Our beloved breakfast drink - cappuccino - comes to us thanks to the 16th century conflict between the muslim Ottomans and the Western European Catholics, specifically in the Italian regions. The Pope of the time called upon the friar of the order of the "Cappuccini" (so called for their habits which had a particular hood - or "cappuccio"), Marco d'Aviano, to go to Vienna to ask European powers for help to defeat the Ottomans. At the moment, Vienna was held under siege by the Turks, but when liberated, they fled, leaving hundreds of pounds of coffee. The Viennese took advantage of the looted goods and opened their first caffé. When our noted friar entered to try this new "black water", he considered it far too bitter and asked for something "Christian" to add to it to sweeten its taste (not sugar, as it was Arabic). They added cream, as milk was not drunk at this time, and the bar-tender claimed it mirrored the friar's habit, claiming, "kaputziner"! - or "cappuccino"! Thus, our beloved coffee became "christened" cappuccino in honor of the courageous, peaceful friar.

The story goes on throughout the centuries, evolving the drink to what it is today, and now it has become a certified Italian product, with strict regulations as to how to make it the "official" way. Just remember, when in Italy, it should be ordered BEFORE 11am! After that time, stick to regular espresso, or espresso "macchiato" - an espresso with a splash of milk.

AuthorCharis McCullough