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Cappuccino is an Italian coffee beverage. Before 1990s it was popular only in Europe and in the most cosmopolitan regions of USA and Canada. Nowadays it is widely popular due to developing coffee chains such as Starbucks.

An interesting fact is that traditions of drinking cappuccino are different in Italy (the country of its origin) and in other countries. In Italy the beverage is drunk either in the morning - with a "cometto" (croissant) as a part of breakfast, or in the evening - after a night out before going to bed, but not during the day or with meals. In other countries cappuccinos are often consumed during the daytime a after a meal.

Steaming milk and creating microfoam for cappuccino is truly an art work. Tiny bubbles of air are introduced into the milk give it a velvety texture and sweetness. Skilled baristas then pour properly steamed milk into the espresso and sometimes even create latte art making various designs on the top of the drink. A perfect "container" for preparing a cappuccino is unarguably a ceramic cup; it has greatly improved heat retention characteristics comparing glass or paper cups.

Original cappuccino is considered to be 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 frothed milk or 1/3 espresso and 2/3 microfoam. A cappuccino with less milk is called "dry". Iced variation is also available; it is called cappuccino Freddo. It is not quite a cappuccino though since it is very hard to duplicate the foam on top of the hot beverage, but the term is very popular in Mediterranean countries where foam is added after the ice. Espresso with cold milk in it served on ice is called an iced caffelatte; espresso macchiato is a shot of espresso "stained" with a dollop of milk foam.

By the 21st century many varieties of cappuccino occurred. Many fast-food chains and convenience stores offer cappuccinos to their patrons, too. However, those drinks are usually prepared by vending machines and are just rough approximation of what a real cappuccino should be. The drink is usually made either from a pre-produced mix or double-brewed coffee and has little relation to the original drink. So called "frothed coffees" are also available on the market; those are store-bought mixes for preparing the drink.


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