What is a Cappuccino, The Origins of the Brown Brew

Have you ever ordered from a coffee shop and have no clue what are the drinks on their menu? Don’t worry because you’re not the only one on the confusing side. It sucks to scan a list full of drinks and find that you don’t know any of them. One particular name that usually stands out is “cappuccino.” This espresso-based drink is one of the favorites among coffee shop goers and coffee lovers because of its deliciously sweet taste and unique foam on top. But what is a cappuccino?

What is in a Cappuccino? How to Make Cappuccino?

Cappuccinos are much sweeter and flavorful since it is topped with delicious warmed milk or frothed milk with a slight hint of coffee aftertaste.

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A cappuccino is a popular beverage from Italy and made of steamed milk and espresso. Conventionally, the ingredients of this recipe are 1/3 espresso, 1/3 frothed milk, and 1/3 steamed milk. If you calculate the math on this one, if you have espresso of 1.5-2 oz, which makes up 1/3 of your beverage, you’re more likely to have a 5-6 oz beverage.

Tracing back to its history, it was at the start of the 20th century when the espresso machine was at the peak of its popularity, and most people in Italy started to spend a lot of time in coffee shops. With this, was the invention of the first beverage called cappuccino, and served “Vietnamese style,” topped with delicious whipped cream and chocolate shavings. The drink was named after the distinctive color of the robes of Capuchin monks. After the end of World War II, upgrades to contemporary espresso machines and streamlining of the recipe introduced the cappuccino that is now well-loved in different parts of the world. This drink became a massive hit in Europe, and it drank during breakfast. When the 1980s arrived, the trend reached America, where it became popular. It was no longer just a morning drink, and people consume it anytime they want.

How do You Make a Cappuccino?

If you think that the silky and magical cappuccino is beyond your capacity to make, that’s where you are wrong. The recipe for amazing cappuccinos is a serving available to avid coffee aficionado, right in the comfort of the kitchen. All it takes is some practice with steam, water, and foam, together with the appropriate gear on your countertop. If you want to get the best cappuccino serving without ordering from a coffee shop, then you should invest in an espresso machine that comes with a built-in steam wand. And of course, an essential element – your coffee beans, which is the heart and soul of your drink.

Approximately, a serving of cappuccino is a 150 ml or 5 oz drink that has 25 ml of espresso with 85 ml of fresh milk – the extra volume comes from the fresh milk foaming action. Here are the steps on how to make this at home:

  • Step 1

Effuse cold milk inside a metal streaming pitcher, approximately taking up 1/3 of space.

  • Step 2

From the steam wand, release the steam for two seconds to remove any excess liquid.

  • Step 3

Dunk the tip of the stream wand in the pitcher with milk and begin frothing. You’ll notice that as the foam rises to the top, the milk volume increases. When this happens, lower the pitcher and make sure that the tip is dipped and tilted to establish a vortex. Never mix in unnecessary direction, allow the natural circling action to do the job.

  • Step 4

Continue steaming up to the point where the milk is at 65 degrees – you can use a probe-style kitchen thermometer to do this – and its volume multiplies by 2. 

  • Step 5

Gently press the base of the pitcher that’s on the countertop to compress the foam.

  • Step 6

Place the espresso in a big cup, much better if you use a cappuccino cup.

  • Step 7

Run the foamed milk straight into the cup, starting from the center, then work your way in a circular movement out towards the rim.

  • Step 8

Release the steam one last time to remove any excess milk particles. 

Pro tip: The consistency of the foam comes from the fat content of the milk. To achieve the softest and creamiest cappuccino, opt for whole milk. Skip low-fat milk for now, if you are aiming for that velvety texture on your foam. Furthermore, the foam created from skim milk tends to be light, almost similar to a meringue, which means that it dissolves faster.

What is The Difference Between a Latte and a Cappuccino?

Latte and cappuccino are two of the most renowned Italian coffee beverages and are both made with hot milk. However, comparing cappuccino vs latte has a lot of differences. Latte is a creamier alternative to coffee. The recipe calls for two-thirds steamed milk that’s poured over one shot of espresso and finally topped with a milk foam layer. On the other hand, cappuccino has a stronger flavor. The recipe has equal parts of milk, espresso, and froth, which makes it an aromatic mixture. Apart from this, there are other differences between these two coffee beverages. 

