A traditional Italian Cappuccino is a stronger beverage than its French cousin the Latte (and slightly weaker than it’s Australian cousin the “Flat White”). A common misconception is that the stretched milk consistency changes between these two beverages, but this is simply incorrect. What defines the Cappuccino is a more concentrated ratio of Espresso to Stretched Milk in comparison to the Latte. Traditional Cappuccinos are served in a double 8oz (190-250 ml.) cup.
Building a quality Cappuccino should be handled with the care and attention to detail that it deserves.
Milk should be “stretched” not steamed. What’s the difference?
Steamed milk is simply aerated milk, you know the sound, you’ve heard it in Restaurants your whole life, it sounds like someone blowing bubbles into a pitcher of milk, this is wrong, wrong, wrong!
Milk must be stretched gently, with the Espresso machine’s steam wand just below the surface of the milk, the natural reaction of the fat in the milk is to expand and sweeten. At around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (starting to feel warm to the touch), this process ceases and stretching beyond this point is futile as it simply adds bubbles with no further purpose. The skilled Barista now “rolls” the milk to ensure the consistency of the steamed milk is the same throughout the steam pitcher and removes any large bubbles. The result is a micro-bubbled stretched milk with almost a “chrome-like” reflection, fit for a cappuccino.
Much emphasis has been placed on “Latte-art”, but really, the emphasis should be on the quality of the milk, because without quality steamed milk, Latte-art is simply not possible.