The Italian Cappuccino: History and More

What’s better than a hot, foamy cappuccino to start the day?

For us, Italian cappuccino is like morning fuel – it’s a necessary way to start the day, and it has to be foamy, creamy and hot. Italians are used to good food, and they are extremely demanding about it. After all, a good cappuccino can make your day and a bad one, on the other hand, may ruin it.

The secret for a perfect cappuccino is the foam, which should come in a rich, creamy and consistent layer. You can ask for some cocoa powder or cinnamon on top.

But what is this cappuccino? Consider that it is based on a regular espresso, milk, and foamed milk. The creamy foam strictly requires whole milk.

The perfect pairing for an authentic Italian breakfast is with a buttery, fragrant brioche. Yes, we know that the correct name for this pastry is “croissant,” but we call it “brioche.” If you want to feel and act like a real local, try to order breakfast standing at the counter and saying:

“Cappuccino e brioche, per favore!”

Usually, we don’t order a cappuccino in the afternoon since it’s considered a breakfast drink. I mean, they’ll serve it to you, but if you want to feel like a local, don’t order it after 11 a.m.

But what’s the origin of this drink? What exactly is the history of Italian cappuccino?

First of all, the name literally means “hood,” or, rather, “small hood,” since it recalls the brown color of the habits used by the Capuchin friars. The original version of this drink appeared for the first time in Wien, where the first cafés were opened in the 18th century and where a Capuchin friar once asked the barman to dilute his coffee with some milk and spices. At that, the first cappuccino was born.

When Austrians conquered the central and northeastern Italian territories, they brought with them their habits, including “Kapuziner,” and it became popular mostly in the area of Trieste.

The cappuccino, as we know it, descends from these first versions, but has some differences. It became popular only from the beginning of the 20th century when the first coffee machines were patented by a brilliant, young Italian mechanic born and raised in Milan: Luigi Bezzera. From then on, it has spread all over the world!

Being proud of our fellow citizen (and being cappuccino addicts as well), we couldn’t resist including this drink in our Food Tour in Milan. The first stop of the tour is a bakery that smells like fresh bread, where we taste cappuccino and a sweet pastry. Come and sip a cappuccino in Milan with us!

We bet that now you’re dying for a cappuccino! 

Learn more about Italian coffee by joining a Fat Tire Tour in Milan, Florence, or Rome!

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