Although they haven’t directly created the coffee beans, the Italians have come up with many unique ways to make coffee, including cappuccino – a type of drink that has contributed significantly to the image and taste of Italian coffee.
What is a cappuccino? Let’s find out all these issues through our article!
What is Cappuccino?
A hot drink in Italy, the cappuccino is the coffee that has captivated the world for decades. It is a mixture of 3 main ingredients, including espresso coffee, hot milk, and milk foam, in a ratio of 1:1:1. Compared to the latte, it’s smaller.
Unlike Latte or Macchiato, people often mix cappuccino in small capacity cups, made of stone or porcelain, with thick walls and good heat retention.
One of the things that makes it more appealing to the coffee community is the thick layer of milk foam on the surface. Baristas often use molds or spoons in cafes and skillfully stir when sprinkled with flour to create artistic shapes.
The name “cappuccino” comes from a robe with a hood worn by the Capuchin monks, a religious order in Italy in the 1700s. The blend of espresso and hot milk gives it. This drink has an attractive brown color; it looks like the color of cappuccio capes. In Italian, cappuccino means “little hood”.
What is The Cappuccino History?
Cappuccino has its origins in the Kapuziner; a coffee drink popular in Vienna’s cafes in the 1700s. Along with Franziskaner, Kapuziner appeared on the menus of many restaurants throughout the Habsburg Monarchy at this time.
In the early 1900s, cappuccinos began to appear in Italy, followed by introducing the first espresso machines. In Italy, people often sip a cup of cappuccino every morning to start the day.
Thanks to the advancement of technology and the wider availability of coffee machines in the 1930s, the cappuccino became the favorite drink of many people.
Its popularity is not confined to Italy anymore but has quickly spread throughout Europe. In the United Kingdom, espresso became popular as a cappuccino due to the British style of drinking coffee with milk.
Cappuccino first arrived in the Americas in the 1980s. In the United States, Cappuccino was widely popularized with Espresso in Italian-American neighborhoods, such as Boston’s North End, New York’s Little Italy, etc.
Today, thanks to widespread popularity, coffee shops serving cappuccino have sprouted like mushrooms everywhere in the world. You can easily enjoy this drink anywhere.
What Types Of Cappuccino Are There?
As cappuccino became more popular, besides the traditional flavor, people started to create many variations. Each coffee shop creates its own little variation besides the three main ingredients, espresso, hot milk, and milk foam.
Therefore, when you enjoy a cappuccino in different places, the taste will be slightly different. However, there are also some major variations as follows:
Iced cappuccino is a rather special preparation method. If you’re used to a steaming cappuccino, Iced Cappuccinos (or Cappuccini Freddo) is the cold version of it.
Cups of iced cappuccinos after preparation look quite nice with each layer of ingredients. Some people will add a layer of cold, frozen milk on top in Italy, while Americans prefer an iced beverage. For those who love cold drinks, this is an option worth considering.
Some call this variation light cappuccinos or chiaro cappuccini. Its formula is slightly changed from the original when the percentage of milk increases and the percentage of milk foam is less.
Therefore, it is thinner than the traditional flavor and tastes like a latte with a layer of foam.
Dry cappuccinos (or cappuccini curro/dark cappuccino) are the less milky versions. Instead, people increase the amount of milk foam more.
As a result, you will feel the taste of espresso more strongly. It also has a darker brown color than the traditional one. Thanks to the thick layer of milk foam on top, the drink retains its temperature longer.
This is a very popular version in the United States. Mixers will add flavored syrups to stimulate customers’ taste buds such as vanilla, caramel, chocolate, mint, etc.; sometimes, other additives such as cocoa powder, cinnamon powder, etc.
How Does Cappuccino Taste?
Cappuccino is quite a strong espresso flavor due to the ratio of espresso to milk and foam being 1:2. Therefore, the coffee flavor in the cappuccino is also stronger than in the latte. Not only that, but the layer of milk foam is also a highlight that increases its appetite.
In addition, the flexibility in volume and composition is also the reason why many people fall in love with the taste of this drink. Even if you change the size of a cappuccino, the ratio of the ingredients remains the same.
In addition, you can also use cream instead of milk and add other flavors for new experiences.
What Are The Alternatives To Cappuccino?
Despite being a popular drink, many people still confuse cappuccinos with other drinks like macchiato, flat white, and cortado. Here are some key differences to help you differentiate:
This is also an espresso drink, but it only has espresso and milk foam. The volume of a Macchiato is smaller than a cappuccino, but it has a large caffeine content because it does not have steamed milk to soften the espresso.
Read more: Macchiato vs cortado
Cortado’s main ingredients are 1/2 espresso and ½ steamed milk (about 2 ounces). The dodo doesn’t have any milk foam like a cappuccino, so users can better taste the espresso in the Cortado.
Also, an espresso drink consists of espresso and steamed milk. The ratio of coffee and milk in flat whites is higher than in cappuccinos. It also comes with a layer of milk foam on top but is thinner and different in texture.
Read more: Flat white vs latte
How To Make A Cappuccino?
Now that we have more information about cappuccino, we will move on to this article’s indispensable part, which is how to make it. With an espresso machine, it’s quick to have a hot cup of coffee in the comfort of your own home.
- Espresso machine
- Steamed milk
- Cup: capacity 6 ounces
- Ground espresso: 16.5 g
- Milk: 3-4 ounces
- Milk pitcher
Step 1: Preparation
Make sure you have all the ingredients needed to make a delicious cappuccino. If you can’t find ground espresso, you can grind your espresso beans so that 16.5g is enough.
First, prep the espresso and then pour about 3-4 ounces of prepared milk into the milk jug.
Step 2: Espresso Brewing
Now it’s time to start extracting the espresso. Put 16.5 g of ground espresso into the portafilter and then put it in the coffee maker to make two espressos.
Here, you can also pour the extracted coffee straight into the 6-ounce cappuccino that you prepared initially for one step less.
Step 3: Some Milk
While waiting for the coffee machine to extract the espresso, you can take advantage of steaming the milk.
Since steamed milk is a very important ingredient in a cappuccino, you should be careful with this step. The standard temperature is about 160°F. Move the flask evenly vertically to heat the entire vessel.
For a nice amount of foam, you should hold the tip of the steam wand closer to the surface of the milk. Be careful, however, as the steam at the surface will increase the volume in the container.
Don’t forget that your cappuccino needs a little bit of steamed milk in it, so just foam isn’t enough.
Step 4: Milk Fresh
After we have extracted the espresso and steamed the milk, we will pour the espresso into the cup and then pour steamed milk on top.
One caveat here is that you need to hold the milk jug about 3 inches above the cup. When pouring milk, pour it vertically and in a slightly circular motion. Pour slowly, evenly, so as not to splash the espresso.
The milk current will help increase the temperature and mix the espresso with milk. Finally, spread a layer of frothy milk foam on top of the cappuccino. You can use small toothpicks to decorate more cute drawings on their surface.
Moreover, can you also sprinkle a little cocoa powder or cinnamon powder on top for extra flavor? So you have made a standard cup of Cappuccino Italian style already!
Cappuccino coffee is a sophisticated drink, requiring meticulousness and special attention in the preparation stage.
The recipe should have a balance between the amount of milk, milk foam, and coffee. Avoid creating a difference, causing the finished cup of coffee to lose its characteristic flavor.
The size of a standard cappuccino is 150 – 160 mL (5-6 ounces). This is the preferred size for professional baristas to brew properly.
In addition, you should choose cups with good heat retention. Here, gourmets often prefer ceramic cups, but sometimes stone or double-glazed is fine for many. It is better to choose pure white cups, as they will accentuate the attractive brown color of the cappuccino.
The extraction process of espresso and its dissolution with steamed milk greatly affects the quality of the cappuccino you make. Therefore, be careful with these steps to get a finished product as expected.
Cappuccino – an attractive drink with the bitterness of espresso, the sweetness of milk, and the richness of foam, the coffee that stuns the world. There is nothing more enjoyable in the winter than sipping a cup of cappuccino while listening to a favorite tune.
Hope our article helped you know “What is a cappuccino?”, and the steps to have a standard cup of Italian-style Cappuccino. Please like and share if this article was helpful to you. Thank you.
Almost 20 years already spent committed to coffee and more than 3 years of experience as a barista at Starbucks. Madelyn Doyle graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Science from the University of California and finished the Coffee Skills Program at the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).