Espresso-Based Drinks: Gibraltar Coffee vs Cortado

Did you know that you can see the name Gibraltar not only on the Spanish coast? Actually, you can see it on your favorite café’s menu! Gibraltar coffee is a relatively new drink, first introduced in the 21st century. In this article, we will take a closer look at it. Keep reading for more information!
Simon Vaughan
gibraltar coffee

What Is Gibraltar Coffee?

Gibraltar coffee was first introduced in 2005 by the Blue Bottle Coffee Company in San Francisco. It consists of two shots of espresso topped with one to two ounces of steamed milk. Gibraltar coffee is served in a special glass tumbler (Gibraltar glass, or Gibraltar rock glass). This coffee drink gained a lot of fame in coffee shops and is now renowned for its looks and taste.

This particular taste got so popular mostly because it’s a perfect balance between strong coffee and “mild” taste. In general, milk cuts the acidity of coffee, making it more smooth and palatable. This is because milk contains fat and protein molecules that neutralize the acids. Therefore, even though two shots of espresso are quite sour, you can’t really taste it because of the steamed milk. Gibraltar is an amazing way to get that caffeine boost without sacrificing your taste buds.

Espresso With Steamed Milk Drinks – Gibraltar vs Cortado

There are a lot of espresso-based drinks with milk. To name a few, we have a latte, macchiato, or cappuccino. However, there is one that is awfully similar to Gibraltar coffee, and that’s cortado.

Both drinks feature espresso mixed with milk, but the proportions vary slightly. A Gibraltar is typically made with two ounces of espresso and one to two ounces of steamed milk, resulting in a drink that is about half milk and half coffee. Cortados, on the other hand, are always made with a 1:1 ratio of espresso and milk. Neither of the drinks contains foam. So, what’s the difference?

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That’s the tricky part. There are a few sources that swear these two are different. They point out that the milk ratio can be smaller in Gibraltar coffee, and the unique 4.5 ounces glass. Indeed, cortados can be sometimes served in a cup, and it’s always the same amount of coffee and milk. On the other hand, though, Gibraltar coffee is also very well known as yet another name for cortado. A lot of coffee bars and cafes actually switch between these two.

It’s hard to say which is true, for certain. Both being espresso drinks with similar milk to coffee ratio, and people often using both names interchangeably, it really depends on whom you’re speaking to. We believe that it all lies within the coffee recipe. You can confidently call Gibraltar coffee and cortado the same if you make them the same way. So if you want to order one but not the other, make sure you ask the barista about the way they make it.

How to Make Gibraltar Coffee

Gibraltar is a double-shot of espresso, served with steamed milk. So, in order to make it, you’ll need just that! And a 4.5 oz glass. Once you brew your coffee, pour it into the glass tumbler. Now, the perfect ratio for a Gibraltar is one to two ounces of steamed milk. Pour as much as you see fit, whether it’s one or two. Remember, there shouldn’t be any foam! And that’s it! You can enjoy your own glass of Gibraltar coffee. 

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