Sunday, December 18, 2011

Recipe: Homemade “Cappuccino” Mix

I believe humans get a lot done, not because we're smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee. – Flash Rosenberg

A real cappuccino. They are often decorated with patterns in the foam. It's a real art.
Photo: pocius, Flickr ccl
This is a guilty pleasure of mine – fake cappuccino. It's almost additive. 

I classify fake cappuccino powder in the same class as dried potato flakes. They don’t taste like potato when they’re reconstituted. They taste like something “other.” If you like it, good. If you don’t that’s OK too. You don’t have to eat them.

I don’t really know why powdered cappuccino mix was called by that name. It most certainly doesn’t taste like a real cappuccino, except for the cinnamon and chocolate, but those are ADDITIONS on top, not part of the coffee.

Oh well, who really cares. You either like this or you don’t. I do. I’m having one now. If someone likes the mix, this is an easy homemade gift.

So what’s the real stuff?
From Wikipedia (abridged)
A cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink prepared with espresso, hot milk, and steamed-milk foam. In the 17th century, Viennese monks in Austria, who found Turkish coffee too strong for their taste, mixed it with cream and honey. This made the colour of the coffee turn brown, resembling the colour of the robes worn by the Capuchin monastic order. Which gave rise to the “cappuccino” name so famous today.

And the fake?
Also from Wikipedia (abridged)
The widespread acceptance of the cappuccino led to many establishments, such as convenience stores, offering a product labeled as "cappuccino" to their patrons. However, that product is usually produced by machines similar to those that mix cocoa drinks, and made with either a manufactured mix or double-brewed coffee. The resulting beverage is unlike regular cappuccino. 

Additionally, store-bought mixes intended for home use are also produced. These powders are intended to be mixed with hot water or milk, an attempt to produce a beverage comparable to that found in convenience stores; these are often advertised as "frothed coffee."

Regardless of what it is “trying” to be, this cappuccino mix is every bit as good as the powdered mixes sold in our local grocery stores, for considerably less cost than in those establishments.

Homemade “Cappuccino” Mix
Makes 3-1/4 cups of powdered mix
1 cup powdered instant non-dairy creamer (like Coffee-Mate)
1/2 to 3/4 cup instant hot chocolate* (no marshmallows!!)
1 cup instant coffee (caffeinated or decaf)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (just a pinch)

Combine all and mix well. Crush the instant coffee granules so they don't "float" to the top of the mix in the jar.

* the more chocolate you add the more mochaccino it becomes.

To make "cappuccino":
2 heaping tablespoons cappuccino mix
1-1/2 cups boiling water 
whipped cream 
grated chocolate


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