"This is NOT a cappuccino"

Recession, economic crisis, gotterdammerung, whatever you want to call it, when things start to get increasingly expensive, I start to expect more. And as I’m a reasonable, tolerant, terribly sweet-natured person, when I go off on a rant, please indulge me.

Working downtown for many years, I’ve been noticing the price creep of basic lunches. Yesterday it really hit me when I went to Cosi for a salad and saw with a shock that everything there is now $7+. Yikes. My morning coffee breaks have also been creeping up. Now, my love affair with caffeine, the one substance I’ve ever been directly told by a doctor to lay off, is not the same as those coffee drones who really don’t have a freaking clue what the difference is between froth and crema. In other words, I’m a snob. Well, actually, no, I’m a purist. I want things to be right. If I am going to risk painful palpitations for it, at $3.08 my cappuccino better be a cappuccino, and not a latte..

Like the slide of suburban property values, I’ve been noticing the slide of the proper cappuccino in this city for some time, but nowhere is it more prevalent than the Caribou Coffee near my office at 13th & G. This morning is yet another time that I ask (nicely, politely, I’m not a jerk about it!) the barista to remake what they hand me. Filled to the brim with barely an 1/8 of froth is NOT a cappuccino. When I explained (nicely, politely) this time the response was “so you want it dry”.

(This is all Starbucks’ fault of course – wet, dry, skinny, tall, yadda yadda yadda. No wonder they all took off recently to relearn the basics.)

So – sigh – no, no, no. I don’t want a dry cappuccino. I want a cappuccino. And in this current economic clime, everything I have to shell out for had better be made/done right.

This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs

As one of the founding editors of We Love DC, Jenn’s passions are theater and cocktails. After two decades in the city, she’s loved every quirky, mundane, elegant, rude minute of her DC life. A proud advocate for DC’s talented drinks scene, she’s judged the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s ARTINI contest, the DC Rickey Month contest, the Jefferson Hotel’s Quill Cocktail competition, and is a founding member of LUPEC DC. A graduate of Catholic University’s drama program, she toured the country as a member of National Players, and has been both an actor and a costume designer before jumping the aisle to theater criticism. Writing for We Love DC restored her happiness after a life-threatening illness, and she’s grateful to you, dear readers. Send your suggestions to jenn (at) welovedc (dot) com and follow her on Twitter.

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2 thoughts on “"This is NOT a cappuccino"

  1. Pingback: Independent cafés: D.C.’s coffee culture problem | Espresso News and Reviews - TheShot.coffeeratings.com

  2. Everyone has a different definition of a cappuccino. It varies nationally, regionally and personally. I think that America’s preoccupation with the giant latte has lead you and others to define the cappuccino in contrast to the latte. There is less a distinction between the drinks in countries where only foreigners order lattes.

    The World Barista Championship defines a cappuccino as, “…a beverage of ratios, producing a harmonious balance of espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk. A traditional cappuccino is a five- to six-ounce beverage (150 to 180ml), served in a five- to six-ounce (150 to 180ml) cup with a handle.” Further, they describe the minimal amount of froth as 1/4 inch.

    My take is this. You aren’t ordering a cappuccino if you’re ordering a drink larger than six ounces and it can’t come in a to-go cup.

    As long as people insist on getting coffee to go, coffee quality will equate with fast food. It takes less than a minute to drink a good espresso drink of reasonable size. Do what people in other countries do. Go somewhere where you can get it in porcelain, stand, sip, leave.