Last month I was in a local cafe` and ordered a cappuccino. I was the only one in there, and as the barista was steaming my milk she asked me this: Why do you like cappuccinos? I was wondering since, really, a cappuccino is just like a latte only that the milk is frothed. Does the foam even taste like anything?
I put down my purse. This was going to take a while.
This is what I said:
It's like this: you can take four basic ingredients like eggs, butter, salt and pepper. Using those same ingredients, you can make scrambled eggs or fried eggs. Same ingredients, but the results are different.
I was on a roll, so I continued:
Okay, now take James Bond. He orders his martini shaken, but not stirred. Again, same ingredients (gin, vermouth, olive) but with a subtle difference on the preparation (stirred versus shaken) and there you have it: James Bond's beverage of choice.
So, the cafe` latte is espresso and steamed (but not frothed) milk; the cappuccino is all about thirds: 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 frothed milk. Yes, the ingredients are the same, but the proportion, the process, and yes, the preference create the sutbtleties of taste that make each one unique.
Then, because I wanted her to think I was passionate rather than snooty, I smiled like an idiot.
And she laughed as she handed me my cappuccino.