What is a Bone Dry Cappuccino?

Cappuccinos have been part of our culture for centuries. Their origins can be traced to the early 1700s, making its debut in Viennese cafés and late Renaissance coffee shops. Thanks to the worldwide ubiquity it has today, cappuccinos have become a popular espresso choice. Throughout time, cappuccinos have diversified and evolved. Nowadays, there are all kinds of ways one can be ordered.

Dry and wet are the most popular ways cappuccinos are ordered. You can emphasize these two styles further by ordering your cappuccino bone dry or super wet. These specialty orders are developed to accommodate more particular tastes and preferences. So – what are bone dry cappuccinos, and what sets them apart from the other variations?

Don’t worry – there aren’t any actual dry bones in these kinds of cappuccinos. The term refers to the particular preparation method it involves. Here’s the low-down on the different varieties of cappuccino:

Wet Cappuccino

When ordering a wet cappuccino, a barista will prepare it using less foam. The wet aspect is in reference to the higher liquid milk proportion.

The drink’s size does not change – only the ingredients’ ratio does. The outcome will be a beverage that contains a greater amount of steamed milk in proportion to foam.

This variation’s flavor is moderately smoother and sweeter because of the greater amount of steamed milk in it. This results in greater dilution of espresso (or greater integration of the milk), yielding a milkier mouthfeel and flavor (as well as a thin microfoam layer).

Dry Cappuccino

When ordering a dry cappuccino, a barista will prepare it with a lot of foam. 

Dry cappuccinos have a dense, thick milk foam sitting above the espresso. Because the milk foam isn’t really liquid (and in fact as a dry texture/mouthfeel), cappuccinos with a higher ratio of foam are referred to as dry.

Because less liquid milk is added, the richer flavor of the espresso shines through. Dry cappuccinos tend to have a punchier taste than wet cappuccinos.

Super Wet and Bone Dry

The average visitor to a café will probably limit their customization of the cappuccino to dry or wet. Some aficionados may opt to play around with milk ratios further, though.

  • Super Wet: a cappuccino that doesn’t contain any foam – just steamed milk. The beverage more resembles a flat white or latte, as opposed to a cappuccino.
  • Bone Dry: a cappuccino that doesn’t have any steamed milk in it, but with a big foam layer atop the shot of espresso. Your beverage will resemble a macchiato, just with less foam.

Most people ordering cappuccinos tend to opt for a greater ratio of foam to steamed milk.  First, the foam layer is one of the distinguishing features of the cappuccino. However, some people also believe that top foam retains the warmth of espresso for much longer. The foam layer also serves as a latte art-making canvas.  Whatever the reason, bone dry cappuccinos are continuing to grow in popularity all over the world.

How to Prepare a Bone Dry Cappuccino

Want to try out a bone dry cappuccino in your own home? Bypass hectic cafés every morning by following this simple recipe! 

If you own an espresso machine (or even Nespresso or Moka Pot), milk, and a whisk, you can make a bone dry cappuccino without ever leaving the house.

First Step: Milk Steaming

Pour some milk in a saucepan before bringing it to a mild simmer. Use low heat until tiny bubbles begin appearing close to the edges. Take the saucepan off the heat once the bubbles start to form.

Second Step: Milk Frothing

Use a whisk or mixer to froth the milk.  After the forming of foam begins, whisk faster to increase volume. Continue whisking until a sufficient amount of airy, thick foam is present.

Third Step: Grinding

Grind espresso beans using a grinder on the finest setting available. You typically need about two ground tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water.

Fourth Step: Espresso Brewing

Pull an espresso shot.  If you don’t own an espresso machine, you can use a Nespresso or a Moka Pot.

Fifth Step: Add the Foam 

Steam milk can be skipped entirely when making bone dry cappuccinos. Pour the espresso into a mug, filling two-thirds of it. Fill the remaining third with foam. 

You can now relax and sip on a fresh cup of bone dry cappuccino! If you’re looking for something to pair it with, try some biscotti.

Jay Arr

Jay Arr is passionate about everything coffee. What began as a simple interest in the history, production, and brewing of coffee led him to a job as a barista at a national coffee chain. That’s not where Jay’s story with coffee ends, however. Roasting and brewing day in and out, he continued to gather knowledge about all things coffee.

Recent Posts