I'm not a Barista
By Laura Mills
Weekends I frequently find my husband and me at a coffee shop, where one of my favorite drinks to order is a latte. This past weekend, though, on a whim, I ordered a cappuccino. Now basically, both drinks include espresso and steamed milk; the only major difference as far as I know is that a cappuccino includes a foam cap while a latte doesn't. The drinks may be served or presented differently, depending on the restaurant or venue, but once a customer sips past the top of the mug the basic beverages taste more or less the same.
What I find interesting here is that merely the addition of that foam cap is enough to create a completely different menu item with a whole new identity. I'm guessing baristas will tell you some customers only ever order lattes and some only ever order cappuccinos; is it truly because theyíre particular about the presence or absence of foam? Why else might a customer prefer one over the other?
Speaking for myself, I realized this weekend that I've usually ordered lattes simply because it's what I've always done. I actually enjoy cappuccinos just as much. It's a small realization, yes, but still a clue that maybe I should take time to look past something's name and the top of my cup at all the wonderful stuff that's really out there.