, fill the glass with ice cubes and pour the espresso-milk mixture over it. This easy method results in a delicious and energizing iced cortado that is sure to satisfy your coffee cravings!

With its creamy, smooth flavor, the iced cortado offers an enjoyable way to beat the summer heat. Whether you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up or just need a cooling treat, this delicious drink is sure to do the trick. Plus, making your own iced cortado at home will save you time and money while still allowing you to enjoy barista-level creations.

What Grind Level is Best for Making an Iced Cortado?

When it comes to making a great cup of coffee, grind size matters. A properly ground espresso will extract the right amount of flavor from the beans, resulting in a delicious and balanced cup. For an iced cortado, you want to use a finer grind size as this will allow more flavor to be extracted from the beans. A finer grind will also help to slow down espresso extraction, resulting in a less bitter and more balanced cup.

The best way to achieve a fine grind for an iced cortado is to use a burr grinder. This type of grinder provides more control over the fineness of your grounds, allowing you to get the perfect texture every time. For espresso, you want to aim for a grind size that is slightly finer than table salt, as this will be ideal for extracting all the flavor from your beans.

What Type of Milk is Best for an Iced Cortado?

When it comes to making a great cup of coffee, the type of milk you use plays an important role. For iced cortados, you want to use either whole or 2% milk as this will provide the right amount of creaminess and sweetness. Whole milk will create a richer and more decadent flavor profile while 2% will provide a lighter and smoother taste. You can also use non-dairy milk alternatives such as almond or oat milk, however these tend to have a thinner texture and may not create the same level of foam as regular milks.

Whichever type of milk you choose, make sure it is cold before pouring it into the espresso. Cold milk will create a more consistent foam layer on top of the drink and ensure all the flavors blend together nicely.

How to Make Iced Cortado at Home (Recipe)

Iced Cortado

Iced Cortado

Iced cortado is an iced coffee drink that has a layer of milk on top. It's made with espresso, ice, and milk.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American, Spanish
Servings 1
Calories 84 kcal


  • Espresso machine/ Moka Pot/ French Press/ Aeropress
  • Milk frother
  • Glass for serving
  • Ice cubes


  • 2 shots (30ml) espresso
  • 4 ounces(120 ml) steamed milk
  • 2 glass Ice cubes as desired


  • Begin by preparing two shots of espresso using your preferred method (espresso machine, Moka Pot, French Press, Aeropress).
  • Steam your milk until it reaches a creamy consistency.
  • Fill the glass with ice cubes and pour the prepared espresso over the top.
  • Gently pour the steamed milk over the espresso, creating a beautiful layer of foam on top.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • Feel free to adjust the amounts and strength of espresso or steamed milk based on your preference.
  • You can also experiment with different types of milk for an even creamier flavor.
    For added sweetness, add a teaspoon of sugar or other sweetener while steaming the milk.
  • If desired, garnish the drink with cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder or other spices for an extra kick.
    You can also top your cortado with some whipped cream and sprinkles for a fun twist.
  • For a vegan version of this recipe, use plant-based milk instead of dairy.
    Make sure to store any unused espresso shots in an airtight container and keep them refrigerated for up to 5 days.
  • You can also use this recipe as a base for other coffee drinks such as cappuccinos, lattes and macchiatos. Simply adjust the amounts of espresso and steamed milk to suit your preference.
Keyword Iced Cortado, summer


Iced Cortado Variations to Try:

  • Iced Mocha Cortado: Try adding a tablespoon of chocolate syrup or cocoa powder to the espresso-milk mixture for a delicious mocha flavor.
  • Coconut Iced Cortado: Create a tropical twist on this classic drink by replacing half of the steamed milk with coconut milk.
  • Iced Vanilla Cortado: Add a few drops of vanilla extract or syrup to the espresso-milk mixture for a hint of sweetness.
  • Iced Caramel Cortado: Drizzle some caramel sauce on top and sprinkle with cinnamon for a tasty indulgence.
  • Spiced Iced Cortado: Try adding a pinch each of ground ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and anise for a warming touch.
  • Mint Iced Cortado: Garnish your drink with fresh mint leaves or a few drops of peppermint extract for a refreshing taste.
  • Iced Matcha Cortado: For some added health benefits, try replacing the espresso with matcha powder for a green tea-infused treat.
  • Iced Chocolate Cortado: Create a decadent and indulgent drink by adding cocoa powder or melted chocolate to the espresso-milk mixture.


