What Is A Cappuccino? (Drink Explained)

Cappuccino is an espresso-based drink perfectly blended with steamed milk and milk foam. It is about 6 oz. in volume and is made with one shot of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. So, proportionally, it has a ratio of one-third espresso, one-third steamed milk, and one-third milk foam. It is also smaller than a café latte in size

As far as the history of cappuccino is concerned, James Hoffmann explains in his book, The World Of Coffee, that the drink was first created in Vienna in the 1700s, and its original name was kapuziner.

However, it wasn’t until the 1930s when the cappuccino made its way outside of its Italian origins and spread in Austrian cafes. It came to Europe and America in the 1980s, almost at the same time as the latte.

The name of the drink has an interesting history, the color of the espresso and frothed milk is similar to the hue of the Capuchin friar robes, and so, this beverage was termed “cappuccino”.

Now that you have a background of this wonderful drink, keep reading to know more about it!

Is Cappuccino Healthy?

A cup of coffee on a book
A cup of delicious cappuccino.

Cappuccino can be a healthy variant of coffee if taken in moderation. 

A study reveals that drinking a cup of cappuccino of around 180 ml a day can significantly prevent the oxidization of bad cholesterol and may prevent heart-related diseases. 

As the coffee is packed with antioxidants like flavonoids, it even lowers the chances of a stroke by 20 percent. 

Following are the health benefits that cappuccino has:

Health Benefits of Cappuccino

  • Prevents heart problems
  • Lowers chances of stroke
  • Can prevent Type 2 diabetes
  • Prevents Alzheimer’s
  • Reduces gallstones
  • Assists in digestion
  • Lowers the risk of cancer
  • Can help in burning fats
  • Good for teeth health
  • Reduces headache

Although the list of benefits of the drink outshines its side effects, it is still important to know the adverse effects that can possibly affect you when taken excessively.

Adverse Effects of Drinking Too Much Cappuccino

  • Restlessness
  • Tension
  • Sleeplessness
  • Acute anxiety
  • Increase in blood pressure levels

It is important to be mindful of how much cappuccino you drink in a day, as moderation is the key to attain its health benefits.

Health experts also advise taking it without sugar, so that your blood sugar levels remain under control.

How Much Caffeine Is There in a Cappuccino?

A medium, 16-ounce (475 ml) cup of cappuccino contains about 173 mg of caffeine, an amount which is way below the set limit of 400 mg of caffeine in a day for healthy adults set by the FDA.

Cappuccino prepared with a single shot of espresso contains lesser caffeine than an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee. But that doesn’t make cappuccino a weaker drink than regular coffee.

The reason for the big difference between the caffeine levels of a cappuccino and a regular cup of coffee is that regular coffee contains 8 whole ounces of brewed coffee, while a cappuccino has a single shot of espresso of about 1.5 ounces in it.

If you prepare a cappuccino with a double shot of espresso, the caffeine content would be doubled, too.

It’s important to know how much caffeine a drink has as too much caffeine can result in adverse effects like caffeine headache and caffeine withdrawal. You can read about what a caffeine headache is here for more information.

What Does a Cappuccino Taste Like?

Cappuccino has a bold taste with a hint of sweetness from the natural sugars found in the milk.

A traditional cappuccino should taste creamy and smooth with enough microfoam for the drink to hold well. The one shot of espresso that it contains should combine harmoniously with the milk to create a lingering flavor.

The espresso is an intensely strong coffee, but the larger volume of hot foamed milk softens the punch of caffeine and adds sweetness. The foam, on the other hand, adds a creamy softness to the drink.

How Do You Make a Cappuccino?

Now that you know more about this drink, I am sure you’d like to make one on your own. By following the directions listed below, you will be able to enjoy a tasty cup of cappuccino in the comfort of your home.

Directions

  1. Pour 1 cup of milk in a saucepan and place it in medium heat. You don’t need to boil the milk, just let it simmer until you see bubbles forming around the edges of the pan. Remove the saucepan from the heat and put it aside.
  2. The second step is about whipping the milk. You can do this with an electric hand mixer. Increase the speed once the milk starts thickening. Keep the mixer running until you see the desired volume of froth.
  3. The next step is about making the coffee. Add 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds in about 6 ounces of water. You can use an automatic drip coffeemaker or a French press to brew the coffee.
  4. A classic cappuccino contains about 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 foam. You can mix it up by adding a small quantity of any of your favorite flavored syrups or even different kinds of milk.
  5. Sit back and enjoy it hot!

For a more detailed instruction on how to make a cappuccino at home, watch the video below.

Video about making Cappuccino at home.

Although cappuccino is great on its own, it is often mistaken for other types of coffee. Some examples of these are macchiatos, lattes, and flat whites. However, all these have their differences.

Difference Between a Latte and a Cappuccino

Coffee with a foam of milk on top in a clear glass
A clear glass of latte.

A traditional cappuccino has an even distribution of espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk, whereas a latte has more steamed milk and a lighter layer of foam.

A cappuccino is distinctly layered; on the other hand, when preparing a latte, the espresso and steamed milk are blended well together, keeping a thin layer of foam at the top.

Because there’s more milk in a latte than there is in a cappuccino, the former is milder in taste while the latter is more intense.

I have summarized the differences between latte and cappuccino in the following table:

Base Cappuccino Latte
Quantity of milkless steam and a less textured milkmore steam and a more textured milk
Serving StyleServed in a ceramic cup with a saucerServed in a tall latte glass
NameFrom Capuchin Friar: their robes’ color matches the color of the drinkLatte, meaning Milk
TypesIced, wet, dryMostly Iced
FlavorRich, intense flavorMilder than the cappuccino
Foamed MilkThick layerThin layer
Tabular representation of Latte vs. cappuccino.

To Sum It All Up

Above view of a cappuccino on a small plate next to a spoon
Anybody can enjoy a cup of cappuccino!

Cappuccino is a coffee variant that originated in Italy. It is usually prepared with a single shot of espresso, steamed milk, and a layer of foamed milk at the top.

Although a cappuccino has many health benefits, it is often advised to drink it in the morning only. This is so you can enjoy the energy boost for the rest of the day.

Also, a cappuccino tends to be more filling than some other coffee drinks so it may not be a good idea to drink it after a large meal.

The rich and distinct flavor of cappuccino is another reason for its popularity around the world.

An espresso machine is often required to prepare a classic cappuccino drink. Despite this, some people have already come up with easy ways to make this delicious drink at home. So you can definitely make this drink by yourself even if you don’t have an espresso machine.

Lastly, if you haven’t had this drink yet, I highly recommend that you give it a try. Chances are you’ll fall in love with its taste. However, don’t forget to keep your consumption moderate to keep things healthy.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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