AskDefine | Define cappuccino

User Contributed Dictionary



cappuccino (countable and uncountable; plural: cappuccinos)
  1. An Italian coffee-based beverage made from espresso and milk that has been steamed and/or frothed.
  2. A cup of this beverage.


  • German: Cappuccino
  • Hebrew: קפוצ׳ינו
  • Italian: cappuccino
  • Japanese: カプチーノ
  • Sicilian: cappuccinu
cup of this beverage
  • German: Cappuccino
  • Hebrew: קפוצ׳ינו
  • Italian: cappuccino
  • Japanese: カプチーノ
  • Sicilian: cappuccinu

See also



it-adj cappuccin

Related terms




Extensive Definition

Cappuccino is an Italian coffee-based drink prepared with espresso, hot milk, and milk foam. A cappuccino differs from a caffé latte in that it is prepared with much less steamed or textured milk than the caffé latte with the total of espresso and milk/foam making up between approximately 150 ml and 180 ml (5 and 6 ounces). A cappuccino is traditionally served in a porcelain cup, which has far better heat retention characteristics than glass or paper. The foam on top of the cappuccino acts as an insulator and helps retain the heat of the liquid, allowing it to stay hotter longer.


Cappuccino takes its name from the order of Franciscan Minor friars, named "cappuccini" from their brown, hooded frock ("cappuccio" means hood in Italian) but it is unlikely that the name of the drink derives from the color of the monks' robes, because it is quite a different shade of brown, although some dictionaries have mentioned this hypothesis.
The drink has always been known by this Italian name. The Espresso coffee machine used to make cappuccino was invented in Italy, with the first patent being filed by Luigi Bezzera in 1901 (see "An Espresso Timeline" by Prof. Bob Kummerfeld, University of Sydney,
The beverage was used in Italy by the early 1900s, and grew in popularity as the large espresso machines in cafés and restaurants were improved during and after World War Two. By the 1950s, the Italian cappuccino had found its form.
Typically regarded as myth, some believe that a 17th century Capuchin monk, Marco d'Aviano, invented Cappuccino after the Battle of Vienna in 1683, or that it was named after him. No mention of this occurs in any of his biographies, nor in any other contemporary historical source or account. The rumor first appeared in the Austrian popular press towards the end of the 20th century, more specifically, after the 1983 celebration in Vienna of the third centennial of the Turkish siege, and soon joined the ranks of other so-called urban legends, happily circulating without any basis in fact. For these reasons, no historical credibility can be attributed to it; and it has been rebutted by scholars and ecclesiastical authorities, such as Cardinal José Saraiva Martins.


Besides a shot of espresso, the most important element in preparing a cappuccino is the texture and temperature of the milk. When a barista steams the milk for a cappuccino, microfoam is created by introducing very tiny bubbles of air into the milk, giving the milk a velvety texture and sweetness. The traditional cappuccino consists of an espresso, on which the barista pours the hot foamed milk, resulting in a 2 cm (¾ inch) thick milk foam on top. Variations of the mixtures are usually called cappuccino chiaro (light cappuccino, also known as a wet cappuccino) with more milk than normal, and cappuccino scuro (dark cappuccino, also known as a dry cappuccino) with less milk than normal.
Attaining the correct ratio of foam requires close attention be paid while steaming the milk, thus making the cappuccino one of the most difficult espresso-based beverages to make properly. Moreover, a skilled barista may obtain artistic shapes while pouring the milk on the top of the espresso coffee.


Cappuccino was a taste largely confined to Europe, Australia, South Africa, South America and the more cosmopolitan regions of North America, until the mid-1990s when cappuccino was made much more widely available to North Americans, as upscale coffee bars sprang up.
In Italy, cappuccino is generally consumed early in the day as part of the breakfast, with a croissant, better known to Italians as cornetto, or a pastry. Generally, Italians do not drink cappuccino with meals other than breakfast. In other countries it is consumed throughout the day or after dinner.
In the United States, the term "iced cappuccino" (or cappuccino "Freddo") is something of a misnomer since the characteristic frothed milk is generally omitted in the iced variation. Without the frothed milk, the drink is called an iced latte. The term has nevertheless spread in some Mediterranean countries where foam is added to an iced latte just before serving. International coffee houses' standards prohibit the preparation of hot milk foam over ice, since it is conducive to the rapid buildup of bacteria. It is possible to froth cold milk using various methods and such preparation avoids the safety issues associated with hot foam and ice.
By the start of the 21st century, a modified version of cappuccino was being served by fast-food chains. In recent years leading independent cafés have begun offering the traditional cappuccino in its proper size (150-180 ml, 5-6 ounces) only - distinguishing them from other cafés and larger chains, such as Starbucks, offering sizes up to 600 ml (20 ounces).

Convenience store cappuccino

The widespread acceptance in the United States of what was once regarded as a taste of coastal urbanites and older Italian-Americans led to many establishments, such as convenience stores, offering what they present as cappuccino to their patrons. However, that product is usually an ersatz cappuccino produced by machines similar to those that mix cocoa drinks. The drink that comes out is usually produced either from a manufactured mix or double-brewed coffee and bears little relation to the real thing. Similar products result from home use of store-bought mixes usually advertised, more accurately, as producing "frothed coffee."
Convenience store cappuccino is typically produced in a high-speed cyclonic mixing chamber, using preheated water stored in the machine. When activated the whipping impeller begins spinning, and dry powder mix and water are introduced into the chamber, with the strength of the final product controlled by how quickly the powder is fed into the mix chamber. Foam is a natural byproduct of the process. Some machines also inject a liquid flavor concentrate stored in small disposable pouches, allowing a single mix chamber to produce flavor variations such as mocha or vanilla. Because all supplies are either dry powder or in aseptic disposable packaging, these systems are very low maintenance, requiring only cleaning of the mix chamber and impeller. To further reduce maintenance, when the operator releases the fill button, most machines continue to run without powder for a few moments to flush the mix chamber with clear water.

See also

External links

cappuccino in Arabic: كابتشينو
cappuccino in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Капучына
cappuccino in Bulgarian: Капучино
cappuccino in Catalan: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Czech: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Danish: Cappuccino
cappuccino in German: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Spanish: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Persian: کاپوچینو
cappuccino in French: Cappuccino (boisson)
cappuccino in Korean: 카푸치노
cappuccino in Croatian: Kapučino
cappuccino in Indonesian: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Icelandic: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Italian: Cappuccino (bevanda)
cappuccino in Lithuanian: Kapučino
cappuccino in Dutch: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Japanese: カプチーノ
cappuccino in Norwegian: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Polish: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Portuguese: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Slovenian: Kapučino
cappuccino in Finnish: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Swedish: Cappuccino
cappuccino in Thai: คาปูชิโน
cappuccino in Vietnamese: Cà phê cappuccino
cappuccino in Chinese: 卡布奇诺
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