What is a Gibraltar Coffee

What is a Gibraltar Coffee?

Gibraltar coffee is a drink made from equal parts steamed milk and espresso. Other common names for a Gibraltar are Cortado and Gibraltar.

The name Cortado comes from the Spanish language, meaning to cut. This name indicates the espresso is cut with steamed milk.

As a coffee enthusiast, I have researched the best way to prepare Gibraltar coffee. A Gibraltar coffee starts with good espresso and continues with the proper way to steam milk.

Go on a coffee adventure and learn the origins of Gibraltar, flavor profiles, and how to make Gibraltar coffee at home!

How to Make a Gibraltar Coffee

The signature of Gibraltar coffee is how served. A Gibraltar coffee should be in a 4.5 oz rock glass. A Gibraltar is similar to a cappuccino but strays from the traditional 4.75 ceramic cappuccino cup.

Along with the rock glass, Gibraltar coffee does not have a lot of ingredients. Espresso, milk, and hot water are all needed to make this espresso beverage.

The key to a good Gibraltar is how prepared. Check out the recipe below:

  • 1-shot of espresso
  • 85 ml of milk
  • Hot water

Getting the rock glass hot is key before adding the espresso and milk. Heat the rock glass with the hot water for 5 minutes until it is warm.

While the glass is heating up, steam the milk using the steam wand on your espresso machine. Do not overheat the milk. The milk should be between 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pull an espresso shot into the warm glass. After the milk settles, pour the milk into the rock glass into the espresso shot.

Use a slight wiggling motion to pour the steamed milk into the espresso. Enjoy Gibraltar quickly to preserve the drink’s heat before it cools off.

Origins of Gibraltar Coffee

Some coffee beverages have a rich history, dating back thousands of years. With the rise in coffee art in the last 20 years, there has been an increase in new coffee drinks.

Gibraltar coffee is one of these newer coffee beverages, originating in 2005.

The owner of Blue Bottle Company in San Francisco developed the Gibraltar coffee. The owner ran experiments on new ways to make and serve coffee.

The signature Gibraltar glass sets Gibraltar coffee apart from most hot espresso beverages.

The glass, tapered cup is not known for its ability to keep the beverage hot. A Gibraltar is designed to be hot, so it must be enjoyed quickly to get the best experience.

The attractive clear glass brings a particular aesthetic to the drink, drawing customers to return.

The shop owner decided to give his new beverage a shot, and it took off. The new espresso drink made waves in San Francisco, with mixed emotions about the drink.

Some claimed the clear glass was unsuitable for a hot espresso drink, while others loved the change of pace from traditional ceramic mugs.

Gibraltar Coffee Today

After the success in San Francisco, Gibraltar coffee quickly spread across the United States.

From San Francisco, other big cities grasped onto the new way to serve a classic espresso drink to draw in more customers.

Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, based in Chicago, was one of the first to adopt the California-born espresso drink.

Soon after, Cafe Grumpy in New York City saw Gibraltar’s success in California and Chicago and decided to bring it further east.

Today, in specialty coffee shops, Gibraltar is found all over the United States. Little by little, Gibraltar has made its way across the country.

Coffee enthusiasts are quick to try anything new that they get their hands on. This new way of serving espresso and steamed milk proved that people would try anything!

Even though there has been some controversy surrounding it, Gibraltar has risen in popularity over the past few years.

Flavor Profiles of Gibraltar Coffee

The simplicity of Gibraltar coffee is sure to please even the most sophisticated coffee drinker. Rich espresso and velvety steamed milk do not need any gimmicks.

A Gibraltar lets its exquisite flavors shine through.

A dark roast is typical for Gibraltar coffee. The body of a dark roast espresso is dense and heavy, with an essence of warm honey.

This rich espresso mixed with the velvety steamed milk leaves a pleasant texture in the mouth of the drinker.

Cold, whole-fat milk works best for Gibraltar. This kind of milk makes the foam as rich as possible. Low-fat milk will make good foam but not the same texture as full-fat milk.

Non-dairy milk can be used for a Gibraltar, but the steamer must be careful not to overheat the milk because non-dairy milk burns more quickly than regular milk.

Equipment Needed to Make a Gibraltar Coffee

Making a Gibraltar coffee at home saves you money and is a fun experience. If you already have an espresso machine, do not hesitate to try making a Gibraltar at home!

Espresso machines are expensive, so if you do not have one, try a Gibraltar at your local specialty coffee shop to try it! Below is the equipment needed to make Gibraltar coffee at home:

  • Espresso machine with a milk steamer
  • Gibraltar glass
  • Pot or microwave to heat water in


A Gibraltar coffee is a great way to enjoy a new way of serving a simple espresso drink. A heated glass, perfectly steamed milk, and a pulled shot of espresso are combined to create a sophisticated espresso drink.

If you are a coffee enthusiast, head to your local specialty coffee shop to try a Gibraltar today! The velvety milk foam and rich espresso shot in a clear glass give a new way to enjoy an espresso drink.

Try one at your local specialty coffee shop, or make a Gibraltar at home! Leave your comment about which way you enjoyed your Gibraltar best!

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