What is a cappuccino, thumbnail

This is What a Cappuccino is [The Ultimate Guide]

Imagine you have never been to a coffee shop before. Inside, you will find a number of yummy drinks on the menu, such as espresso, Americano, affogato, macchiato, frappe and cappuccino. But wait, wait… What is a cappuccino?

Cappuccino is the name of a highly popular coffee drink consisting of coffee and milk.

It is the perfect combination of steamed and frothed milk with espresso in equal ratios.

It is typically served in a 6-oz cup, with a rich layer of foam on top (optionally, you can sprinkle some chocolate or cinnamon as well).

Cappuccino features a perfectly balanced flavor, creamy texture, mild sweetness and low acidity. 

This drink is smoother than espresso and more authentic than a latte.

Cappuccino is a delicious coffee drink for people who would like to add a bit of a twist to their coffee routine.

Here’s everything you need to know about this Italian-style coffee beverage!

What is the Origin of Cappuccino?

The first official cappuccino was made in Italy sometime around the beginning of the last century (in the 1930s), once the popularity of espresso machines spiked.

Initially, cappuccino came served with whipped cream and chocolate on top.

It was named after the light brown color of the cowls Capuchin friars wore – cappuccinos.

However, before that, there was a type of forerunner to cappuccino known as Kaputziner.

This is a famous coffee-based drink hailing from Vienna, Austria (Europe) that’s made with whipped cream and spices.

But it had a quite different taste and texture to cappuccino because the Austrians didn’t know a thing about espresso machines back then.

What the Italians did was simplify the original cappuccino recipe and that’s how the cappuccino that we’re now all familiar with was born.

Meanwhile, the advanced technology of later espresso machines helped to skyrocket the popularity of this drink.

As a result, the cappuccino quickly conquered the hearts of many Italians and their Austrian neighbors.

Sometime after it had already won the hearts of European coffee aficionados, it then became immensely popular in the USA during the 1980s.

Since then, people have been sipping cappuccinos all-day-round, not just in the morning.

The original cappuccino drink even grew bigger in its American guise.

It went from the standard 5 to 6-oz. cups all the way up to massive 16-oz cups.

What is a cappuccino, man pouring steamed milk over espresso
A cappuccino consists of 2 main ingredients – coffee and milk.

What is a Cappucino Made of?

Cappuccino is made of espresso, steamed milk and milk foam.

Baristas usually experiment with the ratio of espresso and other elements, although, ideally, you should mix a third of each.

You can use cream instead of milk if you prefer the traditional version.

Alternatively, you can add an interesting twist to the recipe with the help of syrup or spices to make it more intense.

Is Cappuccino Coffee?

Yes, a cappuccino is a coffee drink that contains espresso – a highly-concentrated type of brewed coffee.

Although its name has nothing to do with coffee, cappuccino is indeed a coffee-based beverage.

And while there are plenty of variations out there, one thing is sure – you can’t make this drink without a shot or two of espresso.

You can use this information to put an end to the debate whether a cappuccino is a coffee or not!

How to Make a Cappuccino at Home?

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • 16 grams of ground espresso coffee
  • 4 ounces of milk (skimmed or almond)
  • Espresso machine
  • Milk pitcher
  • Milk steamer
  • Espresso machine
  • 6-oz cup


  1. Fill the portafilter with ground espresso coffee, place it in the machine and extract 2 shots of espresso
    Note: If you want to go for a milder version of cappuccino, use 8 grams of coffee grounds and extract 1 shot of espresso
  2. In the meantime, pour the milk into the pitcher and steam it at 160 degrees
  3. Move the pitcher in a vertical motion so that the steam heats the milk evenly
  4. Place the tip of the steam wand as close as possible to the surface of the milk to create a rich layer of foam but be careful not to overdo this (you still need some steamed milk)
  5. Pour espresso in the cup and follow up with steamed milk
  6. Pour the milk 3 inches above the cup in circular motions
  7. The froth comes last and you can sprinkle some chocolate on top

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How to Make Cappuccino Without a Coffee Machine?

Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • Instant coffee
  • Sugar
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • Kettle
  • 6-oz. cup


  1. Mix 1 spoon of instant coffee with 1 spoon of sugar and 1 spoon of water
  2. Stir this mixture in a coffee mug until the mix turns light brown (it takes about 5-7 minutes)
  3. Heat the milk on medium to high temperature and wait for bubbles to appear
  4. Once the milk starts rising, take it off and pour more than half of the milk into your cup
  5. Pour the rest of the milk into a jar and start shaking it vigorously for 30 to 60 seconds
  6. Add the milk foam on top of your cappuccino

What is the Difference Between Drip Coffee and Cappuccino?

Cappuccino offers an intense flavor, while drip coffee is a relatively weak coffee beverage.

Drip coffee is also much easier to make than a traditional cappuccino.

Cappuccino features a velvety, frothy texture while drip coffee lacks this intricate creaminess.

You can serve it black or add cream and sugar and consume it anytime throughout the day.

Cappuccino is a milder version of espresso, yet still way stronger than drip coffee.

Steamed milk and milk foam balance out the overwhelming taste of espresso and reduce the overall acidity of the drink.

However, drip coffee generally boasts a higher caffeine content than a cappuccino and provides a better kick.

What is a cappuccino, 3 cups of cappuccino with coffee art on top

How Much Caffeine is in a Cappuccino?

An average 6-oz cup of cappuccino contains about 78mg of caffeine.

