Cortado Vs Flat White. Key Differences

Cortado vs Flat White – Essential Differences to Understand

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Coffee is the single most consumed beverage in the world.  One of the all-time debates for coffee lovers is whether a Cortado is better or a Flat White Coffee. While both of them taste exceptional, there are some key differences which will allow you to make a distinction between a Cortado vs Flat White.

There are several differences between a Cortado coffee and a Flat White Coffee. Cortado coffee is smooth while Flat white is thicker. Flat white is rather bitter in taste while Cortado is sweeter. Flat white coffee contains more milk and more caffeine than Cortado. Flat white coffee is less acidic. Flat white coffee has higher amounts of carbohydrates, calories, fats, sugar, proteins, and fats as compared to Cortado.

Cortado Coffee – What is It And Where Did It Come From?

Cortado, a drink similar in appearance to café au lait, is an espresso-based beverage with added steamed milk. It was introduced to the world in the early 1900s, but there are no records on where exactly this beverage originated from.

This drink was first created by the Spaniards as a way to enjoy their coffee because they were unable to drink it black due to financial hardships caused by the Spanish Civil War (1936 – 1939). There was also an abundance of dairy products so they decided to use them in their coffee. The word Cortado comes from the Spanish word “cortar” which means to cut off or cut short. This refers back to when the Spaniards would only be able to afford half a cup of coffee per person.

Cortado Coffee

Flat White Coffee – What is It And Where Did It Come From?

The Flat White coffee was invented in Sydney, Australia in the 1980s. It is the official coffee of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. The Flat White was popularized by baristas in Melbourne who added a small amount of foam to the top of an espresso-based drink. It was served in a cup with a saucer. This method was eventually adopted across Australia and then exported to New Zealand and London where it became popular.

In 2014 there were an estimated 6000 Flat White coffee outlets in Australia. The term ‘Flat White’ is protected by law in New Zealand. In 2015 a café owner was ordered to pay NZ$5,000 to three baristas for using the term on their menu without permission.

When this coffee first started to be served, it led to some confusion among customers who thought they were being served watered-down coffee, so baristas had to explain that this was not the case at all. The name “Flat White” was simply a way of describing the lack of foam on top of this specific drink, and it has become very popular in countries that serve specialty coffee drinks.

Differences Between Cortado and Flat White

 CortadoFlat White
TasteSweetSlightly Bitter
Espresso1 shot of espresso2 shots of espresso
CaloriesLow in caloriesHigh in calories
Health BenefitsLow cholesterol


High in antioxidants


Lowers risk of chronic illnesses

Less acidic


More proteinaceous


Lowers chances of stomach aches and nausea typically caused by coffee


Differences between a Cortado vs Flat White coffee

Cortado is different from Flat White coffee in terms of taste, texture, nutritional contents, and health benefits.

Health Benefits of Cortado Vs. Health Benefits of Flat White Coffee

Cortado coffee has several health benefits. In 2020, The Mayo Clinic published an article on the effects of coffee, including Cortados, and found that these drinks can lower your chances of getting cardiovascular disease. Since Cortado only has limited amounts of caffeine, drinking Cortado Coffee is also an ideal way for individuals who suffer from sleeping disorders to get their energy boost without being restless at night.

According to the 2019 Mayo Clinic article, Cortados are a good source of cholesterol-lowering polyphenols and antioxidants which can prevent or slow down the progression of chronic ailments such as cardiovascular disease. Cortados have antioxidants that reduce the risk of heart attack, cancer, and stroke. They also have one of the highest antioxidant levels out of any coffee drink. These antioxidants fight against these free radicals to prevent damage to healthy cells and to reduce inflammation throughout the body.

A study conducted in 2011 by Toxicological Research, found that certain natural substances contained in coffee, including Cortados, can help prevent chronic diseases.

Flat White coffee, on the other hand, is high up on the spectrum of calories if you are conscious about your calorie intake. If made with full-fat milk, a Flat White is 120 calories and 7 grams of fat. However, switching to skim milk will reduce the calories to 70 and almost no fat.

The amount of caffeine in a Flat White is comparable to that of a medium roast cup of coffee. The milk and hot water also mean the drink is less acidic than espresso shots. Therefore, FLat White coffee is healthier for the stomach and is easier on the throat.

Difference in Taste

One of the key difference in the debate of Cortado vs Flat White comes at taste. The difference in taste or texture between these two beverages has to do with the ratio of coffee to milk. A Flat White is made with substantially more milk and less coffee. A Cortado is made with less milk, but more coffee. It actually has a sweeter taste. It is similar in flavor to a café au lait. Flat White coffee is slightly bitter-tasting. However, different countries make their coffee in different ways so you might even come across sweeter Flat White coffee.

Flat White Coffee

Difference in Texture and Consistency

A Cortado has a thicker body The consistency of cortado is thicker than a latte because it has a higher concentration of espresso. It is also considered an espresso macchiato or even short black mostly because of its consistency which is thicker than a latte. Compared to the Cortado, Flat White is light-bodied

Differences in Nutritional Contents

Flat White coffee contains more calories as compared to Cortado coffee. Flat white coffee also has more sugar, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and slightly more salt. Cortado is richer in caffeine.

Comparison of Nutritional Content of Cortado and Flat White Coffee Per 8-ounce servings

 CortadoFlat White


In this article, we looked at two different coffee drinks – a Cortado and a Flat White. We discussed how they are similar and different. Both coffee drinks are delicious and will give you that caffeine fix that you need in the morning.  It all comes down to your preferences, if you’re trying to lower your calorie intake, stick to the Cortado. However, if you want a drink that will not cause acidity, the Flat White is the one! Make your pick now.


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