Cappuccino: between history and legend

The origins of Cappuccino can be traced to the city of Vienna and the Turkish tradition; but it’s thanks to the Italians that this drink became a lifestyle.

So is cappuccino really Italian? We don’t know for sure, because there are many contradictory  theories about its origins.

One of them attributes the invention of cappuccino to Marco da Aviano, a friar belonging to the Capuchin order who, on his arrival in Vienna in 1683, asked to be able to sweeten his coffee, as he found the taste too bitter (Bear in mind that coffee nack then was very different to that which we drink today: it was prepared using the Turkish infusion method). Some milk was brought to the Italian friar, which made the coffee the color of the cappuccinos’ tunic and cappuccino was born.

Another tales suggests that kapuziner, a new blend of coffee enriched with aromas, spices and whipped cream, spread in Vienna during the eighteenth century, and then throughout the Austro-Hungarian empire and to Friuli Venezia Giulia.

At the end of the same century, the cappuccino fashion had focused mainly on the manual preparation of cream foam; but it was only at the beginning of the twentieth century, with the introduction to the market of the first espresso machine, that the drink began to take its present form, thanks to the preparation of the milk foam through the steam nozzle.

A symbol of the Italian lifestyle

Although cappuccino boasts Austrian origin, it is the Italians who turned it into a lifestyle. Starting in the 1930s, cappuccino enjoyed increasing popularity in Italy, served with cinnamon and chocolate flakes. Preparation wasn’t easy, because espresso machines as we know them are still not widely available..The definitive consecration was not until the end of the Second World War, when cappuccino became the elegant balance of espresso coffee and cream-whipped milk that we all enjoy today.

In 2020, cappuccino is more than ever one of Italy’s favorite drinks; a ubiquitous element of breakfast at the bar (the legendary “cappuccino and brioche”), while in many other countries it is a very popular drink that’s enjoyed various times of the day – even after lunch!

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