If you feel that distinct spongy, creamy mouth-feel is just enough to balance the bitter taste of espresso shots, you probably want to know what makes a cappuccino different from other milk and coffee blends. In all honesty, other milk-based coffee mixes didn’t get as much attention as cappuccino.
The thought of it getting served cold and having the same punch on your mouth, you know it, is just heaven. So before we go through the steps of making an iced cappuccino, let’s get to the basics so we can do things right.
What is a Cappuccino?
A cappuccino is a coffee mixture of either one or two espresso shots and steamed milk. The original Italian blend has three equal parts of espresso shots, steamed milk, and frothed milk.
It comes in three layers, so you do not stir it, unlike what you do with a latte. You need quite impressive skills to get this done perfectly, so you’ll probably not get it right the first time. However, practice makes perfect.
Where Did It Come From?
It all started way back in the 1700s when Viennese coffee houses started adding the cappuccino to their menus. They referred to the coffee mix as Kapuziner, a vestment shade worn by Capuchin monks.
Early writings would describe it as “coffee with cream and sugar.” Even if it sounds like the modern creamed coffee we know today, the original Italian cappuccino has far different tastes.
The Cappuccino Ratio
So to get you an idea of how much espresso shots, steamed milk, and frothed milk you need, remember that you need equal parts from each. The mix should be one part espresso shots, one part steamed milk, and one part frothed milk.
You’ll see three layers of these ingredients on your cappuccino. And to make it short, the ratio should be 1:1:1.
The microfoam is that one fine bubbly layer you see on most advertisements. If you have been going to coffee shops, you know it’s the air-pressurized steam milk that comes from the steam wand nozzle put atop and commonly known as latte art. And if you’re the average coffee drinker, you know it’s the flowery foamy patterns that baristas would leave on your coffee cup.
Baristas need a handful of quick frothing skills and creativity when making a cappuccino or any milk-based coffee blends.
Iced Cappuccino vs. Iced Latte
By looking at the servings of cappuccino and latte, you’ll probably say they’re the same. However, cappuccino differs in taste. You’d taste a cappuccino’s espresso base stronger than a latte.
Why? Latte has more milk than a cappuccino. A latte would have the same espresso shots as the cappuccino, but the milk would fill three parts of the cup for the latte and have a very thin layer of microfoam. If you recall, a cappuccino has a 1:1:1 ratio.
Of being served cold, iced latte and iced cappuccino would have the same preparation mentioned above. But this time, the poured milk can be cold or the mix would have added ice. It depends on the coffee shop.
Either way, an iced coffee would have thicker foam and a stronger espresso base. An iced latte would have thinner foam and more milk.
Use whole milk to get the most out of the two, especially for the latte. Latte should have a creamier taste than a cappuccino.
Let’s get down to other espresso shot-based coffee drinks that you might get confused with a cappuccino.
If you prefer a stronger espresso but with less fat and sweet taste, go for a macchiato. Macchiato has shorter milk than a cappuccino. It also has shorter milk than a cortado, which means that macchiato has the strongest espresso-based coffee beverages. It has a small amount of foam on top.
The role of milk in this beverage is to make moderation with a small touch of sweetness.
Cortado goes in between a macchiato and cappuccino when it comes to milk content. It’s shorter than a cappuccino but has more milk than a macchiato. It has the thinnest foam and almost none. It originated from Spain.
If you’re the type who likes the strong taste of espresso but intends to lower the acidity and strength of espresso, go for a cortado.
Flat white can be compared to cortado when it comes to espresso shots and milk content. However, a flat white has more microfoam than a cortado and has servings much closer to a latte.
But if you compare it to cappuccino, the milk is shorter and the foam is smoother and sweet.
How to Make Iced Cappuccino: Step-by-Step
So now you know the difference between a cappuccino and other espresso-based coffee drinks, you should know how to make an iced cappuccino.
What you need here are coffee beans, whole milk, a coffee bean grinder, an espresso maker with a steam wand, a mixing glass or ice shaker, and about six to eight ice cubes. Remember to do things carefully and quickly because you don’t want the espresso shots and microfoam bubbles to sit on for long.
- Grind some coffee beans on the grinder and take about one tablespoon of ground coffee.
- Put one tablespoon of ground coffee into the portafilter. The portafilter has a cupped handle. It’s where you place ground coffee on espresso machines.
- Put the portafilter back and place the mixing glass or cup under the nozzle.
- Turn the machine on and set it to two espresso shots.
- As soon as you find the espresso shots on the mixing glass, put the ice cubes. You need six to eight ice cubes for this.
- Stir the ice cubes with espresso shots. If you have an ice shaker, you can also use it.
- Strain the cold mixture into the serving glass. Leave the ice cubes on the glass and save them for later.
- Pour cold milk into the glass. It should be the same amount with espresso, about three to four ounces.
- For the frothed milk, make sure to purge excess water on the steam wand’s tips.
- Place the tip at least ½ inch from the milk’s surface.
- Open the valve and make sure that it draws air from the milk’s surface. So keep the tip ½ inch on the milk surface.
- It can be tricky. You have to feel the milk surface has still held the steam wand’s tip. It will eventually drop as it creates foam.
- Move the pitcher in a whirlpool motion.
- If you see the milk has doubled, take about three to four ounces of frothed milk and pour over your cappuccino mixture.
Just a pro-tip, you can achieve smooth layering with quick and subtle movements. Don’t let the steam wand turn too hot. You can get the frothed milk ready when the espresso shots are still pouring. Swirl lightly when pouring the milk.
If you want to master the art of latte, practice a lot. Making your cappuccino at any time of the day is not just a thing in the mind.