~ Frothy, delicious and completely controversial...the great cappuccino debate, clarified. ~
What is it? In the words of coffeegeek.com, a (traditional) cappuccino can be described as "The undeniable classic and darling of the espresso world... The cup itself should hold 5 to 7oz and no more. Sharing the space in the cup in one-third proportions is one shot of espresso, one-third steamed milk, topped by one-third foam."
So, why all the confusion? Depending on where you order a cappuccino, the beverage in your cup may be a variety of proportions and consistencies. In most specialty coffee shops, ordering a 'traditional cappuccino' will get you just that - one third espresso, one third steamed milk, and one third microfoam. In some shops, a cappuccino is differentiated from a latte only by a larger amount of foam, sometimes dryer (thicker) than what you would expect on a latte. In this case, you can usually choose your size - 8 or 12 ounces, for instance. By contrast, a traditional cappuccino falls between 5 and 6oz, and requires at least a centimeter of foam atop equal parts milk and espresso (check out the US Barista Championship rules and regulations for more details on that).
Latte art? This debate - to latte art or not - can be a point of contention among baristas, but generally speaking, you can pour a great traditional cappuccino with good latte art. If you like yours with more froth and less feng shui, ask for a dry cappuccino - less milk and stiffer foam (think whipped egg whites). A bone dry cappuccino? All foam, no milk.
Best cappuccino you've ever had? Tell us below!
Cheers ~ Sadie
~ Join the Conversation ~