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Know your Dry Cappuccino, What Makes It Dry?

Dave Carter

January 8, 2021

Drinking coffee is a pleasant habit that is best enjoyed with friends while having a talk or a light moment with friends. There are some rules about drinking coffee and other coffee-based beverages. These are conventions that are followed as part of an informal rule or etiquette. Among other things, espresso is best sipped and ordered at any time of the day. Coffee should be drunk before it loses its warmth and flavor. Cappuccino can be enjoyed with breakfast, but not after a meal. In Italy, cappuccino is also not ordered after ten o’clock in the morning. Young coffee drinkers also enjoy experimenting with coffee, take, for example, the trendy dry cappuccino.

The dry cappuccino is a new twist on a classical drink. It is light, airy, and can be more enjoyable. It has fewer calories than the traditional cappuccino, and it also has a more robust coffee flavor. Its light nature lends it well to drinking in the afternoon or at any other time than breakfast. Cappuccino makers can be used to make these drink variations.

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What is a Bone Dry Cappuccino?​

There is the dry cappuccino, and then there is the bone dry cappuccino. As a regular coffee shop customer, you should know what is a cappuccino, but what is a dry cappuccino? Why is it dry?

A dry cappuccino is so-called because it has less liquid, specifically milk, than a regular cappuccino. As the name implies, the bone dry cappuccino is dryer, lighter and fluffier, than the dry cappuccino as it is a dry cappuccino taken to the extreme. The ingredients, and essential process to make a regular cappuccino and a dry cappuccino are the same. The only difference is the ratio. The bone dry cappuccino is technically a different beverage owing to its lack of a critical ingredient.

The typical cappuccino is made with equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. It can be made with a single or double espresso shot and keeping the proportions for the steamed milk and foam for a larger serving. The foam floats on the top and resulting in a more aerated texture to the beverage.

In contrast, dry cappuccino has less milk and more foam. Creating the foam takes some time, and causes the preparation to take longer. The dry cappuccino has less liquid milk, which causes less dilution and a more robust espresso coffee flavor. The amount of espresso and serving size is still the same, with the dry cappuccino served in the same size cappuccino cup. The term “dry” refers to the amount of steamed milk, which is less than the typical cappuccino.

On the other end of the spectrum is the wet cappuccino. The drink is “wet” because it has more liquid. There is more steamed milk than foam and this dilutes the espresso more than the regular cappuccino.

In cappuccino, steamed milk is poured over espresso before the foam is poured on top, and is an important distinction because it results in a beverage where there is a clear distinction between the various layers. Caffe latte is is made by pouring espresso on top of the steamed milk, and a thin layer of foam is added on top. The espresso poured on milk mixes the drink instead of having layers of flavor.

Additionally, because a latte only has a thin layer of foam, there is no such thing as a “dry latte” because it serves only as a topping and cannot substitute for steamed milk. It is no longer latte if you add more foam.

How to make a bone dry cappuccino​

You can go extreme with your dry cappuccino, and you end up with a “bone dry cappuccino.” To make a bone dry cappuccino, you replace all the steamed milk with foam. With no liquid, only the foam serves to temper the espresso. In terms of proportion, the bone dry cappuccino is one part espresso and two parts foam. With a latte macchiato vs. cappuccino comparison, this variation is closer to a macchiato but with more foam on top.

At the other extreme is the “super wet cappuccino,” which does not have any foam. The resulting beverage is one part espresso, and two parts steamed milk without any foam. Without the foam, this is almost the same as a flat white.

The Best Way to Enjoy an Extra Dry Cappuccino

Telling the difference between cappuccinos and other espresso drinks is challenging enough, so how do you decipher a cappuccino from an extra dry cappuccino? It's all about the milk. Extra dry or bone dry cappuccinos calls for no milk or other added liquids. Where standard cappuccinos would contain a healthy mixture of hot milk and espresso, giving it its signature 'cappuccino color.'

That's why professionals used the term 'bone dry,' signaling the absence of steamed milk that typical cappuccinos have. However, you still get a creamy layer of milk foam. In essence, extra dry and bone dry cappuccinos only consist of an espresso shot (or two) and a subtle milk foam layer. Additionally, bone dry cappuccinos only have a brown espresso at the bottom and white milk foam at the top. So, you may wonder, how do you enjoy a good cup of extra dry or bone dry cappuccino?

