Why I Love Cappuccino

cappuccino.jpg"Everyone needs a tagline. And I guess yours is cappuccino?"

That's what my boss said to me as I pulled out my cappuccino shirt and laughed about my recent purchase.

"You really do love it, don't you?" She added.

Still laughing I told her that I had also created business cards with a cappuccino image on them.

"It really is your tagline."

And then another co-worker chimed in.

"Why do you love it so much?"

That answer is easy. But it requires a story:

It starts with falling in love with coffee. You see, I can tell you the exact day that I began loving coffee. I was sitting in the kitchen with my mother, and she was filtering coffee into a mug that had the Starry Night design on it. I hadn't even tasted the coffee, but just the smell had gotten me. It was a scent like none other. The only competition, it had, in fact, and has ever had has been fresh chocolate chip cookies-which come in second place every time. You see, growing up, each time I noticed the steaming aroma moving through the house, I'd walk upstairs and sit with my mother. "One day this mug will be yours," she would tell me, as she sipped from the Starry Night mug.

starrynightmug.jpgThe mug now resides on a shelf in our guest room. When I finally have my own place--I'll inherit it. I dream of my own starry night when I can drink a cappuccino from that mug myself. For now, I just have inherited a love of coffee that I am not sure I can ever lose.

In fact--in high school, I wrote a five minute audition speech comparing high school to a cup of coffee that won me the honor of being one of two class speakers on graduation day. Nearly four years later, I had debated re-writing the coffee metaphor to match college. But I think someone told me that the only speech I should be making about coffee again is at a support group for coffee lovers... "Hi, my name is Libby, and I am a coffee addict."

But it wasn't till my junior year of college that I discovered what a cappuccino was. I traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and into Italy. As I looked at a menu of coffee drinks, I felt like Columbus must have felt when he discovered a new world: Lost and heavenly all at once. There was espresso, and caffe Americano, and caffe lungo, and caffe late, and then--there it was--cappuccino. The only problem was I didn't know what any of these were. I hadn't taken an Italian class yet, and I had become accustomed to ordering a large-hot-caramel flavored coffee at the Dunkin Donuts located on the top of my campus. Everything was foreign to me--except the smell of the coffee shop. I nearly ordered a caffe Americano, but after watching my friends bitter expression, following a sip of her first cup of Joe in Europe, I went for the more fun sounding drink--the cappuccino.

cappucinofoam.jpgIt was then that I never looked back. It was then that I discovered bubbles, and foam, and fun latte art, and the pet peeves of Italians to drink a cappuccino after 10 am. It was then that I learned I didn't mind a coffee drink being so small in comparison to the ones I had always drank in America, because I could just buy more--taste more--treat myself more.

It took me two years to go back to Italy to have a cappuccino, after returning to America. Upon returning to Italy in October of 2010, I began my blog, drank up to 7 cappuccino in one day, attempted to make my own cappuccino (failing miserably), and coffee crawled through northern Italy.

And while my love for cappuccino started accidentally, my continued love has been purposeful.

Because my love for cappuccino is in lots of things. It is in the smooth sound of the steamer as my barista or baristo forms the foam. It's in the latte art I receive on each different occasion. It's in the familiar smell of the aroma that fills a room. It's in the smile my coffee shop friends have when they see my look of ecstasy upon receiving my beautiful mug of deliciousness. It's in the hand(le) to hold on each mug. It's in every cappuccino--even if some can't compete with others. It's in every part of cappuccino. And I don't think it's going anywhere--anytime soon.


Libby Segal is a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island where she studied Communication Studies and Film Media, who currently lives in New York City.