Is a cortado the same as a macchiato?

No, they are not the same. A macchiato is an espresso that is topped with a small amount of steamed milk and foam, whereas a cortado is an espresso-milk drink in which equal parts espresso and steamed milk are combined.

Can I make an iced cortado at home?

Yes, you can! Making an iced cortado at home is fairly simple and requires the same steps as a regular cortado, with the addition of ice cubes. All you need is your favorite espresso blend, steamed milk and a few ice cubes. For detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe above.

What type of milk should I use for an iced cortado?

You can use any type of milk for an iced cortado, such as whole milk, skimmed milk, oat milk or almond milk. If you’re looking for a creamier flavor, opt for full-fat dairy milk or nut milks. You can also experiment with different types of milk to find the one that suits your taste the best.

Does an iced cortado contain caffeine?

Yes, it does – as long as it is made with shots of espresso. Espresso is a concentrated form of brewed coffee and tends to be higher in caffeine than regular coffee. Therefore, an iced cortado contains varying amounts of caffeine, depending on how much espresso is used in the recipe.

Are iced cortados the same as iced coffee?

No, they are not. An iced coffee is usually a cold-brewed coffee that has been served over ice and mixed with milk, whereas an iced cortado combines espresso shots with steamed milk before being poured over ice. The two drinks have different flavor profiles and textures, so make sure to choose the one that best suits your palate.

Can I sweeten an iced cortado?

Yes, you can! To add a hint of sweetness to your iced cortado, try adding a teaspoon of sugar or other sweetener while steaming the milk. You can also top your drink with whipped cream and sprinkles for an extra special touch. However, remember that too much added sugar can overwhelm the flavor of the espresso, so use it sparingly.

How many shots of espresso in a cortado?

Most recipes for a cortado call for two shots of espresso. However, you can adjust the amounts and strength of espresso or steamed milk based on your preference. Feel free to experiment with different ratios until you find one that fits your taste buds best.

Iced cortado vs iced coffee: which is stronger?

An iced cortado is typically stronger than regular iced coffee because it is made with espresso shots. Therefore, it has a more intense flavor and higher caffeine content. However, the strength of an iced cortado can vary depending on the amount of espresso that is used in the recipe. For a weaker drink, use less espresso; for a stronger one, use more espresso shots.

Can I make an iced cortado with cold-brewed coffee?

No, you cannot use cold-brewed coffee to make an iced cortado – as it is a different type of brewing process. To make an iced cortado, you will need shots of espresso that have been brewed using the espresso machine. However, you can use cold-brewed coffee to make other iced coffee drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos.

How much water should I use?

The amount of water you use will depend on the type and strength of espresso that you are using. Generally, it is best to follow the instructions on the packaging. However, if you want a more intense flavor, you can reduce the amount of water for a stronger shot. On the other hand, if you prefer a milder taste, add more water to dilute the espresso.

How many calories are in an iced cortado?

The exact number of calories in an iced cortado will depend on the ingredients used, such as the type of milk, added sugar and any other toppings. However, typically a single shot of espresso contains approximately 3 calories and 1 tablespoon of steamed milk contains about 10 calories. So, a cortado made with 2 shots of espresso and 2 tablespoons of steamed milk would contain approximately 33 calories in total.

What is the difference between an iced latte and an iced cortado?

An iced latte is made with espresso, steamed milk and foam – usually in a 3:1 ratio. On the other hand, an iced cortado is made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk. Also, a latte has a much creamier texture and milky flavor than a cortado – which is more intense and concentrated. So, if you are looking for a smooth coffee drink with plenty of foam, then an iced latte might be the best option.


An iced cortado is a delicious and refreshing way to enjoy your favorite espresso blend. It’s simple to make at home with just a few ingredients, and you can customize it to suit your own tastes by adding different flavors or toppings. So why not give it a try today? You might be surprised at how enjoyable this coffee treat can be!

For an even more interesting twist, you can also try making a green tea-infused iced cortado. Simply add a few tea bags to the milk while steaming it and then pour it over espresso shots and ice cubes for a unique flavor combination. Enjoy!

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