Introduction To Cappuccino: Of Monks And Coffees

Are you tired of drinking the same espresso each and every day? Are you looking for a coffee which is both tasty and milky? If your answers are yes, then it might be the perfect time for you to try Cappuccino.

Famous for its equally distributed ratio of espresso, frothed milk and steamed milk, Cappuccino is the second most popular coffee beverage in the world.

So what has made the Cappuccino widespread and what’s its history? What does it taste like and how to recognize a properly-made Cappuccino? And what are some of the common types of Cappuccino coffee which is consumed all around the world? Let’s find answers to these questions and more.

Cappuccino 101

“Cappuccino” by Bryan Pocius is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Cappuccino is a hot beverage made from a mixture of espresso and milk. Cappuccino’s popularity mostly comes from its layer of steamed milk foam (A.K.A microfoam) and it is the second most popular coffee-drink in the world, coming just after latte.

When baristas are making Cappuccino, they mostly follow the age-old rule of thirds: 1/3 espresso, 1/3 foamed milk, and 1/3 steamed milk. It is also worth mentioning that it is smaller than latte with its 6oz volume.

History of Cappuccino

Let’s talk about history. In the early 16th century, there was an order of Franciscan monks called “Order of Friars Minor Capuchin” and its members were wearing brown-colored hoods similar to our beloved Cappuccino’s color. The “Cappuccino” name was given to drink because of its color-resemblance to monk’s hood. It is also worth mentioning that in Italian, the word “Cappuccino” literally means little hood. So, we have to appreciate these monks as they indirectly named the beverage. Thanks guys!

Although Cappuccinos’ name is ancient, it wasn’t popular until the 1950’s, when it made its way outside of its native country Italy. It slowly started to spread across Europe, and then eventually all around the world. Rest is history.

Italy’s Esteemed Cappuccino Rule

You might be surprised to learn that most of the Italians don’t drink cappuccinos after 10:00 am. The reason for this strange habit is about milk. According to them, the beverage’s milk content would be too strong to drink after mid or late morning which might be a problem for digesting. Thus, an Italian will only consume Cappuccino before lunch.

italian cappuccino
“Cappuccino” by jmc.cantero is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

In other countries, however, you can drink it whenever you want. In some of the biggest cities in Italy, you can drink a Cappuccino in any hour you want but don’t be surprised if waiters give you a strange look and try to talk you out of it.


It has just 3 ingredients, how difficult can it be to make a Cappuccino, right? Riiight. Although it seems easy to make, adjusting Cappuccino’s ratio is a difficult task and should be done by a skilled barista. Anyway, here are the ingredients.

  • One-part steamed milk
  • One-part frothed milk
  • One-part espresso shot

These are the components of Cappuccino. Also, it would be better if you drink it with specially designed Cappuccino cups.

What Does It Taste Like? / Recognizing A Good Cappuccino

A good cappuccino tastes like heavens. It is the perfect balance of a little sweetness and rich boldness. It gives you a distinctive espresso taste, rich sweet foam and low acidity. If it’s not sweet or tasty enough for you, you can improve your Cappuccino’s flavor with adding sugar or simple flavored syrups. It is totally up to you.

On the other hand, if your coffee tastes burnt, it can be because either your barista is an amateur and pulling an espresso shot took forever, or the milk was steamed at the high temperature for a long time. In addition, you can understand that the coffee’s ratio isn’t good if you can’t taste the espresso shot.

Making Cappuccino requires some skill. Therefore, if you have already tried and didn’t like Cappuccino, you might think of giving it another chance with a different barista.

Italian Cappuccino Vs American Cappuccino

Cappuccinos are extremely famous in Italy. As I mentioned earlier, Italians drink their Cappuccino early in the day or in mid-morning to enjoy breakfast. Most of the inhabitants consider drinking it after dinner as unhealthy because of the digestion issues. In addition, in Italy, the drink is mostly served to children as it contains significantly more milk than espresso.

In the US, however, since its first appearance 30 years ago, Cappuccino have entirely grown into something else. It is mostly served in 12-16oz cups whereas in Italy it is served in 6-8oz cups.

Additionally, most coffee shops in the US prefer a fairly dark roast because it is consistent, not because it tastes better and compared to Italian Cappuccino, US one tastes different because of it.

Types Of Cappuccino

types of capuccino
“Chinatown Coffee Cappuccino” by Mr.TinDC is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Remember how to create different beverages just by using espresso? Just like espresso, Cappuccino has several variations, too. Actually, most of the coffee shops have their own unique names to Cappuccino alternatives but some of them have become much more famous than others.

  • Wet Cappucino: In the process of making Wet Cappuccino, baristas use less foamed milk and more hot milk. A Wet Cappuccino is known for its similarity with caffe latte, but unlike latte it is less strong in taste and has a tiny foam on top of it.
  • Dry Cappucino: You can taste the strong espresso flavor unlike the wet cappuccino in this one as dry cappuccinos have less milk than other variations of cappuccinos. One other difference of this particular cappuccino is its color. It has a slightly darker color than a traditional cappuccino.
  • Iced Cappucino: It is simply the colder version of a regular cappuccino. In other countries than Italy, Iced Cappuccino is an iced drink whereas this beverage has a cold milk with bubbles on top of the drink.
  • Flavored Cappucinos: As its name implies, this drink is made by using simple syrups to add different flavors to cappuccino and it is mostly famous in the US. You can add any syrup which you prefer to taste to cappuccino. They can be common aromas such as chocolate, caramel or vanilla; or less used flavors like maple, floral or even root beer. You can choose from almost endless options and use any flavor you want.
iced cappuccino
“Iced Cappuccino, Pre-Ice” by nalundgaard is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit


Now that you’ve read the whole article, you can go to your local coffee shop to order a delicious cup of cappuccino and take a sip with knowing what it is fully or you can show off with your Cappuccino knowledge to your friends, it’s your choice. Enjoy your drink!

Extra Note

Did you know Cappuccino is so delicious that it has its own day? 8th of November is officially World Cappuccino Day. On this day, you can visit your coffee shop with your friends and enjoy your delicious cup of coffee while learning some cool facts about Cappuccino from your barista.


How much milk is in a Cappuccino?

It all depends on how big your cup is because the ratio will change according to it. I told you about the famous ratio: 1:1:1. So a cup of Cappuccino has 2/3 milk and 1/3 espresso in it.

How much caffeine is in a Cappuccino?

As I mentioned, Cappuccino is an espresso-based beverage and its caffeine content comes from the amount of espresso shots it is made with. A typical Cappuccino is made of 1 or 2 shots of espresso, and each one of them has about 70 mg of caffeine. We can conclude from here that a cup of Cappuccino has about 140 mg caffeine.

Does Cappuccino have coffee in it?

Yes, of course it does. Cappuccino is an espresso-based drink and espresso is made from coffee beans.

How many calories is a cup of Cappuccino?

A regular 16-ounce cappuccino contains 130 calories.

How Cappuccinos are served?

Cappuccino is typically served in cappuccino cups and they tend to vary from country to country.

In Italy, cappuccino has a traditional serving way. It is served in 5 to 6 ounce (160-180 ml) cups which are pre-heated and made of porcelain. Yet, in other countries such as the US, Cappuccino is served in cups which are made from porcelain or paper and have a size of 18-20 ounces (550-600 ml).

Introduction To Cappuccino: Of Monks And Coffees

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