However, there are several factors that can affect the caffeine content of cappuccino, such as:

  • The type of beans you use (Arabica, Robusta, or specific subspecies, where they are grown, etc.)
  • The number of grounds used
  • The brewing method

Knowing that espresso contains around 63.6 mg of caffeine per shot (1 oz.), cappuccino can contain anywhere between 60 to 130mg of caffeine per cup.

It all depends on how many shots of espresso are used when preparing the cappuccino.

Is Cappuccino Healthier Than Coffee?

No, if by healthier you mean having fewer calories.

If we take into account black coffee is lower in calories than a cappuccino, then no, cappuccino is not healthier than coffee.

One cup of black coffee has roughly 2 calories per 8-oz cup and near-black coffee (with sugar, milk, or cream) has around 20 calories/cup.

Black coffee has 2 calories per cup (8 oz.), while cappuccino has 110 calories per cup (6 oz.).

Cappuccino, on the other hand, has 110 calories per 6-oz cup.

And adding chocolate, cocoa bits, extra syrup, or coffee will almost double its calorie content!

What is a cappuccino, caffe latte next to a cup of cappuccino
Caffe latte (left) contains much more milk than a cappuccino (right) and it’s served in taller cups.

What is the Difference Between a Latte and a Cappuccino?

The main difference between latte and cappuccino is in the coffee-to-milk ratio.

Other than that, both share the same ingredients – coffee and milk.

To make a great latte, it would be best to add 2 shots of espresso while you can go for either 1 or 2 shots to make a cappuccino.

Caffe latte doesn’t have any foam and it contains much more milk than cappuccino.

Additionally, you need more steamed milk and no froth to make a latte, unlike cappuccino that’s made with milk foam.

Cappucino also offers a slightly more intense taste while latte tastes milkier.

Yet, note that cappuccino is mostly served in 6-oz. cups, while a latte is generally served in much larger 16-oz. cups.

What is the Difference Between Cappuccino and Macchiato?

The main difference is in the base of these two beverages and the order in which you add the ingredients.

When making macchiato:

  1. You add steamed milk first
  2. Then the espresso
  3. The finishing touch is the milk foam that comes on top

When making a cappuccino you start with:

  1. Espresso
  2. Followed by steamed milk
  3. And milk foam is added on top

Also, a cappuccino contains equal parts of espresso, steamed milk and foam while you only add a splash of milk to a macchiato.

Last but not least, both drinks are equally strong in terms of their caffeine kick if equal shots of espresso are used that is.

Flat White vs Cappuccino: What’s the Difference?

Flat whites are fairly light and offer a smooth taste because the milk dilutes the espresso.

Cappuccinos tend to be stronger, while still being perfectly balanced.

Also, note that flat whites come with a thin layer of microfoam.

While the traditional cappuccino is famous for its rich layer of foam.

What is a cappuccino, espresso shot

What is a Double Shot Cappuccino?

The term ‘double shot cappuccino’ stands for a cappuccino that’s made using 2 shots of espresso.

Originally, you only need 1 shot of espresso to make a cappuccino drink.

But you can make it more intense by adding an extra shot i.e. double-shot espresso.

Fun Facts About Cappuccino

Here are 5 fun and very interesting facts about our beloved espresso-based drink:

1. Italians enjoy a cup of cappuccino before or with breakfast.

2. November 8 is celebrated as National Cappuccino Day.

3. The largest cappuccino ever made had a volume of 4,250 liters. More than 30 people participated in the contest that lasted 10 hours.

4. Liza Thomas (from Australia) made 420 cappuccinos in one hour.

5. J J Darboven’s team (from Poland) made 2,231 cappuccinos in one hour.

What is a cappuccino, a making pouring milk into a woman's coffee cup

How Bad is Cappuccino For You?

Cappuccino is not bad for you.

In fact, a cup of a cappuccino can have a positive impact on you by keeping you alert and awake due to the caffeine content.

Not only that, but it has a certain nutritional value due to the added milk.

However, knowing that cappuccino contains calories, fats and proteins, it would be best to stick to 1 cup per day if you’re on a strict diet.

How Do I Order Cappuccino from Starbucks?

If you want your cappuccino with less milk and more foam, order a dry cappuccino.

However, if you want more milk and less foam, ask for a wet one.

Wet cappuccino is sweet, creamy and almost free of any bitter notes, although it still strays away from the traditional version of a cappuccino.

You can order an extra-dry cappuccino that comes with equal parts of espresso and foam but very little milk.

This makes it ideal for those of you who are diet-conscious as it has fewer calories.

What is a cappuccino, 3 cups of dry cappuccino
Bone-dry cappuccino is all about the foam… lots of it!

What is a Bone-Dry Cappuccino?

That’s a cappuccino that comes with little espresso, a lot of foam, and no milk at all.

In fact, it tastes almost like powdery-like milk.

But if you’re a sucker for milk foam, then you’ll totally love the bone-dry cappuccino.


Cappuccino is one of the most popular beverages among coffee lovers.

Actually, it’s one of the most widespread drinks in certain parts of the world like Europe.

Yet, most people only know the name of the drink, its taste… and not much else.

But with the help of our guide, you now have a better grasp of this foamy drink and you should be able to recognize a cappuccino, even when blindfolded.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit far-fetched but you get the idea!

Now – have you ever tried steaming milk at home and if yes, did it go as planned?

Do you like the homemade version of cappuccino better than the one that coffee shops offer?

Leave your answers in the comment section below!

Last update on 2023-03-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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