So….What’s The Difference?? Americano vs. Cortado

I love coffee. You love coffee. We ALL love coffee.

But for some folks, walking into a coffee shop can be a little intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. While learning about coffee from the people who source it, roast it and brew it is extremely fascinating to me, and I have no problems asking all kinds of questions while I’m at the counter, I can see where it could be confusing, and even downright scary, for someone just branching out from their Keurig machine.

If you’re one of those people, this week’s “So….What’s the Difference??” post is totally intended to give you the information you need, and the confidence to order your next caffeinated drink like a boss!


Photo by Square One Coffee

This week: Square One Coffee (2 locations in PHL) – 249 S. 13th St  & 1811 JFK Blvd.

“Square One Coffee is an award-winning micro-roaster based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with retail locations in Lancaster and Philadelphia. As a small, family-owned business, we take pride in our small batch, handcrafted approach to roasting and serving the highest quality specialty coffee.

We believe that people matter, so we do our best to respect every person involved in the process of getting coffee from the seed to your cup—from the farmers, to our roasters, to our baristas, to our customers. At the farm level, this means that we partner with coffee producers and farming communities, paying premium prices for their hard work and reinvesting into those communities whenever possible. It also means paying all of our employees a living wage with opportunities to learn and grow in their craft (which includes traveling to coffee-producing countries to meet the farmers we partner with and see the entire process for themselves).

Put simply: We are passionate about coffee, and we believe that people matter.”

Q: What’s the difference between an Americano and a Cortado?

“What’s the difference between the Americano and Cortado? Everything!

Both beverages are espresso-based drinks, but that is where the similarities end.

The Cortado (or Gibraltar as we call it) is typically 1 part espresso to 2 parts milk. This beverage is for those who are looking for a bit more coffee presence and less milk. This beverage is also typically served at a slightly cooler temperature than a latte would be, therefore the creaminess of the beverage tends to be easily perceivable.

The Americano is at it’s most basic interpretation simply an espresso that has been watered down. It’s believed by many, but not exactly evidenced, that this beverage was created during World War 2. The story is that American soldiers weren’t down for the strong and viscous espresso so they would request for the espresso to be topped off with water so that it would more closely resemble the brewed coffee they were familiar with. Hence the name “Americano”.

While the Cortado exemplifies a creamy yet very espresso-forward beverage, the Americano offers a version of espresso that is very open, much like adding ice to your scotch. Despite their differences, these beverages offer extreme drinkability.

Cheers to that!”

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