What To Do If You Want To Make A Cortado Without An Espresso Machine

As Gen Z begins to mature and enter the coffee-drinking world, they're steering coffee consumption trends. Per Food Navigator US, they've steered the helm of coffee consumption in the U.S. into its fourth wave. The first wave was making coffee accessible at home, with big brands like Maxwell House (per Driven Coffee Roasters). The second wave saw the rise of coffee shops, perfectly paving the way for the third wave, which championed specialty craft brews and birthed latte art. Now in the fourth wave, people want specialty drinks in the comfort of their own homes without the fuss and stuff they gathered in the coffee shop years. More significantly, Gen Z wants a chilled brew. Following their lead on social media, now the rest of us apparently do too, as social media trends play a key role in fourth-wave coffee for the first time.

One type of coffee garnering popularity is the cortado — a specialty drink without the sugary syrups fourth-wave coffee shys away from. You can make it in your own home, provided you have the right equipment or a little know-how. Kaleena Teoh, co-founder and director of education at Coffee Project New York, told Food & Wine that "a cortado is basically a one-to-one ratio of espresso and steamed milk." If you don't have an espresso machine, luckily there is another way to prepare the drink.

Making a cortado without fancy equipment

As Food & Wine explains, a cortado is usually two ounces of espresso to two ounces of steamed milk, a ratio you'll want to remember when making your own. If you don't have an espresso maker and a steamer, have no fear. You can still make this drink easily at home. All you really need are crystalized instant coffee, a microwave or your stove, and a frother. For an iced version, you only need high-quality crystalized instant coffee and milk. 

Remember that ratio we talked about in the beginning — you only want to make two shots of espresso at most, so put in a regular quantity of coffee as called for on the back and an ounce of water per shot. Steam an equal amount of milk separately in your microwave or on the stove, add to your cup, and give it a little attention with a handheld frother and you've got a coffee shop quality drink at your fingertips.