Well since Im at work right now I am going to be quick. As a barista do you pour your cappuccino's or do you scoop? My boss had say to me that pouring isn't the proper way. I've been pulling shots for over a year and a half, and I've taught myself when I have enough foam to pour. I would tell my new barista's that they should scoop while learing
But I have seen great barista's in bigger cities pour. And if yes to the pouring, is it harder to pour art with the dence foam?
I pour, but have scooped in the past. We call those the bad old days...
What you do at work will depend on what your shop's cappuccino is like. If it is basically a latte crowned with a huge dollop of useless dry foam, that's kinda hard to do without scooping.
To me, a good capp is made with fully-incorporated wet foam - milk that's had as much air as I can get in and still end up with a velevety microfoam texture. Unless I screw up, everything in the pitcher ends up in the cup. The result is a drink that starts out as a uniform mixture of espresso, milk, and smooth foam, then slowly separates out into 2 parts as the customer drinks it. When they've finished the capp, there is nothing left in the cup except perhaps a small foam ring or two.
There is certainly some discussion on the subject of "what is a cappuccino" though (is that an understatement?), and I suspect we'll end up there yet again, so take the previous paragraph for what it is.
The question I have is, if you scoop, is there milk in the pitcher when you've finished? If there's not then your scooping was pointless. If there is then you are wasting milk, since you do dump your leftover milk, right? If your shop reuses it, I think there are bigger problems than scooping a cappuccino...
This is all kinda academic for you though - to miKe's point, your boss's way is probably a good way to do things in his shop, for practical reasons.
I agree with everyone, that it depends on your shop's version of a capp. However, from what I've been trained on, and now train my baristas, pouring, mixing the foam evenly with the espresso is truly the best way. See Brady's comment.
The ONLY time I scoop, is for those customers who want a dry capp. Just espresso, with foam on top.
If you´re not confident anough, you can also try a spatula. You first swirl the hot milk, you know... then you pour 2/3 holding the froth back with the spatula, then you swirl the milk again, and finally you pour it. That´s Gloria Jeans way for new baristas. For more experienced, they are allowed to pour.
Maybe, if you believe you´re good enough to pour, you can talk your boss into stopping using the scoop, showing him the difference beetwen both ways...
I train my baristas to steam milk for capps different than they steam for lattes, similar to how Brady described adding "as much steam as I can" before reaching the desired temp while still maintaining a wet-velvety composition of milk and foam. While new baristas are training, they are trained to "shovel" the foam/milk mixture so they get accustomed to the correct portioning/weight of a capp vs. a latte. Once a barista is comfortable with the proper portioning of a capp, they can kick the shoveling technique and free pour.
This capp debate rings true even here in Asia, where most cafes hold back the foam with spoon or spatula and eventually adding the foam on top. What you get is a dry capp as most people call it or how the Italians do it I guess (not very tasty I might add). Yes, your capps should have foam incorporated within the milk and should be free poured (when steamed properly, results in a sweet cup!). Has your boss tried/tasted the difference between these two?
I HAVE LEARNED TO POUR ART THROUGH THE YEARS AND I HAVE REALIZED THAT YOU DON'T REALLY WANT FOAM, YOU WANT SILKY MICRO BUBBLES. I FROTH PROBABLY TWICE AND THEN SWIRL THE FOAM IN TO THE THE MILK THAT'S BEING STEAMED. I POUR VERY SLOWLY AT FIRST, THEN I POUR DIRECTLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CUP FASTER AND WHEN THE SILK COMES UP, THEN YOU CAN DO POUR ART. I HOPED THAT HELPED!
I pour, but if someone just wants the really thick froth on the top, I mean, really thick, I spoon it just to make sure I get it just the way they want. Pouring it is perfectly acceptable, and most desirable.
If you scoop and don't pour, then you end up with a cup of foam with some coffee at the bottom. If you pour correctly you will bring the espresso up to the top of the cup with the foam. If you're good you can even pour a heart. The best cappuccinos I've seen/tasted look like lattes at first glance. The foam is not supposed to be like cotton candy. It should be smooth and light. Some folks however, for whatever reason, like their caps "extra dry".
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