What is a cappuccino?

The menu boards in coffee shops can be overwhelming with a variety of coffee types listed. If you are too shy to ask the barista about the different types of coffee, read our types of coffee  article. If you just want to know “What is a cappuccino?”, you’ve come to the right place.

A cappuccino is an espresso and milk based hot drink. 

A typical cappuccino has a single or double shot of espresso, an equal amount of steamed milk and an equal amount of stiff milky foam on top

So a 1:1:1 ratio of espresso, steamed milk & milk foam.

If you order a coffee in the UK, then it’s also quite traditional for cafes and coffee shops to top a cappuccino with a dusting of chocolate powder.

What is a cappuccino


The place where flavouring syrups come into their own is when they are used with a cappuccino. So a caramel cappuccino, is a yum combination of cappuccino and caramel syrup. 

Caramel cappuccino - what is a cappuccino

Cappuccino flavour

The best way to understand what a cappuccino tastes like is to try one yourself. A well-made cappuccino should give you a sense discovering a sweetish coffee with milk under the foam. The sweetness comes from the sugars in the milk.

If you add sugar, then that further enhances the sweetness. It’s a mild coffee because the milk and foam have worked to take away the strength and intensity of an espresso by itself.

Is there a typical cup for cappuccinos?

There isn’t a set rule on how to serve or make a cappuccino. So what type of cup is used depends on the café and the country you are in. Typically serve a cappuccino in a large ceramic cup and saucer.

History of Cappuccino

An Italian designer created the first commercial espresso machines in 1900. After that, the cappuccino was one of the coffee drinks created in Italy at one of the many cafes that used the new espresso machines and came to serve coffee. For a detailed history of the cappuccino, The Spruce has an interesting article on the origins and history of the cappuccino.