What is real cappuccino?
Cappuccino, the OG fall beverage, is everything you could ever want out of a drink: warm, frothy, rich. It is effortlessly luxurious and can stand alone as a meal if need be. Like other classic drinks, the cappuccino is not without its history and misconceptions.
To fully understand the real cappuccino, let’s delve into the actual word’s origin.
The History: Etymologically, it comes from scappuccio, currently meaning “no hood”. Scappuccio, which back in the 13th century meant hermit, was also used as a collective name for St. Francis’ followers. Eventually, as the St. Francis order grew, they adopted the name FratelliCappuccino (Brothers of Cappuccino) in 1535.
In 1680, a Fratelli Cappuccino frair, Marco D’Aviano, became confidant to Austria’s Emperor Leopoldo I. His Italian influence spread in the Austrian city of Viena by way of coffee, which until then had not been served in Austria and neighboring Germany.
Interestingly enough, the first cappuccino recipe to date was penned by Wilhem Tissot of Germany, which was called kapuziner.
As cappuccinos continued to grow in popularity in Austria and Germany, in 1910 Trieste, one of Austria’s biggest cities, became an Italian city and brought with it the cappuccino to Italy. The merge of Trieste to Italy along with the abundance of espresso machines in the country, brought the cappuccino to the peninsula.
The kapuziner eventually reverted back to the cappuccino, in 1930. This was consolidated with French reporters writing about this beverage in 1937 and Turin’s daily newspaper La Stampa.
From there the legendary cappuccino took hold of the world city by city.
The cappuccino is a work of art with 2 simple rules: It must have 100 ml of steamed milk. It must have 25 ml of certified Italian espresso.
(Source: CSQA Certificate of Product Conformity CSQA n. 214 of 24 September 1999, DTP 008 Ed. 1)
Original/Real cappuccinos are coffee mixed with egg yolk and topped hand whipped cream, which gives it an amazingly frothy and creamy texture. To create this foam, the cream is mixed with sugar, then whipped by hand to give it the correct texture. Not only is the creamy foam fluffy, the coffee itself are nutritious with the addition of egg yolk. This dessert-like and breakfast-like drink, though delicious, is time consuming and too dense for the modern consumer. This version is no longer served in the majority of cafes worldwide.
Warning: If you are tempted to try this traditional recipe at home, do not use a syphon to whip the cream as this adds nitrogen to the mixture, which changes the consistency and sweetness of densely foamy top. Your best bet is to hand whip the mixture, the old school way.
Nowadays, the steam wand is used to bring the milk to about 63 - 65 Celsius. This is a lighter version of the original, but still delectable.
Enjoy the foam first. Let the smooth and creamy foam bubbles create a lazy effervescent popping succession in your mouth. Once you’ve enjoyed a big scoop of the top, go forth and mix the beverage together for the perfect harmony of coffee and milky foam.
It's not a real cappuccino unless it's the Real Cappuccino from Round K Cafe.