One of the popular drinks among most coffee lovers happens to be a light, foamy cappuccino, which is my favorite while writing. Traditionally, a cappuccino is prepared by mixing hot milk, a double espresso, and steamed milk foam (in the ratio of 1:1:1).
Originally from Italy, this coffee beverage is typically less in volume than a regular café’ latte but possesses a somewhat thicker consistency. The cappuccino recipe has over time evolved to accommodate different tastes worldwide.
For instance, in America, cappuccino has a higher amount of steamed milk and a milder espresso flavor than the original Italian drink. To help you differentiate between the different coffee options, we can start by describing an espresso; which is fundamentally the base form for all coffee drinks.
In regards to an espresso vs cappuccino; an espresso is coffee brewed in hot water, while a cappuccino is brewed coffee (espresso) with made from steamed milk and milk foam. In regards to Cappuccino vs latte; a latte has more steamed milk and less milk foam than a cappuccino. An Americano is a regular espresso with copious amounts of water.
There are variations to the traditional cappuccino including iced, wet, and dry cappuccinos. Flavored cappuccinos, which are vastly popular in America, are made by adding syrups such as caramel, vanilla, strawberry, peppermint, or raspberry.
Many baristas, however, have signature variations and twists to the main types of cappuccinos. Iced cappuccinos are a cold version of the conventional Italian hot cappuccino. In America, however, the drink is served iced, as opposed to frothed in Italian recipes.
The key difference between a wet and dry cappuccino lies in the quantity of the milk used. Dry cappuccinos require less milk while wet cappuccinos require more milk than a regular espresso. Below are wet and dry cappuccino recipes.
Creating a remarkable wet cappuccino is an art of finesse every barista bears pride in. Getting the perfect velvety and smooth textured drink depends on the level of skill.
Wet cappuccinos should be almost ready-to-drink with a temperature that is just right. To make a wet cappuccino, you need a coffee machine with a steam arm, a milk jug, milk, and a thermometer (a seasoned barrister would, however, know how to gauge the temperature of the milk).
Start off by texturizing the milk. Fill the milk jug to one-third of its capacity to ensure you have enough milk and space for foaming. Next, purge the steam arm just underneath the surface of the milk. As hot air from the stirring gets drawn into the milk, a sucking sound should be heard. This step takes a few tries before one can do it perfectly.
Next, lower the steam arm to the side of the jug as the milk begins to heat. This ensures the milk spins and subsequently, layers. Just before the milk gets hot, turn off the steam arm, and give the base of the jug a tap to get rid of large bubbles that might have formed.
For a well-compacted, smooth, and glossy finish, you need to pour the espresso with skill. To achieve this, swirl the milk gently in a circular motion as you pour the espresso from a fairly low height. When the jug is halfway full, pour the remaining espresso into the center, and place the jug flat; also do this gently.
This achieves a white spot with a solid brown ring. To craft a heart-shaped figure, pour in the center, letting the shift pour from side to side.
A creative presentation has become a reason to smile at cappuccinos for most coffee lovers. One can sprinkle cinnamon or flakes of chocolate at the cappuccino foam. Do this once the foam settles, to give it a professional look. It is imperative to use the proper cappuccino jugs or cups if you want excellent results.
Serve the cappuccino immediately when it is neither too hot nor too cold.
A cappuccino jug is ideally small, elegant, and should hold about 12 ounces. A professional barista knows that great tasting cappuccino is all about the effort and art that goes into creating the beverage. Hence, the drink should be served in an equally deserving vessel.
Dry cappuccinos are relatively easier to make than wet ones, and hence, easier to find at the local coffee shop. One fundamental difference between dry cappuccinos and wet cappuccinos is that the foam is thicker and stiffer in dry cappuccinos.
Start with making the espresso. Grind coffee beans, and brew about two heaped teaspoons of ground coffee per cup of water to make a good espresso. It is important to note that Arabica coffee beans are less bitter than robust coffee beans.
Gently, heat milk over a low flame. Milk with around 2 percent fat gives a perceptible rich flavor, and non-fat milk gives a kick of froth. On to foaming; place the tip of the steam arm just underneath the surface of the milk, and turn on the steam valve on high speed.
Once the foam has formed, purge the steam arm completely into the milk jar, submerging it. When the milk almost comes to a boil, retract the steam arm gently from the milk and foam, and tap the jar to remove large bubbles.
Pour equal parts of the heated milk into the espresso, while holding back the foam using a spoon. Scoop the top layer of foam onto the top of the milk; preferably from the middle.
Sprinkle nutmeg, cinnamon, or chocolate flakes onto the foam.
There are other methods used to make foam in the absence of a steam pitcher. Some barristers swear by a milk-frother which is specifically designed to give milk bubbles. Such equipment can easily be found in online stores and are relatively inexpensive.
When using a frother, however, one is not able to heat the milk and simultaneously cause it to foam as in a steamer. Another innovative way, quite handy when you need that convenient homemade cappuccino, is to shake up the milk in a sealed container and throw it in the microwave.
This action, however, does not exactly produce that rich flavor characteristic of a spectacular cappuccino.
Coffee enthusiasts recognize a great cappuccino by its flavor and texture. In addition to expertise, making a good cappuccino requires excellent gourmet coffee and richly flavored milk to complement the lactose sugar.
The quality of coffee beans significantly depends on one’s taste. For example, Ethiopian coffee beans have a creamy flavor while the Brazilian coffee beans have a chocolate-like taste.
One can source for coffee beans online; though, it is essential to have the supplier package the beans in air-tight coffee bags to preserve the flavor during transit and storage.