Cappuccino, sweet pleasure for breakfast only
“Un cappuccio per favore!”
If you have been lucky enough to visit Italy, you probably heard this sentence several times every morning.
But before strating, do not miss my new post How to make a perfect foam cappuccino at home, without a machine!
I would say that cappuccino is probably the most characteristic of all the Italian coffee based beverages, as far as “rules” needed to make a good one. But before discussing about it, it’s necessary to get some more general info.
A cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed-milk foam. The name comes from the Capuchin friars, possibly referring to the colour of their habits or to the aspect of their tonsured – white – heads, surrounded by a ring of brown hair.
I mentioned that, in order to make a good espresso, there are several elements needed (read more here), and I would summarize it saying a good espresso is 50% from the machine and the coffee itself, and 50% from the barista.
Cappuccino, however, is another story.
Besides a shot of espresso, the most important element in preparing a cappuccino is the texture and temperature of the milk. Many people asked why cappuccino taste so different in Italy. The answer could maybe be found in the milk used in Italy – whole milk – with more fat and perfect for better foam.
When the barista steams the milk for a cappuccino, microfoam is created by introducing very tiny bubbles of air into the milk, giving the milk a velvety texture. The Italian cappuccino consists of an espresso, on which the barista pours the hot foamed milk, resulting at least 2 cm (¾ inch) thick milk foam on top.
Steaming the milk is the most difficult and important part. It’s a barista skill that takes time to learn and a lot of practice.
A cappuccino is traditionally served in a porcelain cup, which has far better heat-retention characteristics than glass or paper, and it’s not meant to fill the big cups used in North America. It’s also meant to be something to be appreciated sitting at the coffee shop (called bar in Italy), maybe with a fresh and still warm cornetto or some kind of sweet pastry! Yummy! And, more important, FOR BREAKFAST ONLY! Indeed Italians do not drink cappuccino with meals other than breakfast, preferring espresso throughout the day and following dinner.
The creamy cappuccino is defiantly the sweetest way to kick off your day!
To read more about Italian coffee click here