A 2 x 2 3-dB coupler is one of the essential photonic components, as a building block of Mach-Zehnder interferometers, to realize large-scale photonic integrated circuits. Unlike typical 2 x 2 3-dB couplers based on direction couplers or multimode interference couplers, adiabatic couplers offer various advantages such as broadband operation and superior fabrication tolerance thanks to their unique operating mechanism of adiabatic mode evolution. However, an adiabatic coupler typically requires a long device length for ideal adiabatic operation without the excitations of unwanted modes. Here, we report on a compact 2 x 2 3-dB adiabatic coupler designed using the shortest mode transformer method. By optimizing the profile of the waveguide widths and the gap spacing, the compact 3-dB coupler was designed with a short coupling length of 23.2 mu m. The fabricated device exhibits a 3-dB splitting ratio with less than +/- 0.3 dB power oscillation and a low excess loss of 0.23 dB over a broad wavelength range of 1485-1620 nm. To the best of our knowledge, our coupler has the shortest length among the adiabatic couplers with a minimum feature size of 200 nm, reported to date.