Before we get right into talking klatch about the cappuccino machine, we must first pay homage to our dear religious brethren who made and/or gave us the name to such a delightful beverage for us to enjoy.
So let us take a small diversion and discuss the Capuchin friars who allegedly as the story goes created the cappuccino for our enjoyment, or at the very least lent their name to it. Well, that last part is a bit of a jest, I imagine they created the cappuccino for their own enjoyment! It has been theorized that the cappuccino got its name from the Capuchin friars either because of their habits which are that off white color or because of their heads. You’ve seen the classic monk look, the white head with the ring of brown hair around it. That’s what a cappuccino will look like. As you can see from the photo.
The Capuchin friars are an offshoot of the Franciscan monks whom many of us know. They are obviously then a Catholic religious order and their founding in 1520 and their early struggles in those early years would make a terrific Dan Brown novel. However, as usual I’m rambling and straying from the topic on this post. Enough said about the friars. Let’s move on to the cappuccino machines.
Understanding the cappuccino machine
A cappuccino machine is a little bit of a misnomer, as it is really an espresso cappuccino machine. In as much that any cappuccino machine will allow you, if you’re skillful enough, to create a variety of hand made, artisanal espresso based beverages. Strike that, cappuccino coffee machines will allow you to create practically any steamed milk beverage whether with espresso or coffee or without.
So really, when you’re looking for a cappuccino machine you are really looking for an espresso machine. The rest of this article will focus on what some of the benefits are and some of the prominent features to look out for in an espresso machine.
The espresso machine has actually been around a lot longer than many people imagine. It was first developed in 1901 and since then, a variety of designs have been developed. The most common type of espresso machines are either, steam driven espresso machines, piston driven espresso machines or pump driven espresso machines. And generally, their cost increases in that same order.
Types of cappuccino machine
The piston driven espresso machine was developed in Italy (of course!) in 1945 by Achille Gaggia, and you’ll most likely have heard of that name as his company became Gaggia which supplies and manufactures high end, excellent quality coffee makers and espresso machines. Back in the day, the piston driven espresso machine had a lever on it that you pulled to force the water through the cappuccino machine, and that is why you’ll still hear baristas talking about “pulling the shot” of espresso.
The pump driven espresso machine was also developed by an Italian company. In 1965 the company named Faema developed the first one and even today these are still only used on high end home espresso machines and commercial machines.
There has also been a recent development as in the last several years only, of the air pump driven espresso machine which used compressed air to force the water through the espresso grinds. Nowadays, most espresso machines come with a steam wand which allows for creating those steamed milk, steamed soy hand crafted beverages that we spoke about earlier.
With most manual cappuccino machines, you can vary the taste of the espresso a few different ways. You can adjust the ground of the espresso, you can adjust the pressure or tightness that you pack the espresso beans into the espresso tamper and you can also adjust the pressure of the water pushed through the espresso grounds.
That’s it folks, that’s the cappuccino machine in a nutshell. I’m sure we’ll discuss it further as time goes by. But generally, when looking at an espresso machine, I’d suggest getting one with a steam wand at least. You can also get them with coffee brewers attached but that’s up to you. I prefer my cappuccino machine as a stand alone unit and a coffee maker separately.