Getting to know the ins and outs of a coffee menu can be the difference between a perfect morning pick-me-up and a shot of bitter disappointment.
If you’ve ever wondered ‘what is a cappuccino?’ then you’ve come to the right place.
With so many options available, it can be daunting to venture into new varieties of coffee. But don’t worry, we’re here to clear a few things up and prevent you from having to miss out on all the fun any longer.
The first thing to note is that cappuccino is a really simple coffee. It’s one of many varieties of coffee that are espresso based.
If you’ve ever been to a coffee shop, an espresso is a coffee that you’ve probably seen. It’s the coffee that tends to be served in a very small cup or takeaway container.
Served on its own, espresso is a strong coffee that is brewed by forcing near-boiling water through tightly packed, finely ground coffee beans under high pressure. This creates a highly concentrated, strong shot of coffee.
An espresso is a great option if you enjoy strong flavoured coffee or are looking for a caffeine hit without having to drink a lot of liquid.
However, there are also many other coffees available that contain espresso with different ingredients added in various quantities. Some examples of espresso-based coffees include:
- Makes all coffee shop favourites.
- Adjustable milk frother to enhance the quality of steamed milk.
- Get creative with your choice of ground coffee.
You can go further down the rabbit hole by looking at variations of these popular espresso-based coffees. Nevertheless, let’s get back to the topic at hand for now.
What Is a Cappuccino?
A cappuccino is an espresso-based coffee with a 1:1:1 structure.
Broken down into its components, it consists of 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 frothed milk.
The quantities of these ingredients can change depending on how strong you like your coffee. For example, you can order either a single or double shot of espresso.
However, to be considered a cappuccino, the ratios of espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk must maintain the 1:1:1 structure. Therefore, more espresso means more steamed milk and more frothed milk.
How Is Cappuccino Made?
To make a traditional cappuccino, you start with a shot of espresso.
Milk is then steamed to increase its temperature. However, this process also creates a layer of foamed milk on top.
- Rich and full of body.
- Medium roast.
- Suitable for all coffee makers.
As the milk is poured on top of the shot of espresso, the liquid steamed milk settles, allowing the layer of foam to rest on top. These three layers are produced in equal ratios.
A trained barista may pour the milk and foam in a way to create latte art on top of the foam. At this point, a dusting of chocolate powder may also be added to the top of the foam, often through a stencil to create a pattern.
What Is an Iced Cappuccino?
Until recently, an iced cappuccino wasn’t really something that existed.
Sure, you could order one at a major coffee chain, but there was a key ingredient missing that stopped it from being a real cappuccino.
That ingredient was foam.
As we already know, to be considered a cappuccino, a coffee must contain a ratio of 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk, and 1/3 foam.
The issue here is that milk is steamed in order to create the foam on top of a cappuccino. Placing hot foam on top of an iced drink really didn’t make sense as it would change the overall temperature of the drink. It’s unlikely that anyone would like to order a lukewarm cappuccino.
- 190ml capacity.
- Keeps drinks hot or cold.
- The dishwasher-safe design allows quick and easy cleaning.
Therefore, with just espresso, cold milk, and ice, an iced cappuccino isn’t a cappuccino at all, despite what the menu says.
However, things changed when Starbucks recently created Cold Foam, which now allows them to create an iced cappuccino from espresso, cold milk, and cold foam.
When To Drink
In truth, a cappuccino is a great option for lots of different people due to its well-balanced nature.
It contains the same amount of caffeine you’d get from a regular espresso but isn’t as strong flavoured due to the high ratio of steamed milk and foamed milk to espresso.
If you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up then a cappuccino is a great breakfast coffee. However, it can be enjoyed whenever you feel like it. If you’d like an iced version then this is now available too if you can find somewhere offering cold foam.
Whichever variety you’d prefer, enjoy.