attended the Seattle Coffeefest for the the first time ever (loved it!) and learned A LOT.. but would like someone to set things straight about making a cappuccino because i had a semi-argument with my co-manager about what the "standard" procedure should be for making a capp (for training purposes). AAARGH! we were taught the wet & dry.. and i've had customers try the new (proper) way for making the wet capp as we were taught, and i've found that my customers love it. but my co-manager is insisting that his understanding is that there are 3 types of capps.. a "regular" way, and the wet & dry being the extremes. HEEEEELP! he's driving me crazy! i just want things to be simple, and not give customers THREE DIFFERENT OPTIONS!

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I've always been a big fan of this approach:
dbl shot (ristretto) in the bottom of the cup.
take your milk, and while steaming it, you roughly double it in volume.
pour that milk into another pitcher, thereby mixing the foam and the milk a bit more.
pour and enjoy.
Nice little monks head, its easy to pour because the milk/foam isn't fully seperated yet, and by the time the customer gets the drink, it will start/be seperated to a degree. beautiful 6 oz capps.
My personal opinion; Before the "invention" of the Latte, Italians had basically three espresso options. spro, cap or machiatto. I have no fact to back up the following claims, just my opinion, but I feel like the bar and the barista made their own determination as to their traditional cappaccino. The one down the street perhaps dolluped on the foam and made their cap stand 2ft tall where the one in town square, perhaps made theirs wet like a prom date. I feel that if its your establishment its your call to determine your own style of cappaccino. Asking too many questions is never good. Just decide on your traditional cap and make em the best you can. Then after the guests have had a chance to try it they can say if they prefer it wetter or dryer to their taste.
I too think your goal of keeping things simple is a good one. Agree on a standard capp and offer it. The ones that want something different will ask.

Personally, when I walk into your store for the first time, I want to know what you think a capp is. For me, this is part of a store's identity.

The "wet or dry" is a no-win question to me... if I say dry, I get a scoop of useless foam. If I say wet, half the time I get a latte. If I say "just make me a regular cappuccino, please" they assume I don't know what I want.... argghhhh! "Nevermind, just make me a macchiato (oh no, now you've done it!)."

What is the "regular" way your co-manager is referring to?

My regular is a normal double, freepoured with microfoamed doubled milk (like Benza, only without the 2nd pitcher) in a 9oz mug. I know its supposed to be a single in a 5oz, but like to provide a slightly larger drink with the same balance.

Good luck, by the way.
For me, there is only one way of making a standard cappuccino: 1/3 espresso, 1/3 warm milk and 1/3 microfoam. Since an espresso is 1 oz, this totals to 3 oz and nothing more. Anything larger is either a double cappuccino (double everything) or some form of latte (more milk), either cafe latte or latte macchiato.
I 2 prefer the 1/3 1/3 1/3 Method you can never go wrong with that, however if I want a dry capp wouldn't that really be a mach?depending on the presentation... and if it's wet how wet does it have to be to be considered a latte??...hahahaha .I LOVE COFFEE!!!!!! Oh yeah back to you question about the Capp..It's really whatever the Cu$tomer want$..Tell That 2 The Manager....If you have problems call me and my PAN.. ;-)....Right Brady???
I hear you Selina! It is not an easy task. I would say that you are in an interesting situation because your co-manager is used to one way and you are evolving. Neither is wrong but growth is important especially in regards to keeping things simple.
I would love to share with you what I have taught as a barista trainer. I don't know what you learned at coffee fest but I do teach, and this was probably similar;
If a customer orders an in house small 4-6 oz cappuccino that is really the only time it can be a close to a proportioned drink of espresso, milk and silky foam. It is really up to the barista to look for the body language or facial expressions that we so often do in order to customize the beverage for him or her. This is the crucial point where you can retain their business for years if you make them feel individual, special and worth your time- If I notice any of the warning signs I will politely ask, how was it? Only once in all my coffee-dom has someone wanted me to change the recipe and her reply was "great beverage, I like mine a little dryer." Her name is Jen and she is still my customer today.
In my lifetime of making coffee and specifically before the I was trained in the specialty coffee industry I always steamed cap foam big, loud and gross. When I entered the specialty coffee workforce nine years ago I really took a step back and learned before I went forward. The proportioned drink that I was building was confusing, if the customer ordered a 20 oz beverage the engineering of the drink just did not come together. Very rarely you get a 5-6 shot beverage with specific instructions on 6 oz of foam and 6-8 more of milk...you know?
So I learned the art of translation, to make a long story short. We prepare all our drinks the same way, silky-with tiny bubbles more then likely no more then 150 degrees (unless requested) and latte art to top. this is for all beverages in house or to go and the final texture of the milk is like heavy cream. Just the right density for the crema. Of course the customer can order it another way and sometimes they do. So when I here back to back orders of 16 cap, or 16 oz. latte- I am making the same drink. I have found when I give my customers the options - dry, wet, no foam that it gets confusing. In fact I get more confusion and frustrated responses on that then just serving one standard beverage. Beverages should always be executed with the up most care and precision for this equation to work in your benefit. Quality and Consistency between beverages and also from barista to barista is very big key to success.

hope this helps, sorry its so long
A dry cappuccino shouldn't exists imho... A good drink for those who order this would be a caffe (or espresso) macchiato. However, this would not go over 2 oz....

