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Cappuccino - The Best Espresso Beverage

Aug 4

When ordering a drink from the coffee shop, or preparing it at home, one of the favorites in the world is the cappuccino. But what is a cappuccino, why people like it and what's the history behind it? Let's find out together more about this popular espresso drink.

History of Cappuccino

The beverage name comes from the Italian word "cappuccino" which means "little hat." In Rome, many people wore distinctive hats to work in the morning. Since cappuccino is a morning drink only in Italy, the association is clear. In fact, plain espresso is reserved for the afternoon coffee servings in Italy, and the consumption of milk based coffees in the afternoon is advised against in Italy. 

Another story about cappuccino says that the beverage appeared in Vienna, under the name Kapuziner. 

What Is a Cappuccino?

A cappuccino is a type of coffee drink, prepared with espresso and steamed milk. The beverage has a creamy froth on top of the espresso shot, and has also an equal amount of steamed milk.

The beverage is typically served in a small cup, at about 190 degrees Fahrenheit (88 degrees Celsius). The frothy beverage is usually brewed and served by baristas at an espresso stand or coffee shop. The origins of cappuccino can be traced to the 17th century. Recipes for the beverage date back to the 1670s. In Italy, capuccino was originally called café au lait (coffee with milk). This name became shortened over time to cappuccinos, which means "little hats." The first mention of the word “cappuccino” in English occurred in 1857 when it was published in a British newspaper.

In the 1920s, the steam wand was added with an espresso machine, and this is how most modern espresso machines are made today. The steam wand made the life of baristas easy as they didn't have to use separate devices to heat and froth the milk.

Cappuccino vs. Latte

If you think that the distinction between cappuccino and latte is just a plot to bring more artificial variety in the coffee shop, you are wrong. Those who love cappuccino would never settle for the milder, diluted taste of latte. And viceversa, a latte lover cannot drink a cappuccino, because it's too strong for them. Cappuccino is comprised of equal volumes of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. A latte is contains a small amount of espresso with a large volume of steamed milk> Latte has only a thin cap of foam.

How Is Cappuccino Different from Coffee?

Cappuccino is an espresso-based beverage, and it is not prepared with regular coffee. There are many differences between the two beverages, but those difference aren't too drastic. Ultimately, you are still getting your caffeine fix from either one of these beverages.

For those who need more details about the differences here they are:

Cappuccino has frothed and steamed milk, compared to the milk added to the coffee, which is scalded milk. The frothy texture of the milk in cappuccinos will literally make it taste better. The foam adds flavor to the beverage while also adding to the experience. The tiny amount of milk in cappuccino gives it a unique taste that many people enjoy.

With regards to the caffeine ammount, a regular traditional cappuccino contains less caffeine than a standard drip coffee. However, if the beverage is prepare with a double shot, the two drinks are on par, caffeine-wise. 

How to Make a Cappuccino

To make a cappuccino, you will need to prepare espresso to use as the base of your beverage. You will need an espresso machine, or a Moka pot. After this, all you have to do is add steamed milk and foam. Here are some tips to help you make the perfect cappuccino:

  • Adding the hot milk firstly in the cup, allows for the milk to retain more of the coffee flavors from the espresso. The time that it takes for hot milk to reach its optimal temperature will depend on how much coffee is in the cup.
  • Start your milk frothing. Switch the espresso machine to steaming mode and let it heat up. When the boiler is hot, add cold milk in the frothing jug, then insert your steaming wand in the milk. Turn the steam valve on to begin heating and steaming the milk. 
  • The milk expands in volume and its heating at the same time. When it's hot enough, turn the steam valve off, and remove the want from the milk jug.
  • Pour one fluid ounce of steamed milk and one fluid ounce of milk foam in a cappuccino cup, then pull an espresso shot over it. 
  • Serve hot

We hope that our introduction into the world of cappuccino will make you curious enough to try this great beverage. 

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