Americano vs Cortado

by Anne Franklin 4 min read

Americano vs Cortado

While espresso is great on its own, for many people, it’s simply too strong, which makes them unable to enjoy it fully. However, the coffee world has so much variety that even if you don’t like straight espresso, there are many espresso-based drinks that can minimize the bitterness and acidity of it without changing its flavor completely. 

Americano and Cortado are two of the most popular coffee beverages of this type out there. But how do they compare to each other? What’s the difference between them? And which one will be better for you? Those are some of the questions we will be answering here. 

What’s Americano Coffee?

What’s Americano Coffee

An Americano is a coffee drink made of espresso and hot water. The proportions depend on where you’re getting it from, but usually, it would be either a 1:2 espresso-to-water ratio, with the exception of some places using either 1:1 or 1:3 ratio. 

It’s not really known where Americano originated from, but one popular theory suggests that it was the creation of American soldiers who were stationed in Europe, most likely in Italy, during World War II who wanted their coffee to be less strong, as the espresso was too intense for them. 

What’s Cortado Coffee?

What’s Cortado Coffee

Cortado is an espresso-based drink of Spanish origin, if you couldn’t tell by the name - it’s derived from the Spanish verb “cortar”, which means “to cut”. It’s made from espresso and steamed milk in a 1:1 ratio and is typically served in a small, 4-ounce glass. 

Cortado vs Americano - What Is the Difference? 

So, now that you know what Cortado and Americano coffee mean, we can talk about what makes the two drinks different from each other. There are actually a few things, and you can probably guess some of them based on what we already talked about - either way, however, let’s go through all of it again. 


The first and probably most obvious difference between the two is how they are prepared. An Americano uses water and espresso, while a Cortado uses steamed milk and espresso. As for the ratio, Cortado is usually prepared using equal parts of espresso and steamed milk (1:1 ratio). An Americano, on the other hand, is typically made with a 1:2 espresso-to-water ratio, although it’s not uncommon to use 1:1 or 1:3 ratios - it all depends on where you’re getting your coffee from. 

Preparation Method

An Americano is slightly less difficult to prepare. That’s because when preparing a Cortado, you need to be careful when steaming the milk. While it might not seem so,properly steaming the milk can significantly improve the overall taste of the drink. 


Then, there’s the origin. As mentioned, Cortado originates from Spain, while it’s not really known where Americano comes from, although the most popular theory suggests Italy. 

Flavor & Texture

Another thing that differentiates them is their taste. An Americano has a stronger flavor, lighter texture, and more watery consistency, while a Cortado is thicker and has a more balanced flavor and a creamy texture. A Cortado is also sweeter because of the added milk. 

Serving Size

Then, we also have the serving size. An Americano is typically served in a bigger cup that can hold 8 or 10 ounces, while you’re most likely to receive a Cortado is a small glass, typically the 4-ounce one. 

Nutritional Value

There’s also the amount of calories both of the drinks have. As you probably know,the amount of calories in coffee varies depending on what type of coffee you’re drinking. And while it’s impossible to say how many calories exactly both of these drinks have, especially with the Cortado, where the milk choice makes a significant difference, we can say this - Cortado has more calories than Americano, simply because milk is used instead of water. 

Caffeine Content

As for the caffeine content, it all depends on how many espresso shots are used in both drinks. If both are made with one, two or three shots of espresso, then their caffeine content is the same - milk or water won’t change that. 

What changes, however, is the concentration of caffeine in a single sip. Since, as mentioned, Cortado is smaller, its caffeine concentration will be higher than in an Americano - simply because the second beverage is bigger and is more diluted. 

Cortado vs Americano - An Overview

Here is a short overview of everything that’s been said thus far. 








Espresso, steamed milk

Espresso, water



1:2 (sometimes 1:1 or 1:3) 

Serving size

4 oz glass

8-10 oz cup





Balanced flavor, creamy texture

Strong flavor, lighter texture



More watery

Caffeine concentration




The Bottom Line 

As you can see, despite the fact that both of these drinks are based on espresso, there are quite a few differences between the two. So, which one is better? Well, that depends on your preference. If you prefer your coffee beverage to have a stronger flavor, then an Americano will be better. If you like your drinks with milk, however, and a more balanced flavor, then a Cortado will be a more suitable choice. 

Whichever becomes your drink of choice, at Angelino’s, we have everything you need to make the perfect espresso-based coffee beverage. Take a look atour selection of espresso coffee pods, and see for yourself! 




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