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COVID killed the Cappuccino - Opinion

It is undeniable that the COVID pandemic has changed us all both on the local and global level. It seems like a lifetime ago we were able to walk into our favorite cafe, order at the counter, take a beautifully constructed coffee to our tables, sit down and enjoy. Now we are going through an Omicron spike and life doesn't feel like it has progressed, even if science has. 

Back then, whispers of a virus started to spread like wildfire and what seemed like a problem on distant shores soon came to hit every corner of the planet and our local neighborhoods. The knee-jerk reaction was to close doors and ride out the looming catastrophe. However, that was not sustainable was it?

As quickly as cafes and restaurants shuttered they pivoted and reopened doors to customers on a to-go basis only. Down came the ceramic cups and saucers from the tops of espresso machines and up went piles and piles of paper to go cups. 

The move from ceramic to paper put the final nail in the coffin of the traditional cappuccino. Gone went the default 6oz traditional cappuccino in ceramic to the larger 8oz to go paper cup. Also gone was the idea of a traditional 6oz cappuccino. It was replaced with explanations and apologies of “sorry our smallest cup is 8oz” and strangely the Cortado became the “oh you mean a “cortado” NOT a cappuccino”...

Now we should pause and explain beverages as they pertain to the traditional espresso menu. The name and sizes typically are somewhere around the following in volume and cup size.

  • Espresso 1/ 1.5 oz in a 2.5 to 3oz cup
  • Cortado or it’s “cooler” west coast cousin the Gibraltar 4 oz in a 4oz glass
  • Traditional Cappuccino 6oz in a 6oz cup
  • Latte 12oz in a 12oz cup.

Once the ceramic cups came off the espresso machine and the 6oz ceramic cup was replaced with a 8oz paper cup I immediately started to feel self conscious. There was so much confusion about my order of a 6oz cappuccino all of a sudden. I thought my Australian accent was jaring and possibly even more so because it was coming out from behind a facemask. Was that why baristas were saying sorry we don’t have a 16 oz coffee cup after I ordered? 

My wife Chelsea opted out of being present when I ordered my 6oz ounce cap as she no longer could witness the barista and I go through the song and dance of trying to ascertain my order. All this just left us yearning for 2019, for life to go back to normal again, a yearning that has not left us. 

COVID be gone so we can get our beloved 6oz cappuccino back and now that there is a disposable cup shortage maybe, just maybe this'll happen sooner rather than later...


Deaton Pigot

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