In todays entry we are looking at one of the worlds most popular methods of preparing coffee! That is the Cappuccino or Capo to those of us that have watched one too many Al Pacino movies in any case... Read of for the history and methodology of this real delight!
What is a cappuccino?
According to the world barista championship rules the cappuccino is a coffee and milk beverage that should produce a harmonious balance of rich, sweet milk and espresso. Cappo's are usually prepared with a minimum of 1 centimeter of milk foam depth and should be up to 180 mL in total volume.
Where does it come from?
Although some people associate the Cappuccino with Viennese artistry, the Cappucino and it's methodology in fact originate from Italy. The espresso machines dominated the coffee scene of the Italian peninsula from the early 1900 hundreds and are largely responsible for the spread of coffee as the drink of choice of the majority of Italians.
Italians were introduced to the Kapuzinier (a version of Vienesse coffee containing cream and sugar) which was later adapted in Italy to include frothed milk.
Many examples of early coffee house menus from the early 1900 hundreds still exist today and show the name Cappuccino. In some instances they refer to this coffee as "the Vienesse".
Cappuccino spread throughout Europe and the western world with the popularisation of coffee houses in the middle of the century. Americans are in-fact potentially responsible for the methodology we use to make Cappuccino today, due to the technological advancement in which we control the heating and preparing of milk to add to our coffee.
How is it made?
In any case, the correct methodoly for creating a perfect Cappuccino is to start with the highest quality espresso coffee you can possibly get. We recommend medium ground beans and would suggest that percolating your brew will possibly yield the best results since your coffee will be slightly cooler by the time you pour the cup.
You should then heat and steam some milk. Without an industrial size machine at home you are unlikely to be able to produce the highly compact micro-foam some of the popular coffee houses are churning out. Fear not though... Brining you milk to an adequate temperature and consistency can be achieved with little more than a pan and a whisk, electricity optional :)
You are aiming to heat your milk to about 65C/149F. This is way below boiling and you should be careful not to overcook the milk. At this point you should start introducing air to the milk to produce bubbles and a lush consistency. You can use an electric whisk or a steam wand if you have a slightly more sophisticated machine at home making sure to account for the fact that steam will introduce heat to the milk and therefore cook it.
Opinion varies at this point. Some people make cappuccino by adding milk to coffee and some coffee to milk. We think the best and easiest method is to pour your esspresso into your cup and let it settle. You are aiming at about 4/5ths of the cup full. Then start adding the frothy milk, with a bit of practice (and the occasional YouTube video) you'll be producing stunning examples in no time!
It stands to reason that the best possible cappuccino can only be produced by using the best possible coffee beans! Try our Strong Handshake blend for a lovely strong and distinct finish! Available in both ground and whole bean bags.
Join us next time when we delve into the machinations of the latte and explore some more of the history behind that methodology and the incredible art our favorite baristas around the world produce in our cups!