The other day, after reading yet another "definition of the cappuccino" post out here in electric coffee land, I decided to go looking for pictures of these famous Capuchin monks we all know so well. I've heard a number of different references to their robes (or hats) and the appearance of a cappuccino, and decided that I probably should at least know what these guys look like. Google wasn't much help, and since that's the extent of my research skill these days (ahhh... musty college library stacks, how I miss thee) I figured I'd pose a challenge to the group:

1. Answer this question: What is the relationship between these monks' clothes and our favorite beverage? Is it the color of the robe? the shape of the hat? the combination of colors? the folds of the robes? something else?
AND...
2. Post a photo (or link to a photo) of one of these monks (preferably full-color) that supports your claim. OR, I guess if you've actually met one of these mythical beings and seen the connection firsthand, please describe the garment in detail and be prepared to justify your dereliction of iPhone camera duties.

Not to be an ass, but please only post if you are prepared to respond to both halves of the question. We all know the stories your trainer told you on your first day. Lets see if we can dig deeper than that and learn something together.

(Yeah, pics of this guy don't count...
http://www.women24.com/Woman/Content_Display/E-Cards/DisplayImageBl... )

Views: 1776

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

A good book that has alot of info on coffee history and other things relative is The Devil's Cup by Stewart Lee Allen. This may help but if anything it's a really good read.
Alex C. McGregor said:
"Again, I've yet to see a picture or authoritative description of a brown and white Capuchin cowl... which makes me wonder how accurate this is." - Brady

What about the first picture in the upper left of the first post response by Carter?

http://www.carmelitehermits.org/Seasons/Winter%2009.htm

Seems pretty darn similar to me. And similar to the capuchin monkey. In descriptions that I've been reading on these links the monks go all the way back to the 1100's, have established themselves all around the world and were/are usually found trying to be near nature for a peaceful, natural environment to further their studies and prayers. It's just a hunch, but the capuchin monkey is able to acclimate itself to most weather conditions and is native to Latin America. It could have been brought to Europe via the Brazil - W. Europe trade route into Spain or perhaps the right opposite in that the monks went to Latin America and returned with the concept. I'm willing to bet that someone influential among the capuchin monks had a fondness for the little critters. I think the tie is there, but I can't find proof. I'm trying to find out which came first, the Capuchin Monkey in Europe or these Monks in Latin America.

I'm way stoked to see where this thread leads.

P.S. Anyone else having Carmen San Diego flashbacks?

Yeah, I do see a similarity with that pic of those monks, but as Carter pointed out as well, they are Camaldolese monks, not Capucin. They adopted the hood, but all the pics I've seen of Capucins have had dark brown hood. I do think that is the closest we've seen so far in that discussion.

The monks had the name before the monkey. Again, from Wikipedia:
"The word capuchin derives from a group of friars named the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, an offshoot from the Franciscans, who wore brown robes with large hoods covering their heads. When explorers reached the Americas in the 15th century they found small monkeys who resembled these monks and named them capuchins."

I am starting to think it is the shape of the hood... not the answer I was hoping for, since the practice of crowning our capps with a stiff dollop of milk foam isn't something many of us advocate. But it has been fun so far. Still looking.
"Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?"

This is an amazing thread. Good call Brady.

Alex C. McGregor said:
"Again, I've yet to see a picture or authoritative description of a brown and white Capuchin cowl... which makes me wonder how accurate this is." - Brady

What about the first picture in the upper left of the first post response by Carter?

http://www.carmelitehermits.org/Seasons/Winter%2009.htm

Seems pretty darn similar to me. And similar to the capuchin monkey. In descriptions that I've been reading on these links the monks go all the way back to the 1100's, have established themselves all around the world and were/are usually found trying to be near nature for a peaceful, natural environment to further their studies and prayers. It's just a hunch, but the capuchin monkey is able to acclimate itself to most weather conditions and is native to Latin America. It could have been brought to Europe via the Brazil - W. Europe trade route into Spain or perhaps the right opposite in that the monks went to Latin America and returned with the concept. I'm willing to bet that someone influential among the capuchin monks had a fondness for the little critters. I think the tie is there, but I can't find proof. I'm trying to find out which came first, the Capuchin Monkey in Europe or these Monks in Latin America.

I'm way stoked to see where this thread leads.

P.S. Anyone else having Carmen San Diego flashbacks?
Check this out (again). I understand why they call it after a hood. Most of the time, I go for a full White cap, but most times, I'm not slick enough to pull it off and my Capp comes out looking like a waning gibbous (phase of the moon if I spelled that incorrectly). If oriented another way, that brown foamy crema could just as easily be a hood.
illudereludere said:
Check this out (again). I understand why they call it after a hood. Most of the time, I go for a full White cap, but most times, I'm not slick enough to pull it off and my Capp comes out looking like a waning gibbous (phase of the moon if I spelled that incorrectly). If oriented another way, that brown foamy crema could just as easily be a hood.

Hmmm, that's good. A shape reference at last.

I personally prefer quite a bit of air in my milk for capps... not quite doubling the milk instead of the 20% a spec Italian capp calls for. That's a little more than I can do really clean art with, but I can usually manage an "easy heart".
Reviving this zombie for an addition from another thread. This sounds to me like the most plausible suggestion, and puts together a couple of pieces that others have contributed. Thanks Chris.

