What is a Cappuccino?

Depending on what country you come from this can either be a famous drink or one you have never heard of. Across South Africa, the cappuccino serves to be the most famous beverage served.

A Cappuccino originating in Italy is an espresso-based coffee drink that is prepared with milk steamed foam. This is a drink that consists of 1/3 of espresso and 1/3 milk and 1/3 of frothed milk, better known as foam in the coffee industry.

How this beverage is prepared will separate this from the Caffe Latte.  It is interesting to note that 84% of South African coffee drinkers prefer milk-based products. Thus, the cappuccino is the most common coffee beverage served in South Africa.

Milk – What is a Cappuccino?

For a well-made Cappuccino, use fresh whole milk (fat content 3.3 -4%, protein 3.2-3.3% stored at 5 degrees centigrade or lower). Milk has to be heated carefully without overheating it or injecting excess air into the milk pitcher. Dry steam from the espresso machine wand is necessary to make thick, full-bodied froth. Cappuccinos can be prepared using a variety of milk, namely: Almond milk, Oat milk, Skim milk, Low-fat milk and Soya milk.


The temperature of the espresso coffee in the Cappuccino cup should be approximately 75 degrees centigrade. This will maintain the crema on the surface and protect the aromatic components of the beverage. Cappuccinos are prepared with milk at the proper temperature (65-70 degrees centigrade) and froth with a smooth texture, is enjoyable, slightly sweet and has a velvety mouthfeel that enhances the quality of the beverage.


What is Emulsion? Emulsion takes place when a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible (unmixable or unblendable) are mixed together. Emulsion occurs in two stages: during the first stage, the milk is “whipped” or “stretched’, to incorporate bubbles of air. The next stage is when the real emulsion occurs, which involves submerging the steam wand into the milk and holding it near the outer edge of the steaming pitcher and creating a whirlpool effect that reduces the size of the bubbles. As this occurs the milk froth acquires its catacaustic velvety texture and translucent appearance.

Origin – What is a Cappuccino?

A Cappuccino originating in Italy is an espresso-based coffee drink that is prepared with milk steamed foam. The term used in the hospitality industry is microfoam.

There are many ways to drink a cappuccino, variations include the use of cream instead of milk and flavouring with cinnamon or chocolate powder. This specific drink is smaller in volume than a caffè latte, with a thicker layer of micro-foam.

The specific name of the cappuccino comes from the Capuchin friars or priests, referring to the colour of their habits. In this context, the colour of the beverage changes as soon milk is added to the small portion of espresso (dark brewed coffee). The physical appearance of the cappuccino today with espresso-based crema and steam milk is a result of a long evolution of the drink.

Do’s and Don’ts – What is a Cappuccino?

Above, a Cappuccino is prepared in the correct way: below two Cappuccinos are prepared in the wrong way.

NB: It is important to always keep the steam nozzle clean in order to allow proper and full steam flow. This will also preserve the life span of the coffee machine.

Additional Information

The cappuccino is a drink that is made from hot milk, espresso coffee and steamed milk foam. The microfoam forms a thick layer near the top of the drink. The best way to serve this beverage would be in cups that vary from 150ml to 180ml, having a handle. Because of the milk, the beverage has a rich texture and flavour. This drink can bring out the taste of the coffee “roast”. This beverage needs a skilled barista to prepare as the drink can be spoiled by either a bitter espresso shot, burnt milk or getting the ratio of milk – espresso –milk foam wrong. This drink is widespread throughout South Africa and would be the most famous coffee beverage in the southern hemisphere.

Nutritional value

The serving size of 23 grams(200ml) of cappuccino contains about 100 calories, 19 grams of carbs, 3 grams of total fat and 13 grams of sugar (if you add extra sugar to the beverage), 0,36mg of iron and 95mg of sodium.

The cappuccino adds several health benefits namely…

  1. Prevent heart ailments
  2. Lowers stroke
  3. Prevent type 2 diabetes
  4. Prevents Alzheimer’s
  5. Reduce gallstones
  6. Assist digestion
  7. Lowers cancer
  8. Burn fat
  9. Teeth health
  10. Prevent headache

Found this article interesting? Leave us your thoughts below.

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9 Responses

  1. Deshan Thaver says:

    Wow this is so helpful dude. i’ve been making cappuccinos wrong all this time you’re really a lifesaver thanks so much

  2. Gordan Harding says:

    Great post. I learnt so much thanks!

  3. Jacques Boonzaaier says:

    Nice article.
    A coffee a day keeps the doctor away 😉

  4. Chad DIckens says:

    This is really interesting. I didn’t realise the intricacy of making coffee. Really opened my eyes to the world of coffee. Well done to whoever wrote this article 🙂

  5. Coffee Mcghee says:

    Very informative, who knew coffee making was such an in-depth art

  6. Alphonso says:

    Awesome article.

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