Caffè Macchiato

An espresso (or caffè) macchiato is espresso with the smallest addition of milk. The classic is a shot of espresso with a dollop of foam on top. 

Macchiato simply means ‘marked’ or ‘stained’, and in the case of an espresso macchiato, it’s espresso marked or stained with milk – only about a teaspoon. In fact, a caffè macchiato in Portuguese is named café pingado which means coffee with a drop.

For the coffee snob (which is not a bad thing, please keep in mind ~ it’s simply an elite group) one only drinks milk-based espresso drinks before noon.  The cappuccino (with more milk than the macchiato) is the first cup to linger over with your morning pastry. The macchiato is the second cup with a little less milk around mid-morning. That’s the drink to have at around 10 A.M. and  after that it should be espresso with no milk for the rest of the day. This is for the true espresso connoisseur, mind you.

For the rest of us who drink what we like when we like it, any time of day is the perfect time for a macchiato. Drink what suits your tastes, and then drink it often.

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Cappuccino

A cappuccino  is an Italian coffee drink prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed-milk foam. The name comes from the Capuchin friars, referring to the colour of their habits. It is made by pouring espresso into the bottom third of the cup, then adding a similar amount of hot milk. The top third of the drink consists of milk foam. 

One of the most important factors in preparing a cappuccino is the texture and temperature of the milk. When a barista steams the milk for a cappuccino, microfoam is created by introducing very tiny bubbles of air into the milk, giving the milk its luscious texture. The traditional cappuccino has a ¾ inch thick milk foam on top. Variations of the mixtures are cappuccino chiaro (a white cappuccino, also called a wet cappuccino) with more milk than normal, and cappuccino scuro (a dark cappuccino, also called a dry cappuccino) with less steamed milk than normal. Attaining the correct ratio of foam to espresso is a craft. It requires skill and experience and makes the cappuccino one of the most difficult espresso-based beverages to make well. A skilled barista not only makes a quintessential  cappuccino, but may also create artistic shapes while pouring the milk on the top of the espresso coffee ~ called latte art.

Cappuccino was developed in Italy by the early 1900s, and grew in popularity as the large espresso machines in cafés and restaurants were improved during and after World War II. Here in America, cappuccino did not become widely available until the appearance of coffee houses in the 1990s. Those same coffee houses have become increasingly commercial, and now we long for an independent shop with some personality. That’s exactly what we have in Java Mountain Roasters. Just because Americans are late to the party (the coffee connoisseur party, that is) doesn’t mean we ever need to settle for second best. Let JMR’s skilled baristas serve you a hand-crafted cappuccino. You’ll never view coffee the same.