The best way to enjoy this unique brew is by personalizing it! Since extra dry and bone dry cappuccinos only contain an espresso shot and a thick milk foam layer, expect its taste to be more on the bitter side, instead of the traditional balanced acidic and bitter flavors of wet cappuccino. Below are different ways you can 'personalize' your extra dry or bone dry cappuccino.

  • Milk - When it comes to your milk foam, usually most coffee shops would use whole milk or 1%-2% milk, but you can also choose nonfat, skimmed, seasonal eggnog, or non-dairy alternatives like vanilla soy or almond milk.
  • Sweetener - After selecting the milk, you'd like to use it for your milk foam. If you're looking to sweeten up the brew, you can add a bit of sugar or other sweeteners. These include organic honey, agave syrup, and sugar-free sweeteners like Splenda, Sweet'N Low, or Equal. You don't need to worry about the sweetness comprising the strength since a cup of extra dry or bone dry cappuccino is highly concentrated.
  • Base Flavors - Although it'll affect the entire 'extra dry' experience, you can also add in flavors like vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, berries, pumpkin spice, and other flavorings to the brew. You can customize it to be 'in season' if you're unsure of what to choose, such as pumpkin on Halloween.
  • Toppings - After settling with the flavor of the drink, you can finish off the personalization process by adding a fun topping to the brew, such as cocoa powder, a drizzle of chocolate syrup, or a generous dollop of whipped cream. You can also go for unique toppings like cinnamon, molasses, nutmeg, plain marshmallows, and sea salt.

However, although intriguing, keep in mind that not many coffee shops and cafes serve extra dry or bone dry cappuccinos as they're tough to make. For instance, for a 16-ounce cappuccino, baristas need at least 32 ounces of milk to produce enough milk foam for one cup.

So, if you get lucky and find an establishment that offers this unique brew on their menu, get the best out of it and personalize it to your specific tastes—ensuring a one-of-a-kind cappuccino coffee experience.

How do you make extra dry cappuccino?​

Some coffee shops offer extra dry cappuccino. In even some specialty shops or those with a secret menu, customers can order an extra dry cappuccino. The volume of steamed milk in an extra dry cappuccino is between a bone dry cappuccino and dry cappuccino. It is noteworthy that there is a Nespresso capsule alternative to make different variations of these drinks.

An extra dry cappuccino starts with an espresso base, followed by a minimal amount of steamed milk, and then topped with foam milk, rising above the lip of the cappuccino cup. The resulting drink is very foamy and takes a long time to make because of the volume of foam needed.

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Difference between a dry and wet cappuccino​

You can play around with the proportions of a cappuccino. A commercial espresso machine can be a big help for this, although not everyone needs it. The only constant between cappuccino variations is in the volume of espresso. The other proportions balance out in terms of volume. There is always one part espresso and two parts steamed milk and foam combined. Starting from the typical cappuccino, if the proportion of liquid to foam leans toward more foam, then it is a dry drink. If there is more milk than foam, then it is wet.

When creating this drink, the milk foam is an important consideration. The foam serves as an insulator and helps keep the beverage hot. The milk tempers the espresso, and with a wet drink, there is less of a punch. A dry drink has a strong espresso taste. It is keeping a cappuccino wet that balances the flavor of the cappuccino. The milk foam has little contribution to taste, but it does great as a canvas for latte art.

Is a wet cappuccino the same as a latte?​

Espresso based drinks are not only based on the proportions but also the preparation. Newbies usually do not know the difference between a cappuccino and a latte. There is a big difference between the preparation of a latte and a cappuccino. The latte has a steamed milk base, where the espresso is poured over it. The shape of the glass forces the milk and the espresso to mix. On top of this is a layer of milk foam, which is approximately 5mm thick. In large part, the size of the glass determines the proportion of the milk to the espresso.

Preparing a cappuccino creates a different beverage. The cup is large enough to hold equal parts of a shot of espresso, milk, and foam. An espresso base ensures that the liquid does not readily mix when it is poured into the cup—a large number of foam floats on top of the milk layer. Traditionally, cinnamon is sprinkled on top of the beverage, and not latte art.

A wet cappuccino may look and feel like a latte, because of the large amount of milk. However, it is still not a latte because of the thicker foam on top. It is not uncommon for a cappuccino to have a large head of foam on top.

A dry cappuccino is a variant of regular cappuccino, and because of its composition, it has a stronger espresso taste and a sizeable heady foam. For those who like their cappuccino with a strong coffee flavor, coffee drinkers should start drinking this heady drink.

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