You may know your cappuccino from your latte, but there’s more to milky coffee trends than meets the eye
History has it that milky coffee originated around 1660. According to the well-referenced tome, Coffee: A Connoisseur’s Companion, Johan Nieuhof, the Dutch ambassador to China at the time was the first person to add milk to coffee. This trend later continued in Europe, where milk added to coffee became the norm. Fast-forward to the present day and the penchant for a milky coffee continues. In fact, statistics show that in many western countries the most popular coffee is a latte – which just happens to be the milkiest of the lot.
According to data from Nespresso, three quarters of coffee drinkers globally enjoy a white coffee. And at home, it’s recorded that 70% of South Africans prefer their coffee with milk.
It’s figures like these that drove the pioneering coffee brand to create its new Nespresso Barista Creations range. The development team – comprising coffee roasters, sensory experts, professional baristas, food scientists and engineers – embarked on numerous trials to perfect a milky coffee. Looking at the way that milk interacts with coffee, they experimented with 18 coffee origins from around the world, tested around 20 000 cappuccinos, and eventually refined the ideal blends.
More than just enjoying milk in your coffee these days, the type of milk is just as pivotal. And with the popularity of dairy-free milk alternatives continuing to rise, this is an important factor that cannot be overlooked. From the increase in consumers adopting vegan diets and concerns about antibiotics present in some dairy products, to those who have been diagnosed as lactose intolerant, there are many reasons that the switch to plant milks has sky-rocketed. A few years ago, soya milk, and then almond milk, were the only two alternatives readily available in supermarkets, but nowadays you can pick up anything from hazelnut to oat milk.
The folk at Nespresso took this into consideration when creating the new blends too. So, no matter your preference, the Barista Creations range works equally well with all milk types – whether full-fat cow’s milk is still your favourite, or you’ve opted for a plant-based alternative.
*1 October is International Coffee Day
*According to the International Coffee Organization, global coffee consumption in 2018/19 grew by an estimated 2.1% to 164.84 million bags.
*’Cappuccino’ takes its name from the Capuchin friars: the colour of the espresso mixed with frothed milk was similar to the colour of the Capuchin robe. The Capuchin friars are members of the larger Franciscan orders of monks, and their order was founded in the 16th century in Italy. (Merriam-Webster)
*Legend has it that a previous owner of The Caffe Mediterraneum in Berkeley (California), Lino Meiorin, “invented” the latte and made it a standard drink in the 1950s. The latte was popularised in Seattle in the early 1980s and spread more widely in the early 1990s. (WikiPedia)
*Brazil produces the most coffee in the world, followed by Vietnam