The cappuccino is, apparently, no more at Starbucks. Hysteria struck in a few major cities when Starbucks updated their menu to show no more cappuccino. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating, but Starbucks did remove the cappuccino from many menus. They say that this simply reflects seasonal menu changes, and that if you order the drink, you can still have it. And I'm sure you can.
But, as a former Starbucks barista, I think this represents something a little bit bigger than that.
The Starbucks Cappuccino has nearly always been a failure. Seriously!! Never have I heard the squeaky noise of over-steamed milk more often than when a new team member was being trained on how to make cappuccinos. And yet, more often than not, they still get it wrong.
Flashback one year:
I used to have a regular customer who ordered a grande, extra hot cappuccino every day. And while I know just as well as the next coffee snob that cappuccinos should never be that big, I (of course) made it every day. He also wanted nonfat milk and very dry, making the aeration process even harder. Every day, I'd ask him how it is, and he'd give me honest feedback, so I could get it right the next day.
So why is it a good thing that Starbucks is getting rid of this form their official menu?
Because cappuccinos, when made poorly at Starbucks, basically turn into lattes.
The milk isn't foamed enough? It'll taste identical to a standard latte.
They order anything bigger than a 12 oz tall? More often than not, it'll taste like a latte.
Starbucks recently added the Flat White to the menu.
Starbucks version of the Flat White actually will taste different from a Starbucks latte even if the milk is steamed incorrectly. How? Because it is made with whole milk (heavily aerated) and two ristretto espresso shots, as opposed to the cappuccino which is made with 2% (like a Starbucks latte) and one regular espresso shot (like a Starbucks latte).
And the flat white is what Starbucks should push!
And I'm not saying that because I don't think people who want to drink cappuccinos should be able to (they still will be able to, even at Starbucks!) But Starbucks isn't a specialty coffee shop: its a chain aimed at creating the exact same drink everywhere you go. And when a simple mistake making a cappuccino makes it taste like a latte, you should stop serving it. Especially since the cappuccino was always advertised in tall, grande and venti sizes, which is just ridiculous.
The flat white has basic differences that cause it to taste different form a latte, even with mistakes. The flat white is only advertised for a 12oz size.
The flat white is Starbucks' future when it comes to less-milky-than-a-latte-but-more-milky-than-an-espresso-macchiato drinks, and they seem to have realized it.
If you're really that set on having a good cappuccino in the morning and need it on the menu, well, you should probably be going somewhere other than Starbucks anyways.
(hint: the cappuccino pictured isn't from Starbucks. But doesn't it look delicious?)