As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?
I started drinking Cappuccino when I was quite young – last year in junior high I went with some friends to have breakfast before school and suddenly I felt old enough to order one. My first experience with it was quite unforgettable: I poured so much sweet cacao and sugar in it that it became a kind of cream. Many cappuccinos after I learned how to enjoy it just the way it is.
But how is the cappuccino exactly?
The Cappuccino is a coffee based drink originally from Italy. Even though it is traditionally prepared with espresso, hot milk and steamed milk foam it is getting more and more common outside the Italian borders to find it made with cream instead of milk and topped with cinnamon powder. Even though it seems quite easy to prepare – just make an espresso and pour some hot foamy milk in it – attaining the right warmth and texture of foam requires great attention, thus making the cappuccino one of the most difficult espresso-based drinks to make properly.
According to legend, the word cappuccino comes from the Capuchin monastic order. In 1683 a monk from the order found a hoard of coffee following a victory over the Ottomans in the Battle of Vienna. Europeans were not ready for such a strong taste and they diluted it with cream and honey. The resulting brown beverage matched the robes of the monk, and was dubbed cappuccino after the order. It is important to know, however, that this legend predates espresso – one the key ingredient of a cappuccino by nearly 300 years.
Cappuccino as we know it was first introduced in the 20th century thank to Luigi Bezzera who invented the Espresso machines, introduced in Milan in 1901. This machine allowed for cappuccino to be produced more easily in larger amounts. Since then the Cappuccino widespread all over the world in its two variations: cappuccino chiaro – light cappuccino or wet cappuccino – with more steamed milk to froth than normal, and cappuccino scuro – dark cappuccino or dry cappuccino – with more froth to steamed milk than normal.
In Italy unlike the rest of the world, the Cappuccino is a beverage typically linked to mornings and breakfast – usually drunk aside of a croissant or sfogliatella alla crema – I will explain that another time just keep it in mind.
Even though it has been years since the last time I sugared my coffee one of my guilty pleasure is to pour delicately some sugar on the top, collecting the sugary foam with a spoon and eating it that way.
Try to believe it!