What Is A Cappuccino? A Guide To This Popular Coffee Drink

Vietnamese Coffee Exporter
What Is A Cappuccino?

What Is A Cappuccino? Traditionally crafted with a 1:1:1 ratio of espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk, the cappuccino offers a distinctive light texture and robust coffee flavor. This article delves into the cappuccino’s rich history, health benefits, and contemporary variations. Dive in and discover everything about this classic coffee!

What Is A Cappuccino?

What Makes a Drink a Cappuccino?

A cappuccino is a beloved coffee beverage crafted with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. Typically, it can be made with either one or two shots of espresso, with the double shot being more prevalent in modern cafes. If you’re looking to make this delightful drink at home, don’t worry—I’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you.

Cappuccino Ratio

Known for its bold coffee flavor, creamy texture, and generous topping of milk foam, the cappuccino is a favorite among coffee enthusiasts. This perfect blend contributes to its status as one of the most popular coffee drinks.

Types of Cappuccinos

There are various cappuccino styles, each differing in the ratio of steamed to frothed milk:

  • Wet Cappuccino: Features a higher proportion of steamed milk.
  • Dry Cappuccino: Contains more milk foam.
  • Bone Dry Cappuccino: Made entirely with milk foam.
  • Iced Cappuccino: Combines espresso, milk, and cold foam served over ice.

In some contemporary coffee shops, cappuccinos are presented in large cups adorned with latte art, although traditionalists believe this disrupts the classic espresso-to-milk ratio.

What Does a Cappuccino Taste Like?

A cappuccino boasts a more intense coffee flavor than many other espresso-based drinks, heavily influenced by the quality of the coffee beans used. Typically, traditional cappuccinos are made with medium-dark or dark roast specialty coffee blends that offer notes of bittersweet chocolate, toasted nuts, and caramel. When expertly prepared, the slight bitterness of the strong espresso is balanced by the naturally sweet, creamy milk.

In Italy, cappuccinos are considered a breakfast drink, often enjoyed before 11 a.m. and paired with a sweet pastry. Later in the day, Italians prefer macchiatos and espressos.

Where Does Cappuccino Come From?

The origins of the cappuccino trace back to the famous coffee houses of Vienna in the late 18th century, where it was called the Kapuziner, named after the brown robes of local Capuchin friars. The drink journeyed to Italy in the early 1900s, where it was renamed cappuccino.

The modern cappuccino, with its distinctive espresso and frothed milk combination, emerged after the invention of the espresso machine and steam wand in the early 20th century. Its popularity surged post-WWII, spreading from Italy to the rest of the world.

Cappuccino vs. Latte

Cappuccinos and lattes are iconic coffee shop staples, both composed of coffee and milk but differing in the type and amount of milk used.


A caffè latte consists of a higher ratio of milk to espresso, hence its name, which means “milk” in Italian. It primarily contains microfoam steamed milk, topped with a thin layer of milk foam, giving it a mild coffee flavor and smooth texture.


Conversely, a cappuccino has less milk, resulting in a stronger espresso flavor. It is made with equal parts steamed milk and frothed milk, topped with a thick layer of foam, providing a lighter, airier texture.

Is a Cappuccino Healthy?

A cappuccino is a healthier choice at the café, especially when compared to sugary modern drinks like the frappuccino. A traditional cappuccino made with a double shot of espresso and 4 ounces of whole milk contains approximately 80 calories, including 4 grams of fat, 6 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

Health Benefits

  • Caffeine and Antioxidants: Coffee is rich in caffeine and antioxidants, which can boost energy, enhance alertness, improve athletic performance, and help prevent cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
  • Nutritional Value of Milk: Milk is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, provides excellent protein, and is high in calcium. Adding milk to coffee can also reduce its acidity and mitigate the effects of caffeine, helping to avoid jitters.

With no added sugars, a cappuccino relies on the natural sweetness of steamed milk, making it an excellent option for those looking to limit sugar intake.

How Strong is a Cappuccino?

A single shot of espresso in a cappuccino contains approximately 40 to 60 mg of caffeine, depending on the type of coffee used. This amount doubles to 80 to 120 mg of caffeine when two shots are used.

The Verdict

What is a cappuccino? It’s one of the most beloved coffee beverages worldwide. Featuring frothed milk, steamed milk, and espresso, a well-crafted cappuccino offers a perfect balance between bold espresso, creamy steamed milk, and airy milk foam. It’s a treat for the taste buds that you won’t want to miss!