Cappuccino Run

How a coffee shop makes its cappuccinos says a lot.  One can drown bad coffee in sweet milk, but when a cappuccino is made properly it shows off (or exposes) both the quality of the bean as well as the skill of the barista.  I’m not trying to be a snooty douche, but cappuccinos really are tasty and also seem to brighten my day (though that is probably just the effect of a copious amount of caffeine….).

There are many coffee shops in Madison, though I typically only frequent a few; so, I think it might be fun to have an excuse to visit some of the others.   For this reason, I’m going to start reviewing the cappuccinos made in every Madison coffee shop.  I won’t venture into the suburbs (anything outside of downtown and the ‘near’ sides) because I don’t like it there.  A Cappuccino ‘crawl’ has been done before in Madison by an espresso snob (the kind that compares everything to how it is in Italy) but he did not comment extensively on shops individually.  So,  perhaps I’ll be contributing something to useless human knowledge of the internet.

Here is the list, derived from the Annual Manual:


Barriques Coffee Trader


Electric Earth Cafe

Escape Java Joint and Gallery

Espresso Royale

Fair Trade

Froth House

In the Company of Theives

Indie Coffee


Mother Fool’s


Steep and Brew

Café Soleil

I’m going to try to be as scientific as possible but I’m not sure how easy that will be for such a subjective activity.  I’ll rate them on the following criteria:

Smoothness: Bitter cups will get a low score.

Presentation: How the cappuccino looks.

Strength: A sufficiently robust cup will get a high score, a milky one will earn a low score.

Complexity: If the cup seems to have hints of several flavors it scores highly.

Foam: How smooth and sweet the foam is.

Correctness: How much the cappuccino matches the typical specifications of a 5oz   drink of 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk, 1/3 foam.

This may take a while…..

7 thoughts on “Cappuccino Run”

  1. Is Cafe Soleil on the square not on your list? I look forward to getting a cappuccino there whenever I can. They are so good at making them that they even get skim milk to taste creamy. You should add it to your list.

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