How Cappuccinos Became an Industry Leader

When you visit any local coffee shop, you’ll always find a cappuccino up on their menu. Cappuccinos are incredibly popular because it’s such a delicious, friendly, and warm milk beverage with just the right amount of coffee. 

Although the cappuccino is a household name and you can find one everywhere, it only started gaining popularity in America in the 1980s, making people believe that it’s a new drink and trend. However, you should know that the cappuccino started hundreds of years ago and has been enjoyed by countless generations in Italy and the rest of Europe. 

If you’re a coffee-lover and an avid coffee drinker, you should familiarize yourself with the story of the cappuccino. Keep reading to find out its history, how it got its name, how it was invented, and why it’s loved globally. Grab another cup of coffee, and let’s get to it!

Before the birth of the cappuccino

Coffee drinking was based on the traditional Ottoman brewing style, where water and coffee beans were brought to a boil, and later on, sugar is then added. 

During the late 1700s, filtering coffee started to be a thing among the British and the French. Slowly, filtered and brewed coffee gained popularity, and the term cappuccino started, but it was far from what it is today. 

The story behind the name

In the Viennese coffee houses in the 1700s, cappuccinos were first called “Kapuziner” which was coffee with cream and sugar. And by the 1850s, some would even add spices to the coffee recipe. Whatever the preparation of these kapuziners, they had a distinct brown color similar to the robes worn by the Capuchin friars in Vienna and the ‘capuchin,’ which is the hood of the robes in Italian; this is where the name came from. 

The birth of the cappuccino

Even if the name originated in Vienna, the cappuccino we know today was actually invented in Italy and was first made in the 1900s, shortly after the espresso machine gained popularity in 1901. 

During the time when the espresso machines were incredibly huge and bulky, they were quite limited in cafes and were only prepared by the ‘barisiti’. Over the years, the ‘Cappuccini’ gained popularity and was made in different cafes and restaurants. 

From this time, photographs show people sitting and enjoying their cappuccinos, which were then served “Viennese” style with a bit of whipped cream, cinnamon, or chocolate shavings. 

The modern-day cappuccino

When World War II ended, the cappuccino had gone through a bit of tweaking, improvements, and simplifications. This is because espresso machines became more popular and available, introducing locals to the “Age of Crema.”

Today, a cappuccino has a few simple elements: a good espresso shot, balanced steamed milk, foam, the presence of crema, and placed in a preheated cup. Ideally, a cappuccino has a 1:1 ratio of coffee and milk, giving you the right balance of flavors while presenting a beautiful contrast of the cream and milk through latte art. 

Cappuccinos are love all over the world

Cappuccinos quickly spread across Europe because the British drinking their coffee with milk. After taking over Europe, this drink then made its way to Australia, South America, and later, the bigger parts of America.

In the 1990s, cafe culture became more apparent, and a variety of drinks were displayed on menus, allowing people to try different coffee drinks to help them find what they prefer. 

The great thing about cappuccinos is its flavor balance, making it incredibly easy to enjoy, even for people who don’t usually drink coffee. If you’re trying different local coffee shops worldwide, having a cappuccino is a great way to get to know their shop and the beans they offer. 


Coffee culture will continue to grow and spread, and the development of a new brewing method will bloom; however, the cappuccino will still remain in all cafes. Now that you know the history behind cappuccinos, you’ll enjoy this beverage even more, and you can even impress your friends during your coffee hangout with this story. So head to your local coffee shop, order a cappuccino, relax and enjoy your cup, just as the Italians would do. 

Are you looking for a local coffee shop in your area? Head over to SIP Coffee and Beer. We are a local coffee shop, tap house, cocktail bar, and restaurant that brings a sense of community to the valley. We offer a place for people to work, connect, and have fun. Drop by our shop today!

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