though they’ve become as common and as popular as hamburgers and
French fries, a lot of us really don’t know that much about latte
and cappuccino. Surprisingly, many dedicated coffee drinkers have a
hard time telling the two popular Italian hot beverages apart.
the confusion, such gourmet coffees are fast growing in popularity
throughout the United States. A 2013 survey by the National Coffee
Association USA discovered that 31% of coffee drinkers now consume
gourmet varieties on a regular basis. The same survey found that the
percentage of people that drink traditional American-style coffee has
fallen from 56% to 49% in the past few years.
what is the difference between a cappuccino and a latte anyway, and
what makes these sweet caffeinated drinks so popular? After all, both
drinks are of Italian origin, and both are prepared with steamed or
textured milk. The truth is that the differences are greater than
that, beginning with their origins.
The Different Origins of Latte and Cappuccino
Latte is actually an English word that is a shortened version of the Italian words caffe latte or caffelatte, which mean “milk coffee.” Milk coffee has been consumed in Italy for centuries, but what we think of as lattes are a modern invention.
The American latte may have been invented in Berkley, California, in the 1950s by restaurant owner Lino Meiorin. The public began to notice the drink in Seattle in the 1980s when the modern coffee shop craze began. Today lattes have become a fixture of American life largely due to the phenomenal success of Starbucks.
The latte usually served in the United States is a mixture of steamed milk and espresso coffee. The Italian version is merely a mixture of hot milk and coffee prepared at home. In America, lattes are usually a coffee house drink, but in Italy they are drank at home, usually with breakfast.
Cappuccino actually originated in Austria in the early 19thcentury, where it was called Kapuziner, which meant a coffee drink that contained coffee, cream, spices, and sugar. Cappuccino is simply the Italian term for Kapuziner, so the idea that the drink was named after the capuchin monks is not true.
What we think of as the cappuccino originated in Milan in 1901 when Luigi Bezzera invented the expresso machine, which soon became standard equipment in Europe’s cafes. The modern cappuccino evolved from a mixture of steamed milk and coffee that appeared in Northern Italy in the late 1930s.
Cappuccinos became popular in Italy after World War II when the age of crema (cream), which was ushered in by the introduction of new coffee makers, began and expresso bars became part of the landscape. The age of crema reached America in the 1980s with the popularity of chain coffee shops such as Starbucks.