First, cappuccino uses less steamed or textured milk compared to the latte. Milk quantity is one area that varies greatly between a cappuccino and a latte. Second, when it comes to the serving style, it is served in a cappuccino glass placed on a saucer, and it comes with a napkin whereas latte uses porcelain cups with greater heat retention capacities. Third, the cappuccino originated in Italy, and its name refers to the brown robes worn by the Capuchin monks. The latte originated in America, though its name came from the Italian word “latte,” which means milk and coffee. Lastly, the latte has more calories. The idea behind this is simple – it uses more milk, and obviously, milk has a lot of calories. The more milk you put in your coffee beverage, the greater the number of calories you’ll get.


Other than these differences, latte and cappuccino share similar kinds of ingredients: espresso, milk foam, and steamed milk. They also have a similar amount of espresso, which is a single shot, but their milk foam to milk ratios vary. Other than this, they share the same level of caffeine content, as well.

What is The Difference Between a Coffee and a Cappuccino?

Cappuccino is generally an espresso-based classic Italian beverage. It has a one-of-a-kind 1:1:1 ration that was the standard in the 1940s and has been a favorite in Europe and America ever since. This drink offers a low-acid espresso flavor. On the other hand, a conventional coffee drink is much more straightforward. Instead of operating with an espresso machine or fooling with frothed milk, all you need is a standard drip coffee maker to get a serving of fresh coffee. It’s evident that cappuccino and regular coffee has a lot of differences, including:

  • Grounds

The espresso beans used in making cappuccinos demand an extremely fine grind. The fine grind makes the coffee powerful and strong, which is more intense than conventional coffee. On the other hand, regular coffee uses medium coarseness. Using this, you’ll still be able to achieve a serving of a strong hot cup without blocking the brewing system.

  • Milk and Foam

Balance of the milk ingredients is vital in making a cappuccino. With the absence of an accurate balance between these milk components, you won’t have any to drink. Put too little, and it becomes a macchiato, place too much, and it transforms into a latte. In contrast, milk products are not exactly essential when making coffee. If you order a brewed coffee, baristas tend to give you a serving of hot black coffee.

  • Calories and Nutrition

Reportedly, black coffee has fewer calories with around two calories for every 8oz cup serving. If you consume 1 or 2 cups of black coffee, you don’t have to be alarmed with the number of calories it contains since it follows the nutritional standards. On the other hand, espresso drinks are quite low in calories, but with all the milk-based products, the caloric value increases. A standard cup of single espresso has about 110 calories and approximately 6 grams of fat. If you add a handful of syrup, sugar, and cocoa powder, then the value increases.

  • Time of Day

Cappuccinos are served in the morning, specifically during breakfast time. In Italy, typically, you won’t find it served after lunch or dinner since it contains a massive number of indigestion-inducing milk ingredients, which is unfit to drink with huge meals. In contrast, people drink hot coffee at the start and end of the day. Most consumers drink coffee at any time of the day. However, it is most popular during meal times.

What is The Difference Between a Flat White and a Cappuccino?

Flat whites are created by running purely textured milk or microfoam on a single or double shot of espresso. They use smaller cups, typically in 5 oz tulip cup. This coffee drink has a silky texture with no traces of frothiness from the milk foam. On the other hand, cappuccino is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 airy foamed milk structure, resulting in a coffee beverage that’s thick and creamy. The major difference between these two drinks is the making of the milk component. The flat white offers smooth and velvety milk combined with espresso to create a silky finish, whereas cappuccino is known for its thick, frothy foamed milk top, enveloping the cup of milk and espresso. 

When you get a flat white, you’re going to have a microfoam on your drink. The key to achieving this kind of foam is to keep the milk and foam mixture intact during the whole process instead of letting it remain on top.

In contrast, cappuccinos have a unique, airy foam above the cup. The milk is steamed up to the point where it reaches 65 degrees Fahrenheit. It is then compressed and poured on top of the espresso. Unlike flat white, the foam is suspended until the end, then placed on top.

Flat White Coffee


The days of confusion when ordering a drink in a coffee shop are a thing of the past. Now, you can confidently order a cappuccinos at your local shop and enjoy it, giving people the impression that you know a lot about your coffee drink than you do. And if you decide to stay in, you can still whip up your cappuccinos, without the pressure of having people around you – just you and your favorite coffee beverage.

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