Coffee in Europe was originally prepared in the traditional Ottoman style, which is similar to Turkish Coffee. By the late 17th century, the British and French had started to filter and steep their coffee instead of boiling it. Adding milk to coffee also became popular; and it was around this time too that the term “cappuccino” was first used. 


Coffee Vendor Etching by Anne Claude Philippe de Tubières, comte de Caylus from 1746

 

Cappuccinos evolved from a drink started in Viennese coffee houses known as “Kapuziners.” An 1805 account describes the “Kapuziner” as coffee with cream and sugar and spices. The drink’s name was given for its brown color which resembled the color of the robes worn by the (“Kapuzin”) friars in Vienna. Interestingly, another popular drink at the time, the “Franziskaner,” contained more milk, giving it a lighter color, and was named after the lighter-brown robes of the Franciscan monks. 

“Cappuccinos,” as written today, were first made in the early 1900s in Italy, shortly after the invention and popularization of the espresso machine. The first record comes from the 1930s. At first the drink called the cappuccino was made similarly to Viennese coffee, coffee with milk, whipped cream and spices, but soon after people started making cappuccinos with espresso instead of regular coffee. Though because of the complicated and bulky structure of espresso machines, they were limited to specialized cafes with “baristi” to operate the machines. Italian coffee culture came to involve spending long amounts of time at these specialized cafes, drinking espressos, cappuccinos, cafe lattes, conversing, and reading. 


An espresso shop on MacDougal Street in NYC in the 1940's.

 

Over time cappuccinos became popular around the globe, first spreading throughout continental Europe, theen to England, and then as far as Australia and South America. By the 1980s, American coffee shops began serving cappuccinos as well. 


The imaginatively decorated White Cup Espresso drive-past coffee stand in Sequim (which the locals pronounce as "squim"), a town on the north shore of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula. Photo by Carol M. Highsmith.

 

Today cappuccinos are so well-known that they are often made in ways with shortcuts, bearing little relation to a true Italian cappuccino. Restaurants and coffee shops at times use brewed coffee or instant coffee powder, and substitute milk with powdered milk or other alternatives. While some of these substitutions may be to make cappuccinos healthier, one worry is that one loses the original flavor, and culture surrounding the cappuccino. 

At Rip Van, we wanted to share a simple recipe for a low-sugar homemade "cappuccino" that you make without any fancy equipment. One you can enjoy and alongside a stroopwafel, so you can sip slowly, think, converse, reflect -- the way they did in mid-twentieth century Italian cafes -- all while keeping your sugar intake in check.

 
What you'll need:

• 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk

• 1 teaspoon monkfruit sweetener

• 1.5 cups of brewed, strong coffee (we recommend a classic Bialetti Stovetop Coffee maker)

 
Steps:

1) Brew your coffee

2) Combine milk & monkfrut sweetener in a saucepan and heat on the stovetop for a few minutes then transfer to a blender

3) Whip the hot milk/sugar mix in your blender for one minute until it's foamy and slightly thicker

4) Fill your cup partially with the coffee and top it off with the heated monkfruit/milk from your blender

5) Enjoy!

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