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What exactly is a cappuccino?



We were talking in the ShortList office about that hilarious scene in Curb Your Enthusiasm when Larry David orders a vanilla coffee – remember the “Milk and Coffee – who would have thought!” scene? It got us thinking about
all the different ways of serving coffee right now – the strictly flat whites, cold brews, the “only served at 63 and 65 degrees Celsius,” anger-inducing cups. We just want coffee with milk.

And how the now run-of-the-mill coffee of choice, the cappuccino, was once the front runner in hip, hot beverages to be seen sipping. A shot of espresso, hot steamed milk and a frothy layer of foam on top sprinkled with chocolate dust?
It ruled the roast.

But now with all the fuss around speciality raw beans – does anyone know what a cappuccino is anymore? More to the point, what if your flat white is actually a cappuccino?

Some argue that the cappuccino’s characteristics are focused around the layering of coffee and foam, some focus on the froth factor or simply the size of the cup it’s served in.

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In the wake of this coffee identity crisis we decided to throw a spotlight on this classic cup by asking an Italian barista: what is a cappuccino?

“The first cappuccino was consumed in Vienna in 1683. A monk, Father Marco d’Aviano, passed a shop serving coffee sourced from the Turkish armies. Finding it too harsh, he asked for a little milk. This combination turned the coffee’s colour into an off-white – similar to the habit that the monk from the Capuchin order was wearing. The drink was thus named in its honour.”
Adriano Napoletano is an Italian barista and supervisor at Lounge Café Italiano, Dubai Media City

The credentials

The size
The cup must be 150ml.

The coffee
Good quality Italian coffee beans, 25ml of espresso.

The milk
85ml of fresh milk (semi-skimmed or full fat) pour the foamed milk directly into the cup, aiming for the centre in a circular motion. Fill to just below the rim.

The froth
This should be a third of the whole cup.

On top
Add a beautiful design in latte art, not chocolate dusting.

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