First, how to even pronounce the word ‘cappuccino‘?
Here’s how: cap·puc·ci·no
And it’s a coffee beverage you make of espresso and foamed milk.
There. Now you know.
Off you go!
Maybe you’d like to know more about it – and how to make a delicious cappuccino right at home.
Okay, let’s get right to it.
A cappuccino is a light and foamy coffee drink. You can make it of equal proportions double espresso, steamed milk and milk foam.
It’s smaller in volume than a latte, and also has a thicker foam.
History of the Cappuccino
Italian friars in the early 20th century were called Capuchins because they wore robes of a light brown color. Probably this popular Italian beverage is named after this unique color.
Or perhaps the name comes from the word’s meaning – ‘little cap‘ – that describes a foamy cap sitting on espresso.
It has even been suggested that Germans adopted and modified it. ‘Capuzinerkaffee‘ seems to have been a kind of coffee in which espresso is combined with sugar, cream and some spices – before being poured over an egg!
However the cappuccino was first served in Vienna, Austria – as early as in the 1700s. Whipped cream on coffee, topped off with chocolate or cinnamon sprinkles, is the forerunner of today’s version.
Gradually it grew in popularity, and is today one of the most well known coffees – not just in Europe, but all over the world.
Its global migration also simplified what was once a rather elaborate brew. In its home of Italy, though, people still often make a cappuccino using chocolate powder or syrup sprinkled on top.
The cappuccino is now a standardized espresso drink with no more than 6 oz of milk and foam in equal parts. Thick milk foam – that’s the key component.
Modern cappuccino has a creamier microfoam with smaller bubbles that lends a silkiness to its texture.
When to drink a cappuccino?
Italians – and indeed many European coffee lovers – enjoy one in the morning. It would be unusual to order one past midday, though.
Many prefer an espresso or macchiato as boosters for a post-meal afternoon slump.
How to make a perfect cappuccino?
It’s hard to over-stress this point. Foam is what makes a cappuccino special.
Be it a velvety micro-foam from cold refrigerated milk, or a coarser foam that comes from heating up milk at room temperature, it’s this foam that lends texture and quality to your cappuccino.
Aeration is the process of integrating air into milk.
This takes a certain skill. You’ll use a steam wand to evenly entrain air without damaging the milk protein which makes the foam stiffer.
The two skills it takes to make a nice cappuccino are pulling shots and foaming milk.
- Pour the foam into an espresso shot made from a finely ground dark roast coffee. When it’s poured right, micro-foam stays on top while also mixing partially with the drink.
- Fill up your cup or mug to the 6 ounce level.
- Use a spoon to scoop more foam onto it.
Your traditional cappuccino is ready.
If you’re more adventurous, try and decorate your drink with art in the foam layer!
- 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds
4 ounces of water
For the foamed milk:
- 6 ounces of milk
- Espresso maker machine
- Milk jug
- Coffee mugs
How To Make a Flavored Cappuccino?
Traditional cappuccinos have a fixed ratio of one part espresso, two parts steamed milk and foam.
That gives it a more intense coffee flavor than the milkier latte. The extra foam also makes your drink feel creamier to taste. A macchiato is stronger coffee with a sweeter milkiness.
You can whip up flavored cappuccinos using various syrups and sauces and powders.
Be it chocolate or caramel, vanilla or cinnamon, a flavored cappuccino can become a delicious specialty coffee that delights your palate and thrills the senses.
Other Cappuccino-Like Coffee Drinks
There are other close cousins to this popular favorite which differ from it in unique ways.
A flat white is also an espresso – but without the thick foam layer that’s characteristic of a cappuccino.
A caffe latte is milkier than the cappuccino, but also often has a rich foam layer. A barista’s skill sets them even further apart, to craft distinctly different beverages from essentially the same ingredients.
The main difference is that a cappuccino has layers, while a latte is all mixed together. The former also has a stronger espresso flavor to it.
Choosing the Right Coffee for Cappuccino
Your choice of coffee will define how your drink will taste.
For a traditional cappuccino, the best coffee is deep and dark. Roasted bittersweet flavors evoke the beverage’s Italian roots.
A versatile cappuccino can take a more chocolatey or earthy flavored coffee bean, mixing and blending various flavors into a delicious drink.