So my friend just started at a new coffee shop in Milwaukee. Previously we have both been trained at Alterra and were puzzled when the trainer at the new shop said the way they make cappuccino's there is holding back the liquid milk and then scooping all the froth on top!?!?!?! We have always been taught you need to steam properly to get even foam and make sure your pour consistently layers the drink having 1/2 to 3/4 froth in the cappuccino.

I realize coffee shops do things differently but I have never heard of "proper" cappuccino's being made this way. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I just don't think they look or taste like they should when you just "plop" froth on top. Not only that, they did not fix their machine's steam wands, they simply don't use the side that is clogged.

Also, what do you say without seeming pompous?

Comments, tips, help?

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Dude two things you sholud know...
5 - 6oz. at most
Directly Porportional (1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk, 1/3 foam)

Anything above this size technically isn't a cappuccino.
I really do not favor the method of having my frothed milk dalloped on to of my cappuccino like sour cream. I do however realize that my preferences dont always match that of others. If I walk into a shop and they handed me a cappuccino that way I would most certainly give it a try at first. However I would kindly ask if they could make me a cappuccino without dalloping the froth but instead by stretching the milk with the steam wand and letting the froth from the pour be all that went on top.

I also like my cappuccinos what I call extra dry, but when I ask for this I dont mean that I want milk so stiff I could eat it, what I want is for the milk to be strectched much further than normal so that it is very thick and rich when it pours leaving more of a 1:1/2:2 ratio of espresso, steamed milk, and rich velvety froth. The drink when made with a well pulled shot is light and sweet yet a tad bolder.

I really think that the advice about pulling it the customers way first and then describing your way later is a really great idea. However, I am quite bold and would actually offer them a cup made my way the next time they come in the first time I met them. If they end up enjoying it better cool, if not, OK, i'd continue making it their way.

However for the steam wand issue, in my opinion there is no excuse. Seriously unless it is majorly clogged or a very cheap machine, the steam wands are not that hard to dissasemble and clean/unclog them. I dont think it really requires a service call. However, I have heard of sand and such clogging these things on a regular basis due to bad water filters or possibly even a lack thereof. If this is the case it probably would require a service call to install a water filtration system (IMHO a NECESSITY in any coffee shop).
Meredith,
I have enjoyed cappuccinos in foreign countries, coast to coast in the U.S. and in Italy. Even though I like equal parts of coffee, milk and foam - you rarely get one this way in Italy. They contain 1 (short 1oz) shot of espresso, and a 200 ml (6.75oz) cup will then be filled with milk and foam. I have enjoyed poured cappuccinos there and monks head cappuccinos, which has a pile of foam on top with a brown ring of coffee around the edge. If the foam has not been burnt, it is sweet and picks up the coffee flavor and I enjoy eating it with a spoon.

Now, at times I have a few (I haven’t broken yet) 6 oz clear glass cappuccino cups and enjoy watching the coffee creama form directly into the class cup while I am finishing the milk steaming and stretching. I instantly pour and watch the combination work as it is poured on top of the coffee creama as mentioned by Charlie DeVico. Even then I like some foam on top. I have even reversed the procedure and put the frothy milk in the clear glasses first and then poured the double shot on top and this gives a different mix to watch.

Most of the drinkers I serve like their cappuccinos and lattes differently from each other and from what I like. I try to remember what they like and fix them to suit them, not me. This was the golden rule when I was trained.

If the wand is dirty, is this a reflection on the cleaning of the portafilters, dispersion screen and group head?
I'm not really sure how they clean the rest of the machine, but now I'm curious...

I've wanted to go to the shop before to try it out but now I'm afraid that they don't clean the rest of the machine and that the espresso won't taste like it should...hope that doesn't sound to snobby and I know I shouldn't judge before I know but I think the dirty steam wand speaks for itself.
A perfect capp to me is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk, 1/3 foam. The ideal situation is two ounces of each, resulting in a 6oz beverage.
It is interesting reading the posts left here, as with different countries cappuccinos are made so differently. I am from new zealand and i have never heard of such a thing as a 'wet' or 'dry' cappa before. But i know what a correct cappa is in italy is completely different than what you would expect here. Apart from how the customer wants/expects the drink to be... i think to define what a drink should be like you just look straight to those at the top of the game...i mean -do you see most competitors at the WBC using a spoon to put chunky chunky foam on the top of a cappa or do you see them pour the milk with fluidity?
So if you're a traditionalist go for gold with the ways of italy, if not check out some of the vid's and stuff from the WBC, they're great to watch and learn from.
seconded. if anybody tells you freepouring a cappuccino is bad, refer them to this year's championship videos on www.worldbaristachampionship.com.

one thing i did notice when i attended this year's finals was that the baristi only used a single shot for their cappuccinos (so 1 oz. in a 5-7 oz. drink) which isn't strictly the italian standard. the WBC uses 2cm of froth (i think they recently changed it to 1cm but they should be back now) as the standard for a cappuccino.

if they use a spatula or spoon, run!

Lauren Nicholls said:
It is interesting reading the posts left here, as with different countries cappuccinos are made so differently. I am from new zealand and i have never heard of such a thing as a 'wet' or 'dry' cappa before. But i know what a correct cappa is in italy is completely different than what you would expect here. Apart from how the customer wants/expects the drink to be... i think to define what a drink should be like you just look straight to those at the top of the game...i mean -do you see most competitors at the WBC using a spoon to put chunky chunky foam on the top of a cappa or do you see them pour the milk with fluidity?
So if you're a traditionalist go for gold with the ways of italy, if not check out some of the vid's and stuff from the WBC, they're great to watch and learn from.
If he's a good boss, he will listen to the employees. Otherwise, you smile and make them the boss' way.
it doesnt matter what you say when it comes to coffe and unfortunately what this "trainer" has said and done is completely wrong, also a tip is that you should not stick to the italian method of making coffees (its out-dated) and what you should instead do is that when you foam your milk, instead of holding the handle you hold onto the actual jug itself by doing so you will know when the correct time is to switch the steamer off (when it starts burning your hand). by doing this you will make sure that not only is the coffee is at the correct temperature you will be insuring that the foam and milk will be bonded together thus having an even consistency. to increse this you rotate the jug and this will fold the foam into the milk, you will know when you've done enough when the jug seems to be getting heavier, also try avoid separating the foam and milk at all costs by not rotating the jug properly.

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