A cappuccino is a traditional espresso-based drink that is prepared with steamed milk and milk foam, and like many other coffee items, it’s all about ratios. Cappuccino is usually served as one part espresso, one part steamed milk, and one part milk foam.
It is also usually served in a smaller cup than a latte. Cappuccinos are a perfect blend of delicious coffee and creamy milk, sometimes you may even get a little sprinkle of chocolate on the top. Let’s take a look at a couple ways you can tailor your next cappuccino to your particular tastes.
When it comes to coffee, words and terminology matter, whether you’re after a long black or a cappuccino, these descriptive terms can make or break your drinks order, especially when it comes to ordering a cappuccino. There are two key terms you need to know for ordering your cappuccinos, and those are “wet” and “dry”. Let’s delve a little deeper and understand what these mean for our coffee.
The wet cappuccino is the traditional cappuccino that contains less foam and is creamier because it has more steamed milk. There is less foam but the cup size stays the same. So, effectively, you are asking for cappuccino with less foam.
This variation has a slightly sweeter and smoother flavour, since more steamed milk than normal dilutes the espresso. Generally speaking, a cappuccino is one-third espresso and two-thirds milk, in a wet cappuccino the same amount of milk is used, but they divide it so that only 25% is milk foam and 75% is milk, rather than the usual 50-50 split. It is still a very tasty cappuccino, just with a milkier flavour, smoother mouthfeel and a thinner layer of foam.
Not everyone likes the strong creamy texture and flavour of regular cappuccino. For those that want a bit more coffee without going full-coffee, the dry cappuccino is the perfect balance. Effectively, you are asking for more foam, since the foam is considered ‘dry’ compared to the liquid steamed milk. Once again, the size of the beverage stays the same. The only change is the ratio of steamed milk to foam. This variation features a thick, dense foam that floats on top of the shot of espresso. Due to there being less liquid milk poured into the coffee, the espresso has a richer, more distinct taste. It is still a cappuccino, just with a much punchier flavour and dense layer of foam.
There are different flavour profiles and depth depending on the milk to espresso ratio. Cappuccinos range from being creamier and more diluted in taste, to stronger with more intense flavour. Some cappuccinos can be made cold with either cold milk or with blended ice, and can even have flavoured syrups incorporated in them too. If you’re wondering whether there is a distinct difference in flavour between wet and dry cappuccinos, the answer is yes, but it’s not as significant as you may think.
Due to the high volume of steamed milk, the mix with the espresso results in a more blended and sweeter flavour profile. The espresso is balanced out by the liquid milk, which softens the bitter notes of dark espresso shot, but may mute the flavours of a lighter, more subtle roast.
When making a wet cappuccino, there is less air introduced to the milk, due to there being less foam, this results in less bubbles and more smoothly textured drink of the milk and espresso combination.
Due to the lower volume of steamed milk, the espresso flavours will be a lot stronger and richer than in the wet cappuccino counterpart. There will also be less of that creamy dairy flavour overall, due to the smaller amount of liquid milk that is added to the drink.
Due to the extra air added to the cappuccino while it is being stretched (making of the foam), the result in your mug can be very foamy. The thick layer of foam keeps the espresso hot for longer.
While wet and dry are where most people stop with their cappuccino customisations, some prefer to explore the boundaries of the cappuccino. This is where bone-dry and super-wet cappuccinos come into play.
A super-wet cappuccino typically consists of no foam, and all steamed milk. This extra-liquid beverage starts to resemble a flat white more than a cappuccino. The ‘super-wet’ comes from the extra steamed milk that is added onto the already ‘wet’ cappuccino. This can dilute the taste of the espresso and leaves the mug full of creamy smooth milk, essentially.
The wet and dry cappuccino terminology depends wholly on the proportion of steamed milk. The more steamed milk the ‘wetter’ the cappuccino, and the reverse for a dry cappuccino. There are numerous ways to enjoy a cup of cappuccino. Every type of milk will have a different result when steamed or frothed, before adding it to the espresso shot, but that’s not to say it won’t still be a delicious cappuccino after all the frothing and pouring.
Now you know the differences between wet and dry cappuccino, why not explore what instant coffee is next?