Chris said:
Ehm, Cappuchin Monks were given the name because of the Yarmulka like 'caps (same etymology) that they wore. And then they started wearing white ones, so there was a large brown robe topped with a white cap.
And, the traditional and first 'latte art' was a perfect circle of foam nestled in a ring of crema, called a 'Monk's head' pour. Kinda looks like looking down on the top of a Cappuchin Monk. Not unlike the Cappuchin Monkey, who is all brown with a white 'cap'. The cappuccino (little hat) looks like the white monk's cap on top of a brown-robed monk. It ain't rocket surgery...
Anyhoo, that's how the VERY Italian Camera operator from my last film gig explained it to me.

Chris said:
Brady said:
Interesting. Not sure if you read the thread that I linked to just now,.

Yep, and one of your contributors to that thread, Carter said, ”it would mean that the Capuchin monks wore the same hoods as the Camaldolese monks, at least during that time. My Google searches show that many Camaldolese monks wear all white (especially in older paintings)..."
Brown Robes, white caps.
Lot at this Pic of a capuchin Monkey. Sailors called 'em that becasue they looked like the Monks of that order. Brown Robes, white caps.

On the other hand, there are those that suggest that the brown robes are the crema, and the foam is the shaved clerical tonsorial exclamation that the monks are slaves to Christ, following the tradition that Romans had of shaving the heads of their slaves.

It's bound to remain a mystery....

Perhaps a mis-translation of "small white hats" as "small white hoods"... so the name might come from a monk wearing a brown robe with a white skullcap?!

That sure would give the "monks head" design better context.
I always thought it was called a "monks head" because the monks would shave the top of their head, exposing the white flesh, and leave a ring of hair (usually brown) around their temples and forehead.

Kinda like this.


Maybe the term cappuccino was coined by someone who lived near a monastery of Cappuchin monks, and rather than call it a monkino, he called it a cappuccino. Because of their shorn heads.
Alex C. McGregor said:
I'm trying to find out which came first, the Capuchin Monkey in Europe or these Monks in Latin America.


Question one; category, world history for a thousand, Alex.
Who, in the late fifteenth century, with a knowledge of Capuchin Monks, traveled to the Americas?

Question Two; Geography for two thousand, Alex!
Where was this guy from?


Hint: It was an Italian guy, and his birthday is celebrated on a Monday...


Lorenzo Perkins said:
I always thought it was called a "monks head" because the monks would shave the top of their head

Ah, crap. Blame it on Catholic School upbringing...
"the foam is the shaved clerical tonsorial exclamation that the monks are slaves to Christ, following the tradition that Romans had of shaving the heads of their slaves" is basically saying that exact same thing, but in an over-educated, high-falutin', preaching from the pulpit kinda way. Remember that most of my exposure to monks tended to be in very, *very* large and gothic stone structures with reverb for days, where a whisper would skitter around looking for a place to hide for minutes on end. Tends to lead me back to my book-larnin'....
Sorry...
This would be a great addition to that compilation that Brady (I believe) suggested.

Sorry to dredge up a zombie thread, but just read James Hoffmann's cappuccino blog post and he seems to have nailed it:

 

"Around the cappuccino there remains a great deal of myth. One to get out of the way quickly: the name for the drink has nothing to do with the hoods of monk’s robes, nor the bald spot on their head. The original name for the drink was a kapuziner, and it was a Viennese drink was the 19th Century. It was small brewed coffee mixed with milk or cream until it attained the particular shade of brown that matched the colour of the Capuchin monks’ robes. Essentially the name implies the strength of the drink. If you want a genuinely traditional cappuccino then don’t even bother firing up the espresso machine."

 

Thank you, James.

Yeah, that makes sense. Yes, I still follow zombie threads. Say, what does it mean, "Viennese"? Just from Vienna or it is a style? And "brewed" means drip, yes? LOL I bet if I read the blog post I wouldn't need to ask these mundane questions...

Brady said:

Sorry to dredge up a zombie thread, but just read James Hoffmann's cappuccino blog post and he seems to have nailed it:

 

"Around the cappuccino there remains a great deal of myth. One to get out of the way quickly: the name for the drink has nothing to do with the hoods of monk’s robes, nor the bald spot on their head. The original name for the drink was a kapuziner, and it was a Viennese drink was the 19th Century. It was small brewed coffee mixed with milk or cream until it attained the particular shade of brown that matched the colour of the Capuchin monks’ robes. Essentially the name implies the strength of the drink. If you want a genuinely traditional cappuccino then don’t even bother firing up the espresso machine."

 

Thank you, James.

That's how I read it.

 

Maybe not drip, but some other brew method.  It just couldn't have been espresso, which hadn't really been invented in the 19th century!


illudereludere said:

Yeah, that makes sense. Yes, I still follow zombie threads. Say, what does it mean, "Viennese"? Just from Vienna or it is a style? And "brewed" means drip, yes? LOL I bet if I read the blog post I wouldn't need to ask these mundane questions...

Brady said:

Sorry to dredge up a zombie thread, but just read James Hoffmann's cappuccino blog post and he seems to have nailed it:

 

"Around the cappuccino there remains a great deal of myth. One to get out of the way quickly: the name for the drink has nothing to do with the hoods of monk’s robes, nor the bald spot on their head. The original name for the drink was a kapuziner, and it was a Viennese drink was the 19th Century. It was small brewed coffee mixed with milk or cream until it attained the particular shade of brown that matched the colour of the Capuchin monks’ robes. Essentially the name implies the strength of the drink. If you want a genuinely traditional cappuccino then don’t even bother firing up the espresso machine."

 

Thank you, James.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

© 2019   Created by Matt Milletto.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service