As is often the case with dishes and drinks that are so well known and loved all over the world, there are many versions of the story of cappuccino. Its origins are mixed with legends, tales, and half-truths, with their roots in a variety of places and cultures.
The history of cappuccino: where it got its name
One of the stories about the origin of cappuccino is that it was introduced in Trieste and then changed based on an 18th century Viennese drink. It is not known how much truth this theory holds, but coffee has certainly always played a very important role in Vienna.
According to another story, apparently the most reliable one, the drink was invented by Marco da Aviano, a friar of the Capuchin order. Arriving in Vienna in 1683, having been sent by the Pope himself, he was served a cup of coffee.
The friar, considering the drink too bitter, asked for something to sweeten it with. He was given some milk, which, when added to the coffee, gave it a colour similar to the colour of the friars’ habits.
Apparently, seeing the result, the waiter exclaimed ”Kapuziner!”, hence the name.
How many types of cappuccino exist?
Everyone knows that we Italians are proud of our traditions and tend to be reluctant to stray from what we know best. However, this does not apply in the case of the cappuccino which, in order to meet the tastes of as many consumers as possible, has been transformed into many variations over time.
With a little practice, you too can try making the perfect cappuccino at home, complete with creamy foam and cocoa powder on top.
At the bar, on the other hand, you can choose from the many variations available, including:
Light or dark cappuccino
What differentiates these two types is the amount of espresso used.
Cappuccino with cream
Once your cappuccino is ready you can have a dollop of cream added to it and decide whether to top it with cocoa powder or sprinkled chocolate.
In this case, powdered spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg or star anise are added to your cappuccino.
Ideal for cooling down on hot summer days, as well as containing added ice, this solution also differs in that the milk is frothed using a mixer.
With this version you can really go wild… Add your favourite flavour: hazelnut, chocolate, pistachio, caramel, you only have to ask.
Remember: if you adore the combination of coffee and milk but are not a fan of froth, then you should order another typical Italian breakfast drink: caffellatte
So we are still in the dark as to the true origins of cappuccino, but we do know that very strict rules regarding how it is made have always existed. But before we look at how cappuccino is made today, here’s an interesting fact: until around the end of the 19th century, liquid cream was used instead of milk.
Even the coffee was not exactly the espresso we are used to today: in fact, it was prepared using the famous Turkish-style infusion method.
The cappuccino that today brightens up the breakfast of so many Italians and others all over the world, is made quite differently and has one main characteristic: foam.
The secret of the perfect cappuccino is to find the right balance between the amount of espresso coffee and the milk whipped to form a cream. Today, there are many professionals who teach Latte Art, all you need to know in order to learning how to decorate cappuccinos with exquisite designs.
Would you like to learn the techniques? Discover the Latte Art courses offered by Aiello Lab, an official LAGS Grading Point authorised to issue the certificates of the Latte Art Grading System.