What is the difference between Cortado vs Flat White?

What is the difference between Cortado vs Flat White

If you are already familiar with the difference between cortado vs cappuccino, or cortado vs latte, today you will learn the difference between Cortado vs Flat White.

The taste of Espresso in Cortado is bolder but still not very pronounced due to the presence of milk, which is in the same amount. On the other hand, Flat White coffee is made with more Espresso and less milk. This leads to a stronger and more pronounced taste of Espresso, accompanied by a slight softness and sweetness from the milk. 

Let`s have a more in-depth look.


  1. What is a Cortado?
  2. What is a Flat White?
  3. Difference between Cortado vs Flat White
  4. Cortado vs Flat White Calories
  5. Cortado vs Flat White caffeine content

What is a Cortado?

Cortado is a type of Spanish coffee made from two main ingredients – Milk and a shot of Espresso (one or two shots). To prepare this drink, the milk is steamed until a very thin layer of foam is obtained on top. Note that only steamed milk should remain. The ratio of Espresso to Milk in Cortado is 1: 1 or 50% Espresso and 50% milk. 

The name “Cortado” comes from the Spanish word “cortar,” which means “cut.” This is due to the steamed milk, which cuts the Espresso in half. What other names does Cortado coffee have in other countries? 

In Catalan, it is called “Tallat”; Portugal – “Garoto” or “Pingo”; France – “noisette.” 

What is a Flat White?

Both Cortadoto and Flat White are made with two ingredients – espresso and milk. Depending on where the Flat White is ordered and who prepares it, it is with:

  • 1 espresso shot 
  • Double Espresso shot 
  • 1 ristretto shot
  • Double ristretto shot

The ratio between espresso and milk at Flat White is 1:2 (⅓ Espresso and ⅔ Milk). The milk is steamed and micro-foamed on top. This concept leads to the dominant taste of the Milk, with a hint of sweetness and velvet. Flat White is usually served in a glass with about 6 ounces. In some cafe chains, it may be in larger quantities (around 8 ounces). But this can change the overall performance of the drink due to the presence of more milk. 

Also, if the barista uses Ristretto shots for the Flat White, this will lead to lower caffeine content in the beverage. The caffeine content difference between risotto vs espresso is 33 mg vs 64 mg per shot.

Difference between Cortado vs Flat White

INGREDIENTSEspresso Shot + MilkEspresso Shot + Milk
PREPARATION½ Espresso and ½ Milk⅓ Espresso and ⅔ Milk
TASTEStronger Espresso tasteMilky and smoother
MILKSteamed with MicrofoamSteamed with Microfoam
CUP SIZE6 oz6 to 8 oz
CALORIES~70~80 for 6 oz and ~110 for 8 oz
CAFFEINE1 Espresso shot – 64 mg caffeine1 Espresso shot – 64 mg caffeine
Difference between Cortado vs Flat White


As you can see, both drinks have a different espresso-to-milk ratio.

In Cortado, we have 50% Espresso and 50% Milk or 1:1. While in Flat White there is ⅓ Espresso and ⅔ Milk. 


Both coffees have steamed milk on top of the Espresso shots. The milk has a very thin microfoam layer. 

How to prepare the steamed milk?

  1. Pour the needed Milk quantity into a milk pitcher.
  2. Put the steam lan into the Milk pitcher.
  3. Activate the Milk wand and and start making circular motions with the pitcher.
  4. The temperature of the Steamed milk has to be 140F.

This steamed milk can be added to the Cortado and on the Flat white. The difference is in the quantity.


The size of the drinks is not universal. In most cases, a 4-ounce cup is used for Cortado. But some cafes prepare it in a 6-ounce glass. 

Similarly, Flat White coffee can be found in a cup volume of 6 ounces or 8 ounces. Even so, Flat White coffee is available in larger quantities than Cortado. 

Cortado vs Flat White Calories

The calories in Cortado are around 70 (for 6 oz cup), while in Flat white are above 80 (for 6 oz cup).

If both drinks are made with the same milk, for example, whole milk 2%, then flat white coffee will contain more calories. This is due to the larger amount of milk in it which is 67&. In contrast, Cortado has 50% milk.

To reduce the calories in the drinks, milk substitutes are a very good choice—for example, skimmed milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc. But if you really are not a fan of calories, choose Cortado between Cortado vs flat white. Its taste is balanced and with less milk content. 

Cortado vs Flat White caffeine content

Both coffees contain the same amount of caffeine if made with the same number of espresso shots. If Cortado is made with 1 shot of espresso (about 60 mg of caffeine) and Flat White with two shots, then Flat White will contain more caffeine. (about 130mg of caffeine). 

If the Cortado is prepared with 1 espresso shot, caffeine will be 33 mg. The same goes for Flat White coffee. 


So that you don’t wonder which coffee to choose, check out this summary on the topic. What are the differences between Cortado vs Flat White:

  • Flat White is hotter than Cortado Coffee.
  • Cortado has a stronger Espresso taste than Flat White.
  • Because of the milk quantity, Flat White has a velvety and smoother texture.
  • Cortado has fewer calories than Flat White because it has less milk.
  • Cortado is a smaller drink than Flat White.
  • Both Cortado and Flat White should have equal caffeine content. 
  • Both beverages contain Espresso shots and Steamed Milk.

I will be happy to share which of these two drinks is your favorite 🙂

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