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Patiently waiting in line at your favorite high street coffee shop, you hear the customer up ahead order a bone dry cappuccino. What the hell is that? Is that drink from a secret menu you have yet to discover?
Everyone has heard of a classic cappuccino. Even wet and dry variations are fairly well known, but bone dry? Is that even a thing?
As you know, here at Bean Ground, we like to ensure all our aspiring home baristas are up to speed on the latest coffee trends and brewing methods. So we’ve got your back on this.
If that customer’s order has got you intrigued, stick around because, in this article, I have taken a closer look at this designer cappuccino.
Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is A Dry Cappuccino?
The humble cappuccino has evolved over the years, and believe it or not, there are several versions to choose from last time I checked.
The dry cappuccino is indeed a “thing” and stands alongside other variations like wet, dry, and even super wet.
To be able to wrap your head around the concept of a bone dry cappuccino, it’s probably a good idea to start by dissecting the classic first.
The original cappuccino is made using three equal parts of espresso, a layer of steamed milk, and a final layer of milk foam resting on the top.
Although, you will find that most baristas will often prepare theirs using a double shot of espresso rather than the classic single shot.
So that’s the classic cappuccino.
The dry cappuccino is very different, and personally, I wouldn’t even call it a cappuccino; it deserves its own name – because It only consists of two layers.
Essentially it’s just coffee and foam.
A bone dry cap is just a shot of espresso with only milk foam on top. A standard cappuccino has a layer of steamed milk. However, that layer is left out entirely with the bone dry version.
The foam layer is so dense and thick that I have even seen people ask the barista at the counter for a spoon so they can eat the foam – weird, I know, but each to their own.
Many people believe that the bone dry cappuccino got its name because it does not contain any milk.
If this is true or not, I can’t say, but one thing for sure is the lack of milk gives the drink a grainy powdery texture and flavor, which feels dry in the mouth.
Bone Dry Cappuccino vs. Dry: What’s The Difference?
So if a bone dry cappuccino is just espresso and foam, what’s the deal with a dry cappuccino?
Honestly, the dry version is not too dissimilar to the classic. Although it’s termed as “dry,” it still contains steamed milk; this version just has slightly less than the standard cappuccino.
The base layer is a shot of espresso followed by a small amount of steamed milk and topped off with foam – the reduction of steamed milk is typically compensated by the barista adding more milk foam.
Bone dry and dry, … how about a wet cappuccino?
What Is A Wet Cappuccino?
With so many variations on the standard cappuccino, it’s hard to keep up, but yes, there are also wet versions.
Essentially a wet cappuccino is the opposite of a dry one. The base layer is still espresso, but the amount of steamed milk increases, and the foamed milk layer on top decreases.
With ratios like this, you’re definitely edging towards caffe latte territory.
How Do You Make A Bone Dry Cappuccino At Home?
So have I piqued your curiosity, and you want to try and make a bone dry cappuccino at home? Alrighty then.
If you can make a regular cappuccino, you shouldn’t have any issue making the bone dry version; as long as you have a large steaming pitcher and an espresso machine with a steam wand or other means to froth milk, you’re all set.
However, compared to a regular cap, you will need to create a large amount of milk foam, and if you don’t have any use for the leftover steamed milk, it can be painful to watch it being poured down the drain.
Homemade Bone Dry Cappuccino Basics
- Add your milk to your steaming jug, and using a steam wand, slowly aerate the milk. The trick to creating thick foam is gradually pulling the pitcher down and trying to break the bubble with the steam.
- Continue doing this until you reach a temperature of around 110-120 F. Once the frothed milk is done, tap the pitcher on your countertop a few times and also use a spoon to hit the sides. By doing this, you will pop more bubbles – you can literally watch them pop milk froth as you tap.
- Wait for approximately 40 to 60 seconds for the milk to separate from the foam. While waiting, prepare your espresso shot and pour it into a preheated cup.
- Next, use a spoon and gently scoop up mounds of velvety foam and layer it on top of your espresso base layer. Don’t be shy. Fill your cup to the top with foam until you have an impressive dome shape on the top.
- Lightly sprinkle the top with chocolate powder for a sweet, bitter flavor, and enjoy.
Just bear in mind that you can’t use non-dairy milk as it’s almost impossible to create a thick foam.
Although, if you don’t mind experimenting at home, coconut milk and oat milk are probably the easiest non-dairy to try and froth – if you enjoy a challenge!
So there you have it. The meaning of a bone dry cappuccino. It’s just espresso and milk foam.
And if you see someone “eating” theirs with a spoon, don’t freak out it’s actually something people do. Weird, I know but hey, who am I to judge?
If you’re a regular cappuccino drinker, try switching up your order next time you’re at your favorite coffee shop; order a dry cap and see how it tastes.
If you enjoy a stronger-tasting coffee, you might enjoy the less diluted espresso base layer.
It’s a shame that a large amount of leftover milk must be wasted to create that thick foamy layer.
Just a word of warning. Almost all baristas hate having to make bone dry cappuccinos. So if you get strange stares or even confused looks from the guy standing behind the counter, that’s probably the reason why especially if there’s a long line waiting at the counter.