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Gibraltar coffee is an espresso drink with equal parts espresso and steamed milk! The robust coffee and rich milk strike the perfect balance.

Gibraltar Coffee
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Love a perfectly balanced espresso drink? Try the Gibraltar! Sure, the popular latte is a luxurious treat, with its microfoam bubbles and foamy topping. But the Gibraltar is even more deliciously satisfying, in our opinion. Equal parts espresso and steamed milk makes the ideal balance of robust and creamy. This Spanish coffee drink is intensely smooth and made for sipping! Here’s how to make it.

What’s Gibraltar coffee?

The Gibraltar is an espresso drink made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk, also known as as a Cortado. It’s Spanish in origin: “cortado” means “cut” in Spanish, indicating that the espresso is cut with the milk.

A Gibraltar always the same volume: one doubleshot of espresso and 2 ounces milk. The name comes from the glass it’s served in, called a “Gibraltar glass”. It’s a 4.5 ounce glass with a tapered bottom. The tradition of calling it a Gibraltar started in San Francisco at the Blue Bottle Coffee Company, and spread from there. While some people maintain there are subtle differences between the Cortado and Gibraltar coffee, our research found the only difference between the two is the glass.

Gibraltar Coffee

How to make Gibraltar coffee: basic steps

You can’t order Gibraltar coffee at Starbucks (or the Cortado, either), so your best bet is a local coffeeshop or making it at home. This is our ideal coffee drink because it has less milk than a latte, and to us the smooth balance of espresso and milk is sublime. Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe below):

  • Make a double shot of espresso (see How to Make Espresso).
  • Steam or froth ¼ cup whole milk using the instructions below.
  • Pour the espresso into a Gibraltar glass, then top with the milk.

Want a dairy-free Gibraltar? Try it with oat milk, the best non-dairy milk for frothing and steaming.

Where to find Gibraltar glasses

Of course, you can serve a Gibraltar coffee in any type of small glass you have on hand. But if you want to be 100% authentic, you’ll want to get a Gibraltar glass! Here’s what to look for:

  • Try these Gibraltar glasses: it’s a 4.5 ounce ridged glass that narrows at the bottom.
  • The original brand used at the coffeeshop in San Francisco is Libbey: you can look for Libbey brand glasses online if you want to be a purist!
Gibraltar Coffee

Making the espresso

The most important part of Gibraltar coffee? Making the espresso! For the coffee beans, use an espresso roast coffee: it’s important for achieving the robust, rich flavor (we like Illy, Starbucks or Intelligentsia espresso roast). Then, use one of the following ways to make espresso:

Steaming or frothing the milk

For a Gibraltar coffee, the milk is steamed but not textured like with a latte. This makes it an easier drink to make at home, since you don’t have to obsess as much over the microfoam bubbles. Here’s what to do:

  • Froth the milk with a hand-held frother or French press. The frothing process is what you’ll have to do if you don’t have an espresso machine. The best tool is a milk frother if you have it, but a French press also works well. Go to How to Froth Milk.
  • Steam the milk using an espresso machine. Of course, the best Gibraltar uses milk that’s steamed with an espresso machine! Go to How to Steam Milk and use the instructions for stretching the milk to 20 to 25% in height.

And that’s it! Let us know if you make this Gibraltar coffee at home and what you think in the comments below.

More coffee drinks

Here at A Couple Cooks, we’re coffee obsessed! Our Barista Series shows you how to make all the best coffee drinks at home. Here are a few more to try if you love a Gibraltar:

This Gibraltar coffee recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based and dairy-free, use oat milk.

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Gibraltar coffee

Gibraltar Coffee

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Gibraltar coffee is an espresso drink with equal parts espresso and steamed milk! The robust coffee and rich milk strike the perfect balance.




  1. Make the espresso: Go to How to Make Espresso.
  2. Steam the milk: Steam the milk with an espresso machine (stretching the milk to 20 to 25% in height), or froth the milk with a frother, French press or whisk. Use ½ cup milk for this process: discard the leftovers or make two drinks.
  3. Serve: Pour 2 ounces espresso into the cortado glass, then top with the steamed milk. Drink immediately.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Espresso
  • Cuisine: Coffee
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Edward Sandoval says:

    I believe Gibraltar is two parts espresso to one milk and is distinct from the Cortado in that ratio. Both use glass presentations vs cups.

  2. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!