Created | Updated Jan 28, 2002
You are a cultured, discerning human being. Naturally, you drink coffee. Before you lie many choices to indulge in this most sophisticated of pleasures.
And what more delightful way of taking your coffee than as cappuccino - the luxurious frothy coffee for all occasions?
History does not record the visionary who first fashioned this sublime drink. A mid-20th Century creation, its name almost certainly comes from its colour, said to resemble the colour of the habits worn by Capuchin friars. Their long cowls were called cappuccino, from the word cappuccio meaning 'hood'.
At the heart of cappuccino lies a strong espresso. This is a thick, rich coffee made by forcing hot water through coffee grounds at high pressure to extract all the flavour.
To this, equal measures of steamed milk and foamed milk are added. Heating the milk with steam produces the familiar khkhaawaakhkhaawaakhkhaawaah sound heard in thousands of coffee bars. The steamed milk softens the espresso without cooling the drink. The frothed milk sits invitingly on top, and is usually garnished with a little chocolate or cinnamon powder.
The Cappuccino Cup
While it is perfectly acceptable to drink cappuccino out of, say, a mug, ideally it should be served in a large classic cup. Traditionally, this is half way between a cup and a bowl, rounded and heavy. This design helps keep the cappuccino at just the right temperature. The wide top makes it easier to reach the creamy coffee beneath the rich froth.
Should you 'Drink' the Froth?
You may, if you wish, stir and stir your cappuccino until the froth has all but disappeared into the coffee. But this effectively destroys one of the cappuccino's most appealing qualities.
Or you may consider it unrefined to attempt to drink/eat the froth, preferring to leave it once the coffee is finished. But this is such a waste.
It is far better to enjoy your cappuccino froth to the full, either by using your teaspoon, or by burying your head further into the cup, employing a combination of licking and sucking. Be careful, though, not to make too much noise doing this, and mind you wipe all traces of froth from your upper lip and the tip of your nose!