What Is A Bone Dry Cappuccino & How Is It Made?

Whether it’s made by a barista or at home, a decent cappuccino is undoubtedly a treat. While most people are familiar with the classic cappuccino, there’s a small sub-set of different varieties which are less recognized. 

One of those is the bone dry cappuccino which is more similar to a macchiato than other milky coffee beverages.

If you want to try out the different cappuccino variants with your home espresso machine, check out our guide below to learn more:

cappuccino vs macchiato

Main Types of Cappuccino

Did you know that the cappuccino is actually older than the espresso machine?

This foamy coffee beverage goes all the way back to the 18th century, where it was first known as “Kapuziner” in Vienna. It was essentially a mix of coffee, cream, and sugar, giving it a light brown color reminiscent of the Capuchin friar’s robes at the time.

The Italians then adapted the name with the advent of the espresso machine. This modern form of the cappuccino contains one shot of espresso as its base layered with equal parts of steamed milk and an equal amount of milk foam.

This precise and equal ratio gives the cappuccino its unique taste and texture, setting it apart from other coffee beverages.

But there’s a further split, known as the wet or the dry cappuccino. The difference between these variants is actually in the ratios used to make the beverage.

milky espresso

Wet Cappuccino

What sets a wet cappuccino apart from the other variations is the ratio of steamed milk used for the coffee. This type of cappuccino has gained popularity throughout recent years, with most baristas and coffee shops serving this as their standard drink.

If you order a wet cappuccino, your barista will serve you a beverage that is more akin to a latte. It features the same serving size as a classic cappuccino, but it uses more steamed milk in place of the cappuccino foam.

This makes it a slightly sweeter coffee and gives it a richer body and mouthfeel. The steamed milk’s sugars and fat content heavily dilute the espresso, which mellows down and sweetens the coffee’s flavor.

There is also an option to order or make a very wet cappuccino which is essentially a latte or a flat white. It has a thin layer of milk foam or none at all and uses more steamed milk than other cappuccino variations. Micro-foam is essential so handle your steam wand with care if you want a very wet cap.

Dry Cappuccino

At the other end is a dry cappuccino which is more in line with a traditional cappuccino. This variant highlights the espresso and the texture of the milk foam much more than a cappuccino with more steamed milk.

It’s called dry from the dry mouthfeel and texture. 

A dry cappuccino contains a shot of espresso and more milk froth compared to steamed milk. You can also brew with a double shot if you’re after a richer coffee experience.

Traditionally, a dry cappuccino has a thick layer of milk froth on top. Still, some people prefer to drink it with micro-foam, which gives it a creamier texture without cutting through the flavors of the espresso too much.

As we mentioned, most cappuccino drinks these days are on the wet side, so it’s best to tell your barista for a dry one beforehand. As another bonus, it can contain fewer calories than other cappuccinos due to the lower volume of liquid used.

milky coffee

Bone Dry Cappuccino

Like all the other cappuccinos, a bone dry cappuccino calls for one or two shots of espresso and milk. A big difference is that it only contains milk foam, no steamed milk at all.

To make it simple, it is essentially a bigger version of a traditional macchiato, an espresso shot marked by a small dollop of frothed milk.

The thick milk foam gives it a unique texture while still letting the flavors of the espresso shine through. Some coffee lovers also favor a bone dry cappuccino because of the foamy milk which insulates the espresso with its foam pillow, keeping the coffee warm for longer.

Milk foam aside, it’s best to go for top-quality coffee beans since a bone dry cappuccino uses no steamed milk, which would otherwise tend to mask the espresso’s flavors.

Like the other cappuccino variants, you can use micro-foam in your bone dry cappuccino giving it a more velvety mouthfeel. This also allows you to play with latte art when pouring your coffee, just like a barista.

How to make a Bone Dry Cappuccino

With its punchy flavors and an airy texture, if a bone-dry cappuccino is right up your alley, you might be interested in making it in your home just like a pro-barista.

First off, before we go into the steps in making a bone-dry cappuccino, you need to ensure you have the correct type of foamed milk for your coffee.

To get the right foamy texture, you’ll have to position your steam wand correctly when you’re aerating your milk. 

The tip of the steam wand should be placed just below the surface of your milk as this introduces the larger air bubbles that are essential for frothed milk.

Once you’ve positioned it correctly, you will hear a distinct hissing sound and see the foam expand rapidly. Make sure to time it right, as steaming too long can lead to burnt milk which can certainly ruin the taste of your coffee.

This applies to all types of cappuccinos, so make sure to get your foamed milk right before anything else.

Once that’s settled, here are some steps to easily make a bone dry cappuccino.

  • Pre-heat your preferred drinking cup or mug with hot water.
  • Fill up the milk pitcher
  • Froth your milk (make sure you’re in the correct position)
  • Set your foam aside
  • Brew your shot of espresso and place it in your cup.
  • Once brewed, top your espresso with double the level of foamed milk

One tip to keep in mind is that a bone dry cappuccino is essentially one part espresso and two parts milk foam so make sure that you have enough milk to froth with.

Summary

Sounds simple enough, right?

Like other drinks, making a bone dry cappuccino from your home takes a bit of practice, but once you get it down, it might be your preferred morning milky espresso. 

In my opinion, a bone dry cappuccino might be the best way to elevate the mouthfeel and texture of your espresso without changing its flavor.

Don’t worry if a bone dry cappuccino isn’t for you, as there are plenty of different coffee drinks that can satisfy your preferred taste or texture. Whether it’s with milk or just black coffee, keep trying out different espresso based recipes and you’ll find your favorite drink soon enough.

Philip Daniel Felongco

Philip Felongco

Ex-Barista

A life long coffee drinker, Philip has been looking for new ways to enjoy coffee since he started in the coffee industry in 2017. His favorite coffee is a light roast Rwandan single origin. If he’s not binging on food shows or trying out new coffee recipes, you can catch him here at Sip Coffee!