That’s a Cappuccino!

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It’s Poke Hack Day. And we’re doing something that’s close to my heart. It’s about ending sub-standard cappuccino. Too often we get fobbed off with lattes in cappuccino’s clothing. Big, heavy, milky coffee. Made with burned milk. Basically a terrible drink and piss-poor start to the day.

We want people to respect the ‘golden ratio’ – 1 part espresso, 1 part steamed milk, 1 part foam.

Part education and campaigning website. Part social tool – http://www.thatsacappuccino.com (not live yet) – will help to raise the cappuccino bar for all of us.

To start with, we’ve written an open letter to the UK’s major brewed coffee vendors:

  • Costa
  • Starbucks
  • Pret a Manger
  • Caffe Nero
  • Puccinos
  • JD Weatherspoon (who are responsible for 6% of the UK’s coffee sales)
  • And of course, The Wild Bean Cafe

We’re asking them to get on board with us and operationally ensure that they’re respecting the difference between a latte and a cappuccino.

Today’s preliminary investigation and interviews have unearthed a whole bunch of interesting stuff – like more than a few places that basically think a cappuccino is a latte with chocolate on top (and they’ve admitted to that on camera).

Do you know of any places that get the cappuccino perfectly right? Or criminally wrong. Please leave details below and we’ll make sure they feature in the beta of the app :-)

Cheers!

32 thoughts on “That’s a Cappuccino!”

  1. Hey no fair! I expect equal posting on Crackunit for our *winning* entry!

  2. Once in a food market in Florence I sat down at a local cafe and ordered a ‘latte’. The lady looked confused but a few minutes later came out with my drink. It was a cup of warm milk. I tried to explain that I wanted a coffee and she just looked at me and said ‘latte di caffè, latte di caffè!’. She refused to take the warm milk back and so I sat and drank my children’s beverage in shame…

  3. Haha awesome! This is something that’s always bothered me. Could you also make them stop using the word latte (which simply means milk) rather than “caffè latte” or “latte macchiato” (the coffee beverage)? Or at least pronounce the word “latte” correctly, there’s no -ay at the end. Yay for proper Cappuccino!

  4. Pop into The Espresso Room on Great Ormond Street on Friday and I will make you a latte and a cap, we make good coffee. Shamless promotion – but its good coffee.

  5. Monmouth coffee, on Monmouth street and in Borough Market, make the best coffee in London. Black filter, flat white, cappucino – they’re all terrific. And it’s also the best-smelling shop in London too. Not terribly surprising but still an absolute pleasure to walk into every morning. Their pastries are excellent too. The cappucino crusade is an excellent idea btw – a flabby capp is a nasty thing.

  6. Agreed that both flat white on berwick street and monmouth coffee co are the amazing.

    What’s the point in foam anyway? A flat white all the way.

  7. Believe it or not, Costa actually do a bloody good Cappu. depends on the store and the barista of course but mostly pretty damn good

  8. The way my heart drops when handed a cappuccino that weighs the same as a small dog – and tastes worse.

    In Bristol there is only one place that can claim (in my extensive experience) to make a proper coffee – Extract Coffee stall at the bottom of Park Street.

    Spot on every time and never fails to make my morning. They also make a mean flat white. They roast their own beans too. Thank you for caring Extract.

  9. This is a great campaign.

    To be honest, unless I’m near a place I know makes perfect coffee, I don’t get one.

    My main annoyances are burnt milk, which removes the sweetness and just tastes disgusting. Second to that, badly extracted espresso due to old coffee, badly ground coffee, badly tampered coffee – all down to incompetence.

    Coffee @33 in Brighton is the best right now.

  10. Oh come on. A Cappuccino isn’t a real coffee anyway. Espresso is the only way to go and why it’s just a coffee in Italian.

  11. Thank the Lordy someone has done this.

    The only good places I found in London in 10 years were:

    BAR ITALIA
    MONMOUTH COFFEE SHOP
    TINBERBOX in Islington
    and my house

    Everywhere else was crap. I swear this is a UK only problem. I’ve been working in Greece now for 1 year and coffee is good everywhere. If your ever in Athens stop by rascal.gr for a decent cup.

  12. Bloody brilliant Ian!

    Neros (yes, really) on top of Park Street in Bristol, but, make sure the large Scottish gentleman makes it!

  13. Personally speaking, I have a good deal of sympathy with your cappucino problem, however, I suspect that you may be approaching it from the wrong angle.

    Let me explain: the story of cappucino cannot properly be told without mention of a man from White Plains, New York, named Howard Moskowitz, a man who’s motto is:

    “The mind knows not what the tongue wants.”

    The truth of which becomes clear when you ask people what coffee they like – almost every one says they want a dark, rich, hearty roast. In truth, as Howard will tell you, only around 25% of people actually do like a dark, rich, hearty roast, leaving 75 per cent who like weak, milky coffee, but can’t, or more likely won’t, articulate that fact (who wants to ask for a weak, milky coffee?).

    The problem with cappucino, as served in the modern coffee bar, is that it caters for this concious or subconcious prejudice, without acknowledging the fact to customers. This is because the taste pleases the 75% without requiring them to self-identify as weak, milky types.

    The issue, at heart, is therefore one of categorisation, labelling and indentification. In other words, to solve this problem you have to acknowledge that people like different types of coffee with froth on top, so you need to create the perfect cappucinos, rather than the perfect cappucino, in order to avoid embarrassing the weak milky types that consitute the majority of your audience.

    As I see it, there are two possible approaches:

    1. Create the equivalent of the French Appelation Controlee for cappuccino roughly as you propose, but also reposition what is generally served as cappuccino now as a new hybrid type of coffee, e.g. a lattecino, so the weak cappuccino-loving majority can still get their fix of weak, frothy coffee without fear of embarrassment.

    2. ‘Create’ a new type of cappucino, e.g a maxicapp? This solution, which is really just a repositioning of the extra shot already available in many coffee bars, allows the weak, milky types to order without fear, and would appeal to a younger, hipper, demographic that likes to self-actualise by identification with niche, edgy or extreme behaviours and brands.

    Personally speaking, I’d tend towards the second solution as they are the consumers who currently have the problem. Though you might like to consider giving the new cappucino a different name (I suspect appending ‘max’ to a brand is now considered a little infra dig). Use of suggestive sexual imagery and druggy type music/video might also help.

    Either way, best of luck,

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