Here's How Cappuccino Got Its Name

The delicious cappuccino is an iconic and beloved caffeinated beverage enjoyed at breakfast tables and coffee bars all over the world. Its history, just like the drink's taste, is rich, vibrant, and full of character. This traditional Italian specialty is made by combining hot espresso with a combination of milk — half steamed and half foam. According to Trade Coffee, the cappuccino, while Italian, is quite similar to a Viennese-style coffee made in the neighboring country of Austria.

When this new coffee drink was popularized in the 1900s in Italy, it was given a name that would play on both physical and symbolic characteristics. The name cappuccino comes from two associating Italian names: Cappuccio, meaning hood (via BBC News), and Capuchin, which refers to the Franciscan order known as the Capuchin friars (via Merriam-Webster.) How was one of the world's most popular coffee beverages named after a hood and holy friars? The answer is much simpler than you think.

The Capuchin friar robe inspired the famous coffee

So, who are the Capuchin friars? According to BBC News, the Capuchin friars were more predominant in Italy during the 16th century and initially began as a reform movement in the early 1200s. Their mission was/is primarily based on promoting their faith and attending to the needs of the poor and disenfranchised, as was the calling of their founder, Francis of Assisi (via the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph). Known for more than just their religious beliefs and practices, Capuchin friars also had a unique look. This signature friar look is where the drink cappuccino earned its name. 

Per Merriam-Webster, each Capuchin friar wore a signature warm-brown robe with a long and pointed hood draped behind them. As the story goes, when the espresso and milk in Italy's new favorite beverage blended together, the color closely resembled the brown color of a Capuchin friar's robe and hood (or cappuccio). Further, as Italy Logue explains, "-ino" in Italian is a diminutive and translates to "little," so when added to the end of "cappuccio," it turns "hood" into "little hood." The name cappuccino was born. 

That's not all, joining cappuccino, did you know the capuchin monkey was also named for the friar's wardrobe.