The Adorable Kid-Friendly Cappuccino That Originated In Australia

Maybe you visit your local coffee shop to do remote work; you post up with your laptop and an Americano and bust it for a few hours before moving on to the next coffee shop. Maybe your café visits are sacred solo retreats: a novel or a journal and a dedicated Sunday morning. Or maybe, when you pop down to the café, you're bringing the whole family along.

Parenting outlets like Fatherly and What Should We Do Today? Columbus have written entire articles dedicated to finding kid-friendly coffee shops. There are Reddit forums discussing whether it's appropriate to let your kiddos run around crowded cafes during busy work hours. (It's divisive terrain.) Blogger and stay-at-home parent, Levi Rogers advises, "You can't bring kids to the nice coffee shops ... Everything there is white and polished and made of porcelain or glass. The screams of toddler[s] and the cries of infants do not blend well with the sounds of Tame Impala."

But, while you may not always be able to sit down inside for a cozy pit stop with your little ones, you can totally order them a hot (or lukewarm) drink from the café menu. Plus, to make it easier for parents, Starbucks, Dunkin, and Biggby sell coffee drinks via drive-thru. Introducing the adorable kid-friendly cappuccino that originated in Australia: the babyccino.

What is a babyccino?

Babyccinos started cropping up in cafes across Australia in the early 2000s, and it didn't take long for them to become a permanent fixture on Aussie menus. In 2016, the word "babyccino" was officially added to the Australian National Dictionary; other notable food and drink lexicon entries were "fairy bread" and "nibblies," per InDaily.

According to Barista Institute, the babyccino is warmed milk sprinkled with cinnamon or cocoa powder. The drink is called a "steamer" in North America, says Perfect Daily Grind. As with a cappuccino, the milk for a babyccino is often steamed with the espresso machine wand; other times, the milk is just gently warmed. Unless you choose to add sprinkles or whipped cream, babyccinos are sweetener-free, which eliminates the risk of a sugar high and subsequent crash. But, in many cases, a babyccino contains less sugar than a juice box.  

Per Barista Institute, it's exciting for kids to get their own drinks like the grown-ups. Dearbhla Barron of Signal Box Coffee in Waterford, Ireland says the babyccino "provides kids with a sense of equality." Plus, says Paul Rosenkranz of Quest Coffee Roasters in Queensland, Australia, it keeps kiddos occupied while parents enjoy their own espresso drinks

How to order a babyccino at your local cafe

Babyccinos are typically an off-menu item, but every café has the necessary tools to make it. If they've not heard the term, ordering "A small steamed milk, not too hot, with a little cinnamon on top" should do the trick. At most standard coffee shops, a small is 8 ounces, but it might be a good idea to double-check with your barista if you're worried about getting too large a cup. The most important part of the order is requesting a lower temperature, so it won't be too hot for eager little mouths. Rosenkranz tells Perfect Daily Grind that 105 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal babyccino temperature. (For reference, adult espresso drinks are usually around 149 degrees.)

If your little one can't (or won't) digest regular whole milk, skim or plant-based milk can be steamed for a babyccino in the same way they're steamed when you order a vanilla oat milk latte for yourself. You can even request pumps of flavored syrup —chocolate, caramel, mint, whatever. And if you're wary of the sugar, many coffee shops offer sugar-free vanilla syrup. For treating older kids, Barista Institute suggests add-ins like marshmallows, chocolate chips, sprinkles, whipped cream, or caramel swirls. Now hop in the car, and make that coffee run with kiddos in tow!