A cappuccino is a coffee drink made of espresso, steamed milk and milk foam. Though the word cappuccino is commonplace now, its derivation is hundreds of years old. The word means “little hood” and is believed to reference the color of the brown hooded robes worn by the Capuchin order of friars, established in 1525.
Italians enjoy cappuccino in the morning and almost never after. They believe that drinking milk after a meal will negatively affect their digestion. The foam-topped drink is regularly served in a porcelain cup, which along with the foam, helps keep the coffee warm. To make a perfect cappuccino, you must first start with a perfect shot of espresso. The rich espresso should be dark brown with a strong coffee aroma. Next, a touch of steamed milk is added and a daub of frothy, milk foam is placed on the surface. The milk to foam ratio is a matter of personal preference.
Though making the best espresso and frothy milk foam is an art form in itself, there is a new trend to adorn the top of cappuccinos with decoration. For best results in decorating, the milk should be shiny, slightly thick, and should have very small, uniform bubbles. By pouring the steamed milk into the espresso in certain patterns, motifs will float to the surface of the foam. Since this can take years to master, amateurs may want to try an easy and delicious swirl of chocolate syrup over top. Just remember, the appearance of a drink should never trump its superb flavor!