As the UK’s most popular coffee brand according to Metro, Costa Coffee have to ensure that their menu is constantly new and exciting to keep their millions of customers satisfied. Recently, the one of the most popular options at cafés across the UK is the humble cortado.
The best way to describe a cortado, for those who have never heard of the little coffee, is a compact flat white. Cortado’s offer the same textured milk and impressive latté art potential of the flat white. But in a smaller, stronger package served in a glass.
Costa coffee always attempt to remain ahead of their competitors such as Caffe Nero and Starbucks and they recognised the potential behind the cortado. However, the original cortado has been an option on the menu since the early 2000’s. But in the Spring of 2017, Costa broke the mould and introduced two new cortado varieties, the caramel and mocha cortado.
I took the opportunity to sample both coffees, in order to gain an appreciation for Costa’s offerings and so I could let any would be purchasers of these coffees know what to expect.
Having been a Costa Barista myself, it was always a surprise whenever someone asked for a cortado, it wasn’t a heavily advertised drink for the company, who had enjoyed the successes of their flat whites and their coolers.
It was a bizarre change to see the new cortados advertised on a large sign both inside and outside the café, but once I sat down with the new coffees I could understand what the hype was about.
- Starting with the caramel cortado, there’s a real appreciation for what separates cortados from flat whites and other coffees. If I had to describe this particular drink, I would describe it as a hybrid between a flat white and a caramel latte. The silky textured milk of the flat white is captured perfectly in this smaller variation, with the caramel flavouring perfectly accompanying the dark, strong taste of the coffee.
- This one I initially held my reservations for, I couldn’t see a mocha being a particularly good combination for the dense textured milk of the cortado. However, my apprehensions were short lived once a took my first sip of Costa’s new mocha cortado. Straight away, the taste of chocolate hits your taste buds, the sweet addition to the usual coffee bitterness makes for a perfect contrast. The textured milk seems to absorb the rich taste of the chocolate, creating an almost layered drinking experience. The top layer of milk has the familiar taste and texture of a mocha, but as you continue, you begin to receive more and more of the stronger coffee tones you’d find in a flat white.
In all, Costa have really succeeded in what they set out to do, which was to bring contados to the attention of their clients. The best way to do this was to provide a level of variety which had previously limited the drink’s appeal to many, who find the potential for a customised or varied drink, the most attractive aspect of coffee.
Just these two new cortado options already allow for a much wider and more varied potential way to enjoy the unique drink that is the cortado and it is exciting to imagine just where Costa plan to take this concept, perhaps a new range for another drink?