The widely recognised cappuccino is a staple in cafes across the globe. An espresso-based drink with foamy, textured milk is the simplest description I can offer, however the specifics encompassing this popular coffee are open to interpretation.
Be it with chocolate sprinkles or without, latte art or a round-top pour to finish, with breakfast or after dinner, these options are the topic of much debate. I can’t give you definitive answers but I can go into more detail about one variable in the chasm of cappuccino... Wet vs Dry!
If you’ve ever overheard someone’s extra request of ‘wet or dry’ when ordering coffee and wondered what in the world it means, then you’re on the right page.
What makes a Cappuccino?
Milk texture is key when differentiating between a cappuccino and other milk-based drinks.
It’s all about micro-foam.
The typical ratio for a cappuccino is one part espresso, one part steamed milk, and one part micro-foam, which is more foam than your usual latte or flat white. This makes for a lighter, fluffier texture. Cappuccinos are usually served in a smaller cup, resulting in a stronger tasting hit of coffee sipped through the foamy milk.
What is a Dry Cappuccino?
To make a dry cappuccino, you simply increase the amount of micro-foam. When steaming milk, baristas position the steam wand to allow air into the milk, creating micro-foam. The more air you introduce, the more micro-foam is created. A dry cappuccino adjusts the ratio to have more micro-foam and less steamed milk.
The outcome is light and bouncy textured milk that almost floats on top of the espresso. You should be able to wiggle the cup as the milk holds its shape without spilling a drop!
Now you have a clearer idea of how a dry cappuccino looks and feels, you may be left wondering what difference it makes to the taste. How does this become a a personal preference for cappuccino aficionados?
More micro-foam uses less milk, resulting in a stronger tasting coffee. The sharp, pronounced flavour of espresso comes first and foremost in this option while the milk is more of an accompaniment.
A dry cappuccino is for a coffee drinker who appreciates a well-rounded, balanced espresso but wants a milk-based drink that they can enjoy for a little longer.
What is a Wet Cappuccino
A wet cappuccino is simply made using less micro-foam and more steamed milk. Less air is introduced into the milk meaning it remains a liquid rather than becoming foam, blending into the espresso.
The outcome here is silky, textured milk that is closer to a latte or flat white milk. You’re more likely to be able to pour latte art on this drink but it won’t withstand a wiggle.
The smooth milk in a wet cappuccino has a huge impact on the overall flavour. Heating milk enhances its natural sweetness and, when blended into the espresso, it cuts through the sharpness and acidity. This method uses more milk making for a milder coffee flavour.
The result is a drink most suited to coffee drinkers who prefer a creamy, sweeter-tasting milky drink.
You can now consider yourself one step closer to cappuccino connoisseur.
Whether you’re going away to work on your micro-foam steaming skills or to try both a Wet and Dry cappuccino for yourself, there is always so much more to learn. Quality beans and brew method is crucial in any cup of coffee. Find more blog posts on our website and keep learning!