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Word for Wednesday: Cappuccino

Friday is National Cappuccino Day. Every year, on November 8th, people join to celebrate the creamy drink they love so much. After all, what’s better on a cold November morning that a hot cup of coffee to help you warm up? 

A cappuccino is equal parts of espresso and hot milk. Sometimes the drink might be topped with cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate, or whipped cream. Although versions of coffee and milk have been enjoyed since the 1700s, the cappuccino as we know it became widespread after the second world war as espresso machines became more common. 

The drink – first called 'Kapuziner' – comes from Viennese coffee houses where it was sold alongside with another milky coffee drink called 'Franziskaner' (similar to the modern latte). 'Kapuziner' was named after Capuchin monks and 'Franziskaner' after Franciscan monks. 

In Italian cappuccino is the diminutive of ‘cappuccio’ meaning ‘hood’ (from the Latin ‘caputium’ – where we also get the word ‘cap’ from). While you might think the name comes from the ‘hood’ of foamed milk that tops the drink, it’s actually a reference to colour. The red-brown shade that comes from adding milk to dark coffee supposedly resembles the red-brown of the hooded robes worn by Capuchin monks and nuns. The milkier 'Franziskaner' better matched the lighter brown robes worn by monks of the Franciscan order. 

Will you be celebrating National Cappuccino Day? Meet friends for a drink at your favourite coffee shop, or experiment with different cappuccino recipes at home. Maybe you could host a cappuccino-themed party. Learn more about different types of coffee-based drinks and where they get their names from here.

06 Nov 2019
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