Cappuccino connoisseurs

by Schaerer Marketing Team
creative coffee world

Cappuccino connoisseurs

Today we celebrate the national cappuccino day

On 8 November each year, we join cappuccino lovers around the world in celebrating Cappuccino Day. The basic requirement for celebrating this day is lots of freshly made cappuccinos! Is that enough? We think we should know everything, really everything, about cappuccino on the day.

Do you also want to become a cappuccino connoisseur and amaze your acquaintances, friends, and colleagues with your knowledge on Cappuccino Day? Then the following titbits of information are exactly what you need!

A proper cappuccino has just one shot of espresso.

And yet, big coffee chains often serve them with two. How does that work? A cappuccino with two espresso shots is not a cappuccino. It’s maybe a flat white, but only maybe.

A cappuccino consists of one part espresso and two parts milk (it is also often defined as one part espresso, one part liquid milk foam and one part firm milk foam, although this is disputed). The firm milk foam should protrude slightly over the rim of the cup. A flat white combines two espressos or a generous ristretto with fine-pored milk foam. This milk foam has no liquid part and is level with the rim of the cup, hence the name flat white because the milk foam is flat with the rim. By the way, the milk foam for the flat white is harder to make than for cappuccinos and is less suitable for coffee art.

Fancy a little more expert knowledge? The flat white comes from Australia, where it has been known since the 1950s. At the end of the 80s, the flat white became increasingly popular over here. Whether a cappuccino with two espressos is a flat white, we can’t answer conclusively.

Cappuccino did not exist in Italy in the 17th century

and therefore did not enter Viennese coffee culture after the Battle of Kahlenberg. According to one legend, Kapuziner started to be served in Viennese coffee houses from 1805 and that the drink was further developed in Italy to become cappuccino. The Kapuziner is a small mocha with a little cream, which gives the coffee the colour of a capuchin frock or the hood of these frocks. It is said that the name of the cappuccino originated in Italy from exactly this hood. Cappuccino is, in fact, the diminutive of the Italian word for hood (cappuccio).


The plural of cappuccino in English is cappuccinos,

and only when you want to show off how good you are at Italian in Italian-speaking areas of Europe do you call out “due cappuccini”. As a loanword, cappuccino is treated like an English word and therefore follows English spelling rules. And by the way, never order a cappuccino after 11 a.m. in Italy. In Italy, only children drink milk in the afternoon, as it is said to be difficult for adults to digest at that time.


More facts for cappuccino connoisseurs

  • A cappuccino with cream is a mélange with whipped cream and never, ever a cappuccino.
  • The cappuccino would never have become a fashionable drink without the invention of the espresso machine. Without a strong, beautifully extracted and fine-pored espresso, a tasty cappuccino could never be made.
  • Cappuccinos first became popular through the big coffee chains. There you can find cappuccinos in different sizes, with different types of milk, refined with syrup, etc. There are no limits to creativity.

And in France

In France, neither the law on the protection of the French language known as the ’Loi Toubon’ prohibits the use of the term ’cappuccino’, nor any other legal rules. Nevertheless, the cappuccino is still something of a rarity in France. Not surprising, given the variety of the coffee specialities there:

  • un café – espresso
  • un café serré – highly concentrated espresso
  • un café noisette – espresso with milk
  • un café allongé – diluted espresso
  • un double expresso – double espresso
  • un (café) crème – latte
  • un café americain – diluted large black coffee, similar to filter coffee
  • un café viennois – coffee with whipped cream
  • un Irish coffee – coffee, cane sugar, cream, whiskey
  • un café gourmand – espresso with three petit fours.

More facts for cappuccino connoisseurs

  • Cocoa powder sprinkled on cappuccino is only available north of the Alps. In Italy, cappuccino fans would never adulterate the cappuccino flavour with cocoa. Malicious tongues claim that cocoa is used to compensate for a badly brewed espresso and overheated milk. But as I’ve said, that’s only evil tongues wagging.
  • In Austria, the cappuccino failed to prevail against the many coffee specialities. Not surprising, given the selection there either.
  • Depending on the definition and source, a cappuccino consists of 33% espresso, milk foam and hot milk or 25-40 ml espresso, 140-160 ml milk foam and 55-65 ml hot milk. Ask your barista for the exact quantities.
  • Cappuccino only works with a balanced arabica/robusta espresso roast that is low in acidity.

Ever heard of the Car-puccino?

This is a converted VW Scirocco that runs on coffee grounds. This vehicle was christened by a team from the British BBC programme “Bang Goes the Theory”. For each mile, the Car-puccino needs the coffee leftovers of at least 56 cappuccinos. You can find more about this vehicle here.


And last but not least, a word about the cappuccino effect.

This is the acoustic phenomenon that occurs immediately after stirring a cup of cappuccino. If you tap the cup several times in succession with the spoon, the pitch will rise audibly within the first few seconds. This effect can be repeated after stirring again as long as there is still milk foam. The phenomenon was scientifically described by Frank Crawford in 1982. The English translation is “hot chocolate effect”. Why? Because the air bubbles that appear in the liquid due to the stirring drastically reduce the speed of sound, and the pitch, in turn, depends on the speed of sound. You can find more about this effect on Wikipedia.