National Cappuccino Day is November 8, a day to celebrate what some believe is the best-known espresso drink in America. Cappuccino is an Italian drink that has gotten popular in the USA–so popular that you can buy in-home, DIY cappuccino makers complete with a steam wand for frothing up those lovely warming drinks.
National Cappuccino Day will be celebrated on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.
You probably already know the answer; we don’t really know. Branding November 8 as Cappuccino Day is likely another one of those holidays started as a marketing campaign. This one, like National Donut Day, got some national traction and here we are today discussing how to observe this fun informal holiday.
Cappuccino origins are a bit murky. Some sources say a Vienna drink called kapuziner is a precursor to cappuccino; this was a milk and espresso drink not considered a “true” cappuccino by some purists. The “real” cappuccino is said to have been created in Italy sometime during the 1900s.
Fun fact: If you’ve ever had an iced cappuccino, you can thank Tim Horton’s. The original Iced Cappuccino was created in 1999 as a blended coffee drink with Tim Hortons coffee and cream.
A cappuccino is made from espresso, steamed milk, frothed or foamed milk (hence the steam wand on the cappuccino machine) and often has a dash of cocoa on top. The ratio of milk to espresso is key because adding too much milk makes the drink closer to a latte, and less milk brings you closer to a macchiato.
For those of you who don’t know, espresso is a concentrated form or coffee. The beans are generally the same, but espresso beans may be roasted more. The biggest difference is in preparation. Espresso is ground finer and brewed with a lower ratio of grounds to water, resulting in a thicker liquid with a more robust flavor.
A good cappuccino has the bite of the espresso but it’s a bit tempered by the milk. A latte is more milk-forward with a less strong coffee presence; a macchiato is the opposite, being espresso “marked” with milk for a bold flavor.
Americans tend to consume cappuccino in their own unique ways; in Italy the custom trends toward having these only for breakfast. Some tend to view drinking cappuccino after 11AM the way some view having waffles for lunch.
A good pairing with a cappuccino is a good flaky croissant, but some swear by having something chocolatey of any kind.
National Cappuccino Day is on November 8th, and depending on the café or coffee shop you may find free or discounted cappuccinos near you. Retailers who have in the past offered free or discounted cappuccinos on November 8 include:
- Dunkin Donuts
- Caribou Coffee
Naturally everyone who loves this drink will use November 8 as an excuse to drink more cappuccino. But one of the best ways to celebrate the day is to try making it at home. You don’t need a fancy espresso machine; you can use a stovetop espresso maker and a ten dollar milk frother to make these awesome drinks at home.
Getting the balance right for your DIY cappuccino means simply obeying the ratio rules–equal parts everything. Milk, espresso, and froth in equal measure and you have your magic mixture.
The first hack is the milk; whole milk is best in a cappuccino, but some take this up a notch and substitute cream instead. You can also try Half & Half, or go the opposite direction and try 2%.
Another important hack is choosing the right coffee. You want espresso beans fine ground for a cappuccino. The bitterness of the espresso is a key factor in the experience; it’s evened out to a point by the milk, which is why whole milk or even cream is desirable. Not only does the fat add a velvety texture to the drink, but it also potentially slows down the absorption of the caffeine in the brew.
Can’t get enough coffee? Try these other coffee drinks!