Happy (slightly belated) new year everyone! While on my Christmas break I learnt an interesting coffee fact which I do not want you to miss out on: One cup of espresso consists of 220 milligrams of fibre – which is more fibre than the same amount of orange juice! Did you know that?! So, if a healthy diet is part of your resolutions this year, and you’re therefore aiming to increase fibre, do always remember that coffee is your friend!Thankfully a healthy diet isn’t the topic of this article, so we'll move on swiftly. Remember when we discussed the difference between a flat white and a latte? Well, today we are once again comparing coffee types. However, this time we are leaving the UK behind and heading over to continental Europe – Italy and Spain to be more precise, which are famous for their macchiatos (“macchiati“ would be the correct Italian plural for “macchiato“) and, in the case of Spain, cortados. Interestingly, you will find both served in most London coffee shops – as well as in other parts of the world such as the USA and Australia – so it is well worth the excursion to find out what the difference between a macchiato and a cortado is.
Besides the fact that both drinks originate in two different European countries, their ways of preparation vary a lot too. A traditional macchiato is a single espresso “marked“ (that’s what “macchiato“ translates to) with a spoonful of foamed milk. Traditionally served in an espresso cup or glass, a macchiato is for anyone who finds a plain espresso too acidic, but also wants to refrain from too much milk in their coffee. If you know (or even are) an Italian, it will come as no surprise that no Italian person would ever drink milky coffee on a full stomach, much like how they do not order a milky drink after the clock strikes 12pm. A macchiato is therefore typically enjoyed in the morning – if, the most famous of all, the espresso, is for whatever reason, not an option. The last thing one should know about macchiatos is that they can indeed be served with a double shot if that is preferred.
Continuing our excursion over to España, a cortado is an espresso that is “cut“ (the Spanish word “cortar“ means “cut“) with a dash of warm milk. The coffee to milk ratio is roughly equal to, or slightly more milk than espresso. You can imagine the perfect milk for a cortado thinking of flat white milk: It is “flat“ (therefore not foamy), velvety and shiny. The milk is lightly steamed with no froth at all and then poured over the espresso shot. Speaking of shots, a cortado is served with a double shot, – that is, unless you ask for it to be made using a single shot only. In the traditional Spanish way, cortados are served in a glass with a metal ring base and a metal wire handle. In other places in the world, including London, they are more likely to come in a small cup, similar to how a flat white is served.
If all this talk has left you wondering what on earth the difference between a cortado and a flat white is, then luckily this can be answered quickly and easily: A flat white simply contains more textured milk than a cortado. Think of a cortado as an espresso perfected with a dash of hot, not frothed milk – which makes it stronger than a flat white, but not as strong as the aforementioned macchiato, let alone the acidic espresso. It’s as clear as mud now, isn’t it? … At least you know that they’re all full of fibre. Cheers to that!