Yes, a cortado can be iced, but why are some coffee purists up in arms about this drink? Just about any milk and espresso drink can be iced. An iced latte/cortado/cappuccino is basically the same drink – espresso with varying amounts of cold milk. But since a cortado is a small drink (usually a double espresso with equal parts steamed/frothed milk – 4oz total), it just ends up being somewhat of an awkward drink where you have more ice than liquid.
When served hot, there are varying amounts of foam that is frothed – with the cappuccino getting a thicker microfoam than the others. When you ice it and just add milk to the espresso, you can really lose the original character of the hot drink. With that said, if you enjoy it iced, then go for it! Cold milk can be frothed as well, so some cafes may add some cold foam to the iced espresso drinks with milk.
My quick recipe for an iced cortado calls for a double shot of espresso over ice. Use as large as a piece of ice as possible to chill the espresso quickly without diluting too much. Whip up 2-3oz of milk into a cold foam with a frother and pour on top of your espresso. Enjoy!
Why so much hate in specialty coffee?
It’s true that if you order an iced cortado or an iced cappuccino at most cafes, you might get a condescending or annoyed look from the barista. But why are coffee people so judgmental about how other people want to drink their coffee? Usually you get an answer like “the barista takes special effort to craft the beverage in order to showcase certain flavor profiles and nuances. When someone customizes their drink, it can greatly affect the way the drink was originally intended to taste.” That’s absolutely can be true, and I have my own quirks and pet peeves about my drinks (no extra hot milk! It changes the flavor and texture! I’ll write about this later and link here).
However, not everyone is super into tasting blueberries and floral notes in their coffee…they just want what they are used to. And that’s ok! I think the coffee world should be more accepting of different preferences in coffee drinks. One trait that can greatly affect the type of coffee you like is whether or not you are a supertaster!