The cappuccino is an iconic drink and my favorite coffee whether morning, afternoon or evening. I am crazy for cappuccinos not only because it is a treat to the eyes – latte art, but it conjures up a unique sense of well-being. There is something about the clever combination of froth and espresso, brewed just right, that sets me on way.
My love for cappuccinos started many years ago in Gibraltar when I was visiting family friends. The cup offered to me came with a strong aroma of sweet yet strong, roasted coffee beans. The frothy crema atop was soft and creamy. The cassonade (brown sugar) highlighted the intensity of the beverage, bringing an umami-forward taste.
It was one the most flavorsome sweet coffee and cream drink I had ever tried. The nuanced tastes of ground beans and brown sugar warmed me through. I had experienced bitter coffee once or twice that never tasted the way it smelled. So, for years I avoided coffee and stuck to tea.
Over the years I have become a cappuccino connoisseur. My daily dose begins with a first cup at 7:30 a.m. A second perk at around 2:00 p.m. I prefer my cappuccinos extra hot and with a little less milk. That is how my local coffee house, Ready Coffee, serves up my “cup of joe.” Each morning the great team at Ready see me coming and ask “your usual?”
Of course, I can and do make cappuccinos at home. But the morning cup from Ready is a must – a way to connect with our neighborhood community in Luxembourg. Interacting with the team gets me going in the morning. It does help that the coffee shop is down my street and the short walk is worth it.
It is a relatively easy drink to produce by a barista who has been trained well. I have watched and trained many of them in my past work. Watching a barista at work never fails to astonish me. The key to the perfect cappuccino seems to be the quality of the beans, the richness of the milk, the right temperature and, in my opinion, the appropriate portions. Too much milk detracts from the deep coffee flavors.
As I sip on my daily cup, I often wonder about how a simple beverage can have such a great impact on the taste buds. I suspect it is the result of the collective coffee drinking experience that one has over time. Our palates are coaxing our brains into storing the most memorable occasions. Like the perfect cup I enjoyed at St. Christopher’s Place, just off Oxford Street in London. Or that relaxing afternoon at Le Negresco in Nice, or staring out upon the Mediterranean from La Reserve, in Beaulieu-ser-Mer.
Whatever the occasion, a fantastic cup of cappuccino brings pleasure of the highest kind!
What is your coffee preference?