En-gage: Monkey, Friar, or…

Everyone welcome our new writer Ashley. She has a vast education in theater, writing and poerty. Something, something masters degree something, something aweosme. Also welcome her new segment en-gage, where she explores words and how they are part of our world!

caffeinated beverage.

Cappuccino (singular; n.): a hot beverage consisting of espresso coffee and steamed milk, often served with powdered cinnamon and topped with whipped cream.

I’m not sure where dictionary.com is ordering their cappuccini (plural), but if someone dusted mine with cinnamon and whipped cream, my brow would furrow and I’d ask the barista to remake it without the unnecessary frills.


monkey meEmulating the cloaked heads of Franciscan Friars and those cute little monkeys with the fun hair (pictured above), cappuccini (pl.) have a creamy white center rimmed with a rich brown espresso ring.

Traditionally made with whole milk, or perhaps half-n-half if you want more decadence, each sip is smooth with espresso binding to the steamed milk creating velvet caffeine.

Sticking with the traditional way of the cappuccino (s.), order it “for here.” If you’re presented with an ounce option, opt for the smallest size. A cappuccino (s.) should be sipped and enjoyed, but too much milk will mask the coffee and get cold quickly.

If I knew this before Italy, I wouldn’t have met the grandfatherly cappuccini (pl.) man.

While studying in Perugia, Italy, my roommates and I stopped for cappuccini (pl.) on the way to class, before weekend traveling, and when we were stressed. We walked past the coffee shop on Via de Priori every time we left our apartment. A grey-haired, energetic, grandfatherly Italian man was always behind the counter. They were closed on Mondays, somehow having acquired permission to remain open on Sundays and serve the patrons of the church across the street.

After a particularly stressful day, my roommates and I ventured out for evening cappuccini (pl.) and exclaimed “Tre Cappuccino, Per Favore!” Our grandfatherly coffee supplier chuckled and held up one finger, then three. “No no no.Un cappuccinotre cappuccini.”

We barely spoke Italian and he didn’t speak English, but he understood our need for cappuccini (pl.).

Pondering the definition of cappuccini (pl.) in America, I sought one out on my way to work. I drive past The Bardo Coffee House every morning but since moving to Denver, I’ve been diligently making my own coffee. I finally allowed myself to stop. I ordered a small almond milk cappuccino (s.).

It did not look like the hair of a monkey or the head of a friar.


This is probably because it was made with almond milk. Since turning twenty, my dairy tolerance keeps declining. The last time I could stomach a cappuccino (s.) made with cow’s milk was in Italy (2011).

It was not served with cinnamon sugar or whipped cream (thank God). The barista seemed competent and didn’t suggest add-ons that would ruin the flavor.

Even though the presentation wasn’t perfect, I enjoyed this morning cappuccino (s.). Note that if you’re ever in Italy, don’t order a cappuccino (s.) in the afternoon–milk is for the morning.

My definition of cappuccino (s.) is freshly pulled shots of espresso merged with velvet milk substitute.


How do you define cappuccino (s.)?

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