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What Is Cappuccino? Your Guide to a Delicious Cuppa

By Charles Hopkins Published 08/8/2006 | Food & Drink
 

A thick but smooth texture, chocolaty brown color with a dollop of white creamy froth on the top are all that make a cappuccino. If you have been fortunate enough to taste cappuccino, you know what a delicious experience is it to have this drink and if you have not tasted your cuppa yet, you are strongly recommended to visit your nearest coffee house as early as possible. For a cup full of cappuccino can make your life different. 



Cappuccino! Smelling like Italian, isnt it? Yes you are right; Cappuccino has a typical Italian origin. While espresso is the drink that most Italians take after dinner,


Cappuccino is a typical Italian breakfast beverage, served with variety of croissants. This heavenly drink borrows its name from the Capuchin order of Franciscan monks who used to wear the embroidered robes that were light or dark brown in color with a white hood.



Here in the USA, you enter any coffee chain stores and order a cappuccino; you will get a concoction of little coffee, great amount of hot milk topped with a hip of dry foam with a thickness of several inches above the rim of the cup. In this American version of Cappuccino, flavor of coffee is lost in the mounds of foams. But an original Italian style cappuccino; wow, it tastes so very different from what we are offered in our coffee houses in the USA! Care to know about the difference? Well, here it is. 



If you ask a barista in Italy, he will tell you that cappuccino is prepared with espresso and milk where the usual proportion is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 frothed milk. Others may differ slightly in their proportion to include 1/3 espresso and 2/3 microfoam. But what are the finer points that make for that unforgettable taste that tempt you to go for cups after cups of Cappuccino? In classic Italian style Cappuccino, you can catch the unmistakable flavor of the coffee bean and its color will remind you of the milk chocolate. In Italy, it is prepared like a stiff draughts of espresso upon which steamed milk is rapidly swirled. A dollop of white foam is added in the center. Thus it perfectly resembles the mediaeval monks in chocolate robes and white hoods. This fusion of milk and espresso becomes a light and less filling drink because of the presence of the foam. 



Two important elements that can make or break a cappuccino are espresso and milk. You have to use quality shot of espresso if you want to create the original fabulous taste of cappuccino.  Even more important factor is the texture and temperature of the milk. A perfectionist barista has his own way of steaming milk for cappuccino. He will prefer to create microfoams by blowing in tiny bubbles of air into the milk. This contributes to the velvety texture of the cappuccino milk and at the same time the milk is sweetened up naturally. Want to give coffee treat to somebody special? These skillful baristas will present to you the epitome of latte art in the shapes of hearts, apples or rosettes by pouring specially steamed milk into the espresso. The more skillful ones can even create corporate logos with the espresso and milk.



You also might have heard of iced cappuccino" which in some Mediterranean countries is called Freddo cappuccino. In this drink foam remains in its place on the top, only ice is added before the foam.



Drinking cappuccino from a glass or paper glass will never give you the optimum gastronomic satisfaction. If you want to get the real taste of cappuccino, prepare it in a ceramic coffee cup which retains the combined taste of coffee and milk foam, and you get the true flavor of Italy.