A Coffee Blog

What your coffee says about you

Now that the cappuccino is out of fashion, what will you drink?

Cappuccino lovers worldwide, unite! Your existence is at risk. It was announced this week that Starbucks – the pan-galactic purveyor of coffee-based hot milk products for busy urban professionals – has begun removing cappuccinos from their menus.

Once considered the height of sophistication (in 1964, perhaps), the combination of espresso and frothed milk has failed to withstand competition from lattes, flat whites and drip filters.

The company confirmed that it has stopped offering cappuccinos on its menu in San Francisco, New York and Seattle (the places where the first Starbucks locations appeared).

Unfortunately, when America goes in the direction of chocolate sprinkles and almond milk, Europe tends to follow suit – and it’s probably only a matter of time before alternatives like Costa follow suit. Hopefully, at least in some traditional European countries, the cappuccino will last a little longer.

What did the cappuccino do to deserve this fate?

According to a former Starbucks employee, it’s not as trendy as the stronger, velvety-tasting flat white, and it’s much trickier to make than the latte. 

Apparently, the baristas had a hard time making the right foam. This is strange because any employee in a cafe in Italy can do it perfectly without even calling themselves a “barista”.

The truth is that cappuccino has always achieved its full glory only in its homeland, where it is served in the morning (never after dinner!), in a nice porcelain cup (never in paper!) and remains a subtle little pleasure.

According to a study in the US, cappuccino drinkers will take its loss painfully because those who order cappuccinos are “controlling” and “oversensitive”. As opposed to instant coffee drinkers (“relaxed”), black coffee drinkers (“purists”) and latte drinkers (“neurotics”).

However, careful observations of customers in British coffee shops reveal that things are a bit more complicated than that. You can learn a lot about someone from their daily cup of coffee. 

Here are some suggestions.

Skimmed latte

The diet cola of the hot drink world and the standard choice of the mildly harried mother/career woman. It promises the maternal comfort of warm milk and a light dose of caffeine, but without the calories.

Of course, this is actually only to their detriment, as science now claims that whole milk is less fattening than skim (apparently this has something to do with how the sugars are processed). So many wasted years!

Usually a latte

The choice of the respected man who will never rise above middle management. The gingerbread version used to be preferred – which is kind of silly! However, he likes a bit of strawberry topping now and then.

soybean flat white

An indication that you are dealing with a gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant orthorexic control freak. If you suffer from any of these modern ailments, the worthy order is plain black coffee.

Flat white with almond milk

Same as above, but with a massive Instagram following, her own line of yoga wear, and a bestselling cookbook.

Uhh… can I just… regular coffee… two sugars… oh shit, what do they call it these days?

You can hardly blame an honest pensioner for a moment of panic as the milk machines hiss and the rushing staff fail to understand their order.

Unfortunately, “coffee” ceased to exist sometime in 2003. What you want is called a “white filter” (sort of like brownish dishwater) or a “white Americano” (espresso topped up with too much water.)

Instant coffee

Builders’ coffee can be hard to find outside of fast food joints and church coffee mornings, but when a typical morning cup of coffee costs USD2-3 and someone writes your name on a paper cup with a marker, there’s probably something to do. touted as a stimulant plus, ready in five seconds at a cost of around 2p.

A discreet teapot or box of Gold Blend is the choice of the deadline-chaser who has his priorities straight.

Mango frappuccino

If you’re eight years old, great. If you are older, please reconsider your life priorities.

Double espresso

The choice of the refined intellectual.

Drip filter

Coffee taken to the heights of purity… which is offset by the fact that it costs an arm and a leg, takes forever to brew and is served by people with the attitude of an East Londoner.

Cold press with butter

This is actually a hit. Future historians will draw terrible conclusions from this fact.


You don’t go out much, do you?

Short Cappuccino

Starbucks promises you’ll still be able to get a cappuccino if you really want one. You will just have to not rely on the menu. The same principle applies if you want to order some coffee. 

The sizes listed are grande (large), Medio (extra large) and venti (extra large). Smart people order “short”. It costs less and is quite sufficient.

Meanwhile, while the trendy parts of every major city are being taken over by knock-off independent coffee shops served by bearded hipsters, Starbucks is starting to look like a reasonable, pleasant, even somewhat rebellious proposition.

So a “short cappuccino” paradoxically becomes the most refined thing you can order. And the cycle goes again.

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