If you guys make this super-size drinks (6 oz and up), how many espresso shots do you put in?? I think this would be 3, 4 or even more. Otherwise there is no taste of coffee in there.
I put a doppio in every drink, and for the most part I sell more 8 & 12 oz beverages to go and in house drinks are typically 6-8 oz. Never really get a lot of locals requesting 16 oz beverages. That cup is for the tourists. Believe me too, they want a 20 oz but we are not going that route.

Arno Kamphuis said:
A dry cappuccino shouldn't exists imho... A good drink for those who order this would be a caffe (or espresso) macchiato. However, this would not go over 2 oz....

If you guys make this super-size drinks (6 oz and up), how many espresso shots do you put in?? I think this would be 3, 4 or even more. Otherwise there is no taste of coffee in there.
Arno Kamphuis said:
If you guys make this super-size drinks (6 oz and up), how many espresso shots do you put in?? I think this would be 3, 4 or even more. Otherwise there is no taste of coffee in there.

Arno, not sure I understand. You do a 3oz single capp. Cool. But if you're ok doubling that with the same 1:1:1 proportions, wouldn't that be a 6oz double capp?


I guess our 9oz double capp falls somewhere between the 1:1:1 and the 5:1 approaches. It works for us and our customers. I'm amused by the idea that this is a "supersized" drink.

This is why independent shops are so great... each shop is free to tweak recipes as they see fit to express the "balance" that is a great cappuccino.
wow. lots of information here.. thanks to ALL OF YOU for all of your opinions! two existing problems at the cafe are 1) customers aren't very educated about coffee (we're based in LA, and up until last year, before we started doing more research on espresso, etc., they've been taking our very bitter, OVER EXTRACTED espresso shots!); and 2) our sizes have always been 12, 16, and 20 oz (s,m,l)! Believe me, we've seen the error of our ways and have been making big efforts to improve on everything.. but some things aren't that easy to change, our customers have been very sensitive to the small changes/improvements we have already made.

back to the cappuccino -- soon as i got back from seattle, i tried the 1/3 1/3 1/3 method with one of my regular cappuccino customers, and told him to let me know what he thought. he came back after his drink and thought it was amazing. THIS MAKES ME HAPPY. and i understand that most people do want more milk in there, and this is why i feel that this should be the standard at the cafe. of course i make it a point to ask (in case they want it dry). note tho, that this way, the cup is still very light -- and that's why i feel like it's perfect this way. the other manager, on the other hand feels that the regular capp is one way (i still do not understand his point), then the wet would be more of an extra foamy latte, and the dry -- dry.

but im putting that aside. i can't say how many times i heard this in seattle, which is one (of the many) things i love about this industry, and the people in it. we were told so many times in many of the seminars we took, that technically, there is no right/wrong -- it's about what we think is good. it's all about taste and preference.
Selina said:
i understand that most people do want more milk in there, and this is why i feel that this should be the standard at the cafe. of course i make it a point to ask (in case they want it dry). note tho, that this way, the cup is still very light -- and that's why i feel like it's perfect this way. the other manager, on the other hand feels that the regular capp is one way (i still do not understand his point), then the wet would be more of an extra foamy latte, and the dry -- dry.

Perhaps you could clarify (perhaps I just missed it)... what is your "regular cappuccino"?
well, prior to the coffeefest, the way we were making them was basically like making a latte.. except of course more foam -- the whole thing (texturized milk) would go on top of the espresso. since coffeefest, we've been doing the 1/3 1/3 1/3 method.

Brady said:
Selina said:
i understand that most people do want more milk in there, and this is why i feel that this should be the standard at the cafe. of course i make it a point to ask (in case they want it dry). note tho, that this way, the cup is still very light -- and that's why i feel like it's perfect this way. the other manager, on the other hand feels that the regular capp is one way (i still do not understand his point), then the wet would be more of an extra foamy latte, and the dry -- dry.

Perhaps you could clarify (perhaps I just missed it)... what is your "regular cappuccino"?

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