Bone dry cappuccinos have become incredibly popular recently and can be found in most coffee shops. But what is it, and should you make it at home?

Bone dry cappuccino is similar to regular cappuccino as it contains espresso. However, it includes no steamed milk and only a thick foam pillow. If you enjoy the taste of espresso and want to lower your coffee’s calories, it’s worth learning how to make bone dry cappuccino at home.

This article explains more about bone dry cappuccinos. It also looks at the differences between wet and bone dry cappuccinos, reasons to drink them, how to make a bone dry cappuccino, and if it’s worth making at home.

What is a bone dry cappuccino?

The term “bone dry cappuccino” is relatively new, but the concept has been around since people first began making cappuccinos in the 1700s.

Like a regular cappuccino, a bone dry cappuccino contains espresso. However, it doesn’t have steamed milk, and the thick foam on top is the only milk content. The absence of steamed milk allows you to enjoy the espresso’s complete flavor profile.

Some people believe that bone dry cappuccinos got the name because they don’t contain milk. However, the lack of milk gives them a grainy, powdery, and slightly dry taste, which could also explain its name.

In the same way regular cappuccinos can contain one or two espresso shots, the same is true for bone dry cappuccinos.

Is a bone dry cappuccino the same as a dry cappuccino?

Many people use the terms “dry” and “bone dry” cappuccino interchangeably, but this is incorrect.

A bone dry cappuccino is not the same as a dry cappuccino, as the only milk it contains is in the foam. A dry cappuccino has a tiny helping of steamed milk followed by a generous amount of microfoam.

Some specialist coffee shops also sell extra-dry cappuccinos, which are halfway between a bone dry and a dry cappuccino. They still contain a tiny amount of milk, but it is typically less than what’s used for a dry cappuccino.

To find your favorite cappuccino variety, it’s a clever idea to experiment with wