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Over the last decade, you may have noticed something a little bit different.  Your favorite coffee shop is now referring to itself as a café and the person serving you coffee is now referred to as a barista.  Also, your simple order of a medium double double has now become far more complicated.  Between learning some basic Italian to order a drink that was once known as large, medium, or small, and between having to pick through a number of different coffee drinks with funny names, it can be a bit tough buying coffee.  Ironically, all of these changes are a good thing, as now we as Amercians are becoming hip to something that Italians have known for some time: coffee can be a specialty drink.

Drinks like the cappuccino have become all the rage among coffee lovers and for good reason – the cappuccino is a sweet drink.  Originating from Italy, the cappuccino has a sweet, smooth taste that is irresistable.  A European staple, the cappuccino has burned itself into the North American consciousness in the mid 1990s due to its availability in specialty coffee bar chains like Starbucks.  Now, even McDonald’s is serving this delicious confection.

A cappuccino is simply made with espresso and milk.  While some people and even coffee chains may refer to an espresso as an expresso, these people are wrong.  Espresso is an Italian term that can be translated as ‘pressed out’ or ‘express,’ and refers to a method of brewing coffee.  The cappunccino drink encompasses three parts – one part espresso, one part steamed milk, and one part frothed milk.  Some people refer to the ingredients of an espresso as being 1/3rd espresso and 2/3rds microfoam, which is also acceptable.  Additionally, it is possible to make a dry cappuccino, which is a cappuccino drink that has less milk.

While a cappuccino is traditionally drank during breakfast in Italy, it is a diverse drink that tastes great  throughout the day.  To make a great cup of cappuccino, all that you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Using an espresso machine (whether a Gaggia, Saeco, Kaffee, or Rancilio), mae 1 ½ ounces of espresso.  However, remember to leave enough water to steam some milk.  If you don’t know how to make an espresso, you’re in luck, as the article on Espresso is available to tell you how.
  2. Place the finished espresso in a cup and then set the espresso machine to the steam function.
  3. Insert the steam nozzle of your espresso machine into a stainless-steel carafe that contains three ounces of cold milk until it is halfway down in the milk.
  4. All it takes is between 45 and 60 seconds for the milk to become hot enough and for it to foam to your preference.
  5. Add 1 ½ ounces of steamed milk to the cup of espresso.
  6. Add some of the foamed milk onto the top of the espresso.
  7. Drink up your delicious cup of cappunccino before it gets too cold.

While this may seem blasphemous in Italy, it’s also possible to add a little extra flavor to your cup of cappuccino.  Options include garnishing your cappucino with chocolate, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla powder.  Regardless of what you top it up with, your cappuccino wil go down smooth!