Cortado Vs Piccolo : The Ultimate Showdown

Cortado and piccolo are espresso-based drinks that differ mainly in their milk to espresso ratio. Cortado has more milk, and piccolo has less milk.

Coffee enthusiasts are always on the hunt for new beverages to enjoy, experimenting with various brewing methods and ingredients. In the world of coffee, there are countless ways to have your daily dose of caffeine. Espresso-based drinks have become a popular choice amongst coffee lovers, and the cortado and piccolo are two such drinks that are gaining popularity.

Cortado and piccolo are two of the newest additions to the espresso-based menu in your local coffee shop, but what is the difference between these two beverages? Understanding the difference between cortado and piccolo can help you decide which drink will suit you best. This article will compare and contrast these two drinks to help you make an informed choice.

Cortado Vs Piccolo

Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages worldwide, whether it is enjoyed in the morning to start the day or as a midday pick-me-up. There are countless coffee types out there, and two of them are the cortado and piccolo.

We’ll delve into the key differences between cortado and piccolo, starting with the former.

Origin Of Cortado

The cortado originates from Spain, where it is a popular beverage that is enjoyed by many. The word “cortado” can be translated to mean “cut” in Spanish, which is precisely what this coffee is all about. It’s a shot of espresso, where a small amount of milk is added to cut the bitterness.

Definition Of Cortado

Cortado is a spanish coffee that is made by adding a small amount of milk to a shot of espresso. The milk is used to cut down on the bitterness of the espresso, resulting in a drink that is smooth and creamy.

Ingredients And Preparation

To make a cortado, you’ll need:

  • Espresso
  • A small amount of steamed milk

To prepare:

  • Pull a shot of espresso.
  • Steam a small amount of milk until it is hot and frothy.
  • Pour the steamed milk into the espresso shot.
  • And enjoy!

Serving Size And Presentation

A cortado is usually served in a small glass that can hold between 4-6 ounces of liquid. The drink itself is a rich, creamy brown color, with a thin layer of foam on the top.

Flavor Profile

Cortado is known for its smooth, creamy taste, thanks to the addition of milk to the espresso. It still has a bold flavor that packs a punch but is less bitter than a straight espresso shot.

Popular Variations Of Cortado

  • Gibraltar cortado: This is the american version of the cortado. It’s served in a gibraltar glass, which is wider than a traditional shot glass.
  • Dirty cortado: A cortado with a shot of chocolate syrup added to it.
  • Flat white cortado: A cortado with a larger amount of steamed milk added to it.

That’s everything you need to know about a cortado! It’s a delicious coffee that is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy a smooth drink that still has a bold flavor.


It’s no secret that coffee is a universal language that speaks to people all over the world. To die-hard coffee lovers, coffee is not just a beverage, but a way of life. If you’re a coffee fanatic, you may be well acquainted with the popular term ‘cortado’ – a spanish coffee that includes equal parts of espresso and steamed milk.

However, there’s another espresso drink that coffee enthusiasts should know about, and that’s a piccolo – an aussie take on the spanish cortado. In this blog post, we’ll look at the piccolo in detail and compare it to the cortado.

Origin Of Piccolo

The word ‘piccolo’ means small in Italian, but the drink has its roots in Australia, where coffee culture is thriving. In the late 2000s, baristas in Sydney started experimenting with a new espresso drink that was a cross between an espresso macchiato and a cortado.

They added steamed milk to a shot of espresso in a tiny glass, creating the piccolo.

Definition Of Piccolo

A piccolo is a small espresso drink, similar to a cortado. It usually consists of one shot of espresso and steamed milk in a small glass, creating equal parts of espresso and warm milk.

Ingredients And Preparation

The preparation of a piccolo begins with a shot of espresso and steamed milk. The milk is added to the espresso at a ratio of 1:1, and it should be steamed until it has a velvety texture. The barista then carefully pours the milk on top of the espresso shot, creating a layered effect.

Serving Size And Presentation

A piccolo is typically served in a small glass, usually one that can hold between 70-110 ml or 2. 5-4 oz. The drink’s small size and delicate presentation make it a popular option for those who want a taste of espresso without committing to a full cup.

Flavor Profile

The piccolo’s flavor is similar to the cortado, but it has a slightly stronger espresso flavor. The shot of espresso is minimally diluted by the milk, giving it a robust coffee flavor with a hint of sweetness from the steamed milk.

Popular Variations Of Piccolo

Baristas and coffee shops have gotten creative with the traditional piccolo, introducing different variations of the drink. Some popular variations include:

  • Coconut piccolo: Made with coconut milk instead of regular milk.
  • Cinnamon piccolo: Flavored with cinnamon to add a spicy twist to the drink.
  • Vanilla piccolo: Sweetened with vanilla syrup or extract.
  • Chocolate piccolo: A popular choice for chocolate lovers, with a dusting of cocoa powder on top of the drink.

The piccolo and cortado are both excellent options for those who want a taste of espresso and milk in one delicious drink. The piccolo is a perfect choice for those who want a little more espresso flavor in their drink, as the milk to espresso ratio is equal.

So, try a piccolo on your next coffee run and let your taste buds be the judge!

Key Differences Between Cortado And Piccolo

Coffee enthusiasts are well aware of the abundance of coffee styles available on the market. Some of the most popular options include espresso, cappuccino, americano, latte, cortado, piccolo, and more. However, many coffee lovers tend to get confused between certain styles, especially cortado and piccolo.

Here, we will explore the key differences between cortado and piccolo.

Milk To Espresso Ratio

One of the significant differences between cortado and piccolo is the milk to espresso ratio. Below are the details:

  • Cortado consists of a 1: 1 milk to espresso ratio, which means that the quantity of milk used is equal to the volume of espresso.
  • In comparison, piccolo features a higher espresso to milk ratio with 1/3 espresso and 2/3 milk.

Espresso And Milk Temperature

Another important factor that sets cortado apart from piccolo is the temperature of espresso and milk. The following are the details:

  • Cortado is typically served with warm milk and coffee, and the milk is not heated too much.
  • Piccolo is served with hot espresso shot and steamed milk.

Flavor Profile

While cortado and piccolo may look similar, their taste is vastly different. Here’s what you should know:

  • Cortado is a spanish-style coffee, which is smooth and velvety, with a sweet chocolate aftertaste. It is perfect for those who prefer a milder coffee.
  • Piccolo has a bolder flavor profile, and its taste tends to be nutty, chocolaty, and slightly creamy.


When it comes to presentation, both cortado and piccolo are served in small glasses, but with some differences:

  • Cortado is typically served in a gibraltar glass, which is a short tumbler with a thick bottom. The drink is often garnished with a slice of lemon or orange on the rim.
  • Piccolo is served in a small, narrow glass, which resembles a shot glass.

Regional Differences

Lastly, cortado and piccolo have some regional differences. Here’s what you should know:

  • Cortado originated in Spain and is widely popular in Latin American countries, including Colombia and Cuba.
  • Piccolo originated in Australia and is a favorite among coffee lovers in the united states and Europe.

While cortado and piccolo may look similar, they have significant differences in terms of milk to espresso ratio, temperature, flavor profile, presentation, and regional origin. Understanding these differences can help you select the right coffee according to your taste preference and mood.

Which One To Choose?

The Ultimate Showdown

When it comes to espresso-based coffee drinks, choosing between a cortado and a piccolo can be a daunting task. Both drinks are similar in the sense that they contain espresso and milk, but they differ in terms of milk quantity and texture.

Let’s take a closer look at each drink.

Factors To Consider

To choose between a cortado and a piccolo, it’s essential to consider a few factors.

Target Audience For Both Drinks

Both cortado and piccolo are popular among coffee enthusiasts who enjoy espresso-based drinks with a small amount of milk. However, there are slight differences in the target audience for both drinks.

  • The cortado is more popular among those who prefer a stronger espresso taste with a smooth texture of milk, while maintaining a balance between the two.
  • On the other hand, the piccolo is a bit stronger in taste than the cortado and is ideal for those who prefer a bolder espresso flavor with a thicker texture of milk.

Frequently Asked Questions On Cortado Vs Piccolo

What Is A Cortado Coffee Drink?

A cortado is a spanish-origin coffee drink that comes with a shot of espresso, and it is then mixed with an equal amount of steamed milk. This coffee drink is usually served in a glass or a ceramic cup and is a great option for those who want to enjoy a coffee drink that isn’t too strong or too milky.

What Is A Piccolo Coffee Drink?

Piccolo coffee is an italian-origin coffee drink that is made with one shot of espresso and topped with milk that has been frothed. This coffee drink is usually served in a small glass or a ceramic cup, and it is a great option for those who want to enjoy a strong and robust coffee drink, but want something that is smaller in size.

What Is The Difference Between A Cortado And A Piccolo?

While both cortado and piccolo are coffee drinks that come with a shot of espresso, the difference lies in the amount of milk used in each drink. A cortado comes with an equal amount of steamed milk as the espresso shot, whereas a piccolo is made with frothed milk that is added on top of the espresso.

Additionally, a piccolo is typically served in a smaller glass as compared to a cortado.

Final Verdict

Choosing between a cortado and a piccolo ultimately comes down to personal preference. However, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you prefer a stronger espresso flavour with a smooth milk texture, go for a cortado.
  • If you prefer a bolder espresso flavour with a thicker milk texture, choose a piccolo.

While both drinks are similar, the choice between a cortado and piccolo comes down to personal preference. So, the next time you’re at a café and can’t choose which drink to order, consider the factors mentioned above and choose what suits your taste buds best.

But whichever you go for, make sure to savor it slowly and enjoy every sip. Remember, coffee isn’t just a beverage; it’s an experience that can jazz up your day. So find your perfect cup and enjoy!

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