Friday, February 24, 2012

Step 2: Branch Out A Little

"Instead of a latte, why don't you try the more traditional sized cappuccino?" 
That's what I was asked one day at Intelligentsia in Pasadena.  It was a Saturday morning.  I get to the front of the line, order my croissant and small latte, and I get that back.  WHHHAAATT!? A cappuccino? Only coffee snobs drink cappuccinos.  Normal people just get lattes, right?  Besides, everyone knows that cappuccinos are like 90% foam, and I'm not trying to spend $3.50 on a cup of air.  Well, it turns that I'm wrong on most counts.  Apparently, you don't need to be a coffee connoisseur to order a cappuccino.  Ordering one doesn't actually make you sound that pretentious. Your everyday Joe drinks them too.  In fact, there's an added bonus of sounding less like a soccer mom.  Also, as it turns out, I've been mistaken in regards to the makeup of a cappuccino.  A true cappuccino (aka not the crap that you get at Starbucks) is a five or six ounce drink consisting of about one part espresso to one or two parts steamed milked.  You might have noticed that I didn't mention foam at all.  When a skilled barista heats the milk for a cappuccino, he or she will steam the milk in a way that creates something called microfoam.  Microfoam is incorporated into the milk so when you drink a cappuccino, you're not left trying to find the drink through a pillow of foam.  Instead, the milk is "textured" so it's slightly heavier but creates a well-rounded drink.  You can see it here - no pillow, slightly foamy.

The capp (I drink them now, so I can call them that) was amazing!  Coming from a latte, a cappuccino isn't a big stretch.  It's the same amount of espresso, but a little less milk, meaning the coffee stands out a bit more.  They're delicious.  If you drink lattes now, the next logical step is to move to cappuccinos - branch out a little.

So we've already completed Step 1 - getting our feet wet.  We haven't deviated too much into the unknown.  Rather, we've been trying to get more familiar with what we already know.  We've realized that there ways that we can expand upon what we've already been doing before we go out and try something completely different.  For me, that meant moving to the cappuccino.  What does that mean for you?

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