The History of the Cappuccino

The Cappuccino is a coffee beverage, originating from Italy. It consists of a shot of espresso, hot milk and some foamed milk on top. The name Cappuccino comes from the Italian term ‘cappuccio’ which means ‘hood’. The brown colour associated with the Cappuccino is reminiscent of the brown coloured robes (with hoods) worn by the Capuchin Friars. Similarly, the brown coloured robes inspired the naming of the Capuchin monkey.

The Cappuccino drink, itself evolved from the coffee drink, ‘Kapuziner’ which appeared for the first time in the Viennese coffeehouses in the 1700s. Previously, across Europe coffee was consumed with boiling water and sometimes sugar. The addition of milk was a novelty during the 17 th Century.

The Kapuziner version, however had cream (instead of the milk component), and it was complimented with spices and sugar (upon request). Even egg whites and yokes became part of Kapuziner make-up. Some historians relate the origin of the ‘Kapuziner’ term in relation to the coffee beverage to Marco d’Aviano, a Capuchin Friar who was a confidant of the Austrian emperor Leopold I in the 1680’s. Today, the Kapuziner drink remains on the menu through the Austrian coffeehouse scene.

Upon the development and mass production of the espresso machines, the ‘traditional’ coffee component in the Cappuccino was replaced with the espresso and the milk components evolved accordingly.

The next blog will investigate ‘how to make the perfect Cappuccino’.

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