Written by Anthony C. Marano-Ducarne
The word “Cappuccino” or Cappuccetto” are the diminutive forms of the Italian word for a small “Cappuccio”. A cappuccio is a hat in the shape of a hood, usually attached to winter coats and similar to the hoods attached to ski jackets or the cowl worn by monks. One can see the relationship between the English word “Cap” that you wear on your head, derived from the Latin/Italian words; “caput”, “cappello” “cappa” or “coppola” related to the word “capa” and the word Cappuccio or Cappuccino or hood.
Q. How does the word Cappuccino (little hat or little cap) relate to the coffee drink by the same name?
A. Very simple. A Cappuccino coffee drink is a cup of espresso coffee that has been “capped” with heated and foamed milk and because the foam remains on top of the coffee and the milk, it is called a “Cappuccino Coffee” or simply a Cappuccino. To summarize, a cappuccino drink is a cup coffee that contains espresso coffee combined with heated milk with a foamed milk cap.
A related anecdote: The translation from English to Italian of the fable “Little Red Riding Hood”, to Italian children it is known as “Cappuccetto (or cappuccino) Rosso” Note: Some misinformed souls tried to relate the Cappuccini Brotherhood or Monks to the coffee drink called Cappuccino. Some people even invented stories or told lies, depending on how we want to look at it, about the monks and their relationship to the cappuccino coffee drink. The Cappuccino coffee drink has absolutely nothing to do with the Christian order of the Cappuccini Monks – by the way, Cappuccini is plural for cappuccino.