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What Is Italian Cappucino?

Cappuccino originated in post-World War II Italy. The beverage is named after the color of the Capuchin monks’ habit, which is light/darkish brown with a white hood. The name of the friars themselves (and the monkey also named after them) comes from the Italian word for hood, “cappuccio”, which is also often used colloquially for the beverage. The ‘-ino’ suffix denotes a diminutive in Italian.

Besides a shot of espresso, the most important element in preparing a cappuccino is the texture and temperature of the milk. When a barista steams the milk for a cappuccino, he or she creates microfoam by introducing very tiny bubbles of air into the milk, giving the milk a velvety texture and sweetness. The traditional cappuccino consists of an espresso, on which the barista pours the hot foamed milk, resulting in a 1cm-thick milk foam on the top of it. Variations of the mixtures are usually called cappuccino chiaro (light cappuccino, also known as a wet cappuccino) with more milk than normal, a cappuccino scuro (dark cappuccino, also known as a dry cappuccino) with less milk than normal. Depending on the customer’s taste, the barista may be required to avoid pouring milk foam, to add cold milk to cool the cappuccino down, or to add cocoa powder on the foam. Attaining the correct ratio of foam requires close attention be paid while steaming the milk, thus making the cappuccino one of the most difficult espresso-based beverages to make properly. Moreover, a skilled barista may obtain artistic shapes while pouring the milk on the top of the espresso coffee.

A cappuccino differs from a cafe latte which is mostly milk with only a little foam, and a small part of espresso. A cappuccino is traditionally served in a ceramic cup, which has far better heat retention characteristics than glass or paper. The foam on top of the cappuccino acts as an insulator and helps retain the heat of the liquid, allowing it to stay hotter longer.

So exactly what is cappuccino? Well, here is a little paper written about cappuccino by one of my students. I have to admit, it is unique. Please read with a grain of salt and remember it is pretty much a typical half informed student paper.

“Cappuccino is one third espresso coffee, 1 third steamed milk and 1/3 milk froth with a bit of mud n clay. Is capuchino is a similar drink made by men in light brown pants? Capucino, capuccino, cappachino?? Who knows? Well Cappuccino is named for the resemblance of its color to the robes of the monks of the Capuchin order. Now every coffee lover around the world has certainly had a sip of cappuccino. Even a guy like me has had it, so, I expect every one of you to have tasted it. Didn’t anyone of you find anything wrong with it? You can ask “Yes Newton, what did you find?” The point is I found something but unfortunately not while I was drinking it. One day casually as I was going thru ‘THE HINDU’ Magazine I found an article which stunned me. Its caption was something like this “CAPPUCCINO DRINKERS HAVE AS MANY LIVES AS A CAT”. Well for all those sweet cappuccino lovers here’s a shock; it contains cat’s FECES. I could not believe what I was reading. Well I can imagine how people must be feeling after reading that. All I can say is it happens even with the best. I feel like Sherlock Holmes who has had his man in his dragnet and is proudly lecturing him the ways he went about finding it. Well what do you choose Kaapi or Cappuccino? “

This student was not exactly correct and certainly did not get even close to a good mark on this, but there is a coffee called Kopi Luwak which passes through the digestive track of a civit which is a cat like creature. It is not necessarily made into cappuccino beans but it is supposed to have an excellent flavor. It is extremely expensive and certainly accounts for an infinitesimal amount of the coffee consumed today. I will just stick to my regular cappuccino.


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