There is a common belief that cappuccino is not coffee, it contains no caffeine, and it is suitable even for kids’ consumption. As a barista, I feel frustrated by customers who order a cappuccino, explaining that they don’t want coffee right now. This is a misbelief, so I’d like to explain the provenance of this name. This coffee drink is associated with the Capuchin monks. When we mix white milk and black coffee, the drink results in a color reminiscent of the monks’ clothes, with the white froth on top as a symbol of a white hood. That’s why it is impossible to imagine cappuccino without coffee.
Espresso is a traditional soft drink in Italy. Since its taste is quite rich and bright, most people prefer to dilute it with milk. The drink we now call cappuccino is the most balanced recipe that has been created for combining coffee and milk.
As a rule, the proportion of milk to coffee in the beverage is 4 to 1. If more milk is added, it’ll become a latte; with less milk it is macchiato. Millions of people like the drink for this proportion. Consumers can enjoy both milk and coffee sweetness, at the same time balancing it with proper bitterness.
The classic recipe for the drink is the following: pour one espresso shot into a preheated ceramic cup and add steamed milk. The quality of the espresso, the milk temperature, and the proportion of the two are very important for making a good cappuccino. The texture of the frothed milk should be uniform with a glossy top. The temperature in the pitcher should be between 60-65°C. At this temperature, lactose is split into glucose and galactose, which are responsible for the sweetness that we all like in the drink.
Cappuccino is often served in a 180-210 ml ceramic cup. In Italy, it is served in a special cup called “tazza,” which is shaped like a bowl with a handle. The preferred material is thick-walled ceramic. The cappuccino cup should always be warm so as not to create temperature fluctuations in the drink. That’s why in coffee houses, the cups are kept on the top panel of coffee machines, heated by water boilers.
In Italy, people usually drink cappuccino with a bun at breakfast. It sounds delicious, doesn’t it?