The world of coffee keeps changing, and our palates are more sophisticated every day. And although all this innovation sometimes ends with ridiculous unicorn drinks, other changes are for good, and being able to customize a classic cappuccino to your taste is one of the most exciting things this season.
Have you ever heard of a bone-dry cappuccino? The idea comes from the realm of cocktails, where you can order, for example, a bone-dry martini — just gin (or vodka) with little to no vermouth.
So, what does dryness in drinks mean? Well, it depends. For martinis, it might have to do with the amount of aromatic vermouth used; in wine, dryness is all about lack of sugar. In coffee, it’s something else entirely. Here’s what you need to know about the bone-dry cappuccino.
A traditional cappuccino is made with one shot of espresso and equal parts steamed milk and milk froth. For some, a classic 1:1:1 ratio is the real cappuccino.
Of course, we all like our coffee differently, and since cappuccinos are made to order, there’s plenty of room for customization.
A dry cappuccino has less steamed milk than a regular one and more milk froth. This matters because the coffee doesn’t get as diluted. Therefore, you get a more potent drink.
A bone-dry cappuccino is taking the idea above to the extreme, making a cappuccino with an expresso, virtually no steamed milk and a whole lot of foam. That’s an espresso with a nice, pillowy hat.
Why would someone order a bone-dry cappuccino? For starters, milk froth keeps the coffee warm, so there’s more than flavor involved.
And as for the flavor, of course, a bone-dry cappuccino is strong, robust and a bit creamy, and it’s easy to see why people love that.
If you can order a dry and a bone-dry cappuccino, can you order a wet cappuccino as well? Of course you can! And it’s gaining popularity.
Coffee is too strong for some, and milk is the perfect ingredient to soften it up a bit. Why not order an espresso with extra steamed milk and less foam? That’s a wet cappuccino, and it awkwardly looks a lot like a latte.
If you want to order a wet cappuccino and your local barista doesn’t know what you’re talking about, just ask for a cappuccino with extra steamed milk.
If you like this type of coffee, you might also enjoy a flat white, two espresso shots with steamed milk and a thinner foam layer. Aren’t coffee specialties neat?
The bone-dry cappuccino is one of the very many versions of the popular Italian milky drink, and it caters to people who love their coffee strong, hot and robust.
The original cappuccino was created in Viennese coffee houses as far back as the 1700s and was actually called a kapuziner. It was just coffee with cream and sugar. The drink was named for its creamy top, resembling a monk’s hood or cap. Who knew?
Interestingly, the creamy drink didn’t find its way to Italy until the 1930s, where coffee bars started serving Viennese-style coffee.
Of course, coffee became increasingly good thanks to the invention of the espresso machines created in the early 1900s. With a coffee shot as intense as the espresso, it was only natural to round it up with cream or milk.
By the 1950s, cappuccinos were a worldwide phenomenon, and people soon started asking for theirs differently. After all, some people like more milk and others enjoy more microfoam.
More recently, Starbucks helped pave the way to order coffee with different terms, some as odd as Venti for a tall cup or dry for a cappuccino sans-milk.
So, the classic ratio of 1:1:1 between espresso, steamed milk and foam became outdated. Now, you can order your cappuccino as wet or as dry as you want. That’s kind of crazy, right? But in a good way.
Now, let’s get our hands dirty and make a bone-dry cappuccino. It comes without saying it’s a bit more complicated than you think!
To make milk foam, or microfoam, as snobby baristas call it, you need lots of milk. You might need up to 12 ounces of milk to make enough foam for a bone-dry cappuccino.
Of course, that depends on your equipment! Milk frothers like those attached to fancy espresso machines are much more efficient, but if you’re using a pot on the stove-top and a whisk, you’re in for a labor-intensive task.
So, the first thing you need is milk and a way to heat and froth it. The good news is that the proteins in whole milk capture air bubbles nicely, and you can get a pretty decent amount of froth just by heating and whisking the milk for a while.
Then you have to brew the espresso and make sure you serve it while it’s still piping hot. After all, some people like their cappuccinos dry because the coffee stays hot for longer.
Then it’s time to top the espresso with the milk foam and no extra milk whatsoever. Using a spoon to scoop the foam is best, as just pouring it over the coffee could cause some of the milk below the froth to find its way into the cup.
Look for a 1:3 ratio between espresso and milk microfoam, and you’ve got yourself a bone-dry cappuccino.
To make a bone-dry cappuccino properly, you’ll need cold whole-fat cow’s milk. Light milk, low-fat milk and plant-based milk alternatives just don’t foam that well.
Of course, you can try using them, and you’ll surely get a few tablespoons of foam. Will it be enough? Well, give it your best shot.
Pro tip: Macadamia milk might be your best milk alternative if you’re looking for a nice foam layer. Oat milk works rather good as well!
The temperature matters a lot. Cold milk assimilates more air bubbles than hot milk. Even your milk frother or pitcher should be cold when you start steaming the milk.
Although there are many types of coffee out there from everywhere in the world, for creamy drinks like a cappuccino you want to make yourself a proper espresso. You can get one either with an expensive espresso machine that pushes steam through the ground coffee, a pod coffee maker, or a stove-top mocha pot.
Don’t make cappuccinos with drip coffee, cold brew, percolator coffee or French press coffee; it’s just not intense enough.
As for the type of coffee, you don’t want anything too roasted. Go for Arabica instead of Robusta and look for a light or medium roast. This type of coffee is not as bitter, and it’s fruitier and caramelly, yes, that’s a thing. And goes better with milk.
Not everyone in every coffee shop is aware of the dryness and wetness in cappuccinos, so there’s a chance an inexperienced barista doesn’t know what a bone-dry cappuccino is. If that’s the case, don’t lose your temper.
Order an espresso in a tall cup with milk froth. You can also try ordering a cappuccino without milk and extra foam. That might work as well.
We learn something every day, so share your newfound cappuccino knowledge with friends and family and let’s make the bone-dry cappuccino the trendiest coffee specialty of them all!
Now that you know all there is about the bone-dry cappuccino and its counterpart, the wet cappuccino, it’s time to find the right one for you.
If you’re all about the classics, ask for a 1:1:1 ratio cappuccino with equal parts coffee, milk and froth.
If you like creamy coffee, a wet cappuccino is perfect for you, and if you’re more of a dark coffee kind of person, then try the dry and bone-dry cappuccinos! The cappuccino category has just gotten so much more exciting, don’t you agree?
So long story short, now that you know everything about this exciting drink, let’s find out how to make this incredibly delicious bone-dry cappuccino recipe!
Preheat your cup or mug with hot water. Set aside.
Pour the milk into a frothing pitcher, froth the milk for at least 30 seconds to achieve copious amounts of foam. Start with the wand just below the surface and working your way inside. If using a pot, heat the milk until steamy, don’t let it boil. Remove from the heat and whisk to get foam.
Brew the espresso and pour it into the warm cup.
Scoop the milk foam into the cup until you get a coffee to milk ratio of 1:3.
Garnish with powdered cinnamon and sweeten to taste.