Cortado is a relative newcomer to the coffee scene, whereas the flat white is a golden oldie in the coffee world. Both drinks are quite similar but do have a few differences. The cortado is a much stronger coffee than the flat white. The flat white is also much smoother in the mouth than a cortado coffee.
The cortado coffee-to-milk ratio is 1:1, whereas the flat white has a much larger coffee-to-milk ratio of 1:3 part espresso and 2:3 parts milk. The difference in the amount of milk makes the cortado much stronger in taste than that of its counterpart, the flat white.
Yes, the size of the two drinks is vastly different to one another. Cortados are served in a small, espresso-style coffee cup, with just enough room for your shot of espresso. Flat whites, however, are much taller. Flat whites are prepared using freshly steamed milk, with foam added on the top.
Both coffee drinks contain the same amount of espresso, however, the cortado has less milk than the flat white. This makes it a much stronger drink. Because of the amount of milk in a flat white, some may argue that this is what makes it sweeter, as they are not usually served with any syrups or sweeteners.
There are slight differences in the milk used. The milk used for a cortado is lightly steamed, which results in a warm, light milk layer on top of the equal part espresso.
The milk in the flat white stays heated throughout the process of making the beverage, creating a large layer of milk foam, made up of tiny bubbles making it smooth. The milk in a flat white has much more texture than that of the cortado.
There you have it. Hopefully, now that you know what the difference between a cortado and a flat white is, you won’t feel so concerned when faced with choosing your next coffee order. Want to compare more coffees and understand their differences? Why not take a look at our article about the differences between a latte and a cappuccino, next?