What is cappuccino besides a frothy, hot, delectable and oh so brilliantly specialized coffee drink? Well – that rather sums it up! However, there is history behind this wonderful invention. Cappuccino is, in fact, an espresso drink. Meaning it uses finely ground coffee passed through a very fine filter creating a small amount of drinkable coffee that packs a huge punch.
The drink originated in Italy and, as I mentioned, is prepared with espresso. Hot milk and foam is also used. Many confuse the cappuccino with a café latte. The café latte is nearly half milk and foam whereas cappuccino is primarily coffee with foam.
Throughout the whole of history, Monks have given us wine and beer so it is no big surprise or wonder that they would also be so kind as to come up with Cappuccino, and since this is a bit of a history lesson I am sure people are curious about where cappuccino gets it name. It gets its name from the very same monks, the Capuchin, that created it. The word cappuccino actually means “hood” which is in reference to the hoods worn by the monks. The “hood” on the cappuccino, or foam, is used as an insulator to keep the liquid within hot.
Cappuccino is a fine art form. Your friendly barista, aka Coffee Maker, first begins her creation of excellence with a shot of steaming hot espresso. Milk is then steamed and must be done just right or else it will not turn out properly as being velvety in texture and sweet in taste.
Specialized coffee has been on the rise in the United States for a number of years. Be it your hometown coffee houses with homemade blends or your mainstream megacorps like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. What used to be saved for your coffeehouse generation and older Italian-Americans is now for the world to enjoy. Even convenience stores have hopped onto the cappuccino bandwagon. Do not be fooled though because what you are getting is not cappuccino.
Convenience store’s like everything cheap and fast. It is their nature. Their brand of cappuccino is a powdered sugary mess thrown into a machine similar to that which makes hot cocoa at a diner. You can buy these same mixes to enjoy from home. These mixes are churned together within a high-speed cyclonic chamber using water that has been previously heated. The process begins with the whipping of the powder mix then gradually adding the water. The foam you see on top of this sludge is a by-product of the process which occurs naturally. These machines can be quite inexpensive and easy to clean.
Make no mistake about it, though. There is no substitution for real cappuccino. Instead of purchasing a coffee frothing machine instead, buy yourself an inexpensive espresso machine. They can be found for $20.00 give or take. A milk steamer will also be needed. You can then create the same gourmet espresso drink that the others do but with a homemade edge.
But if you want really great cappuccino, there are now machines that do all the work for you, and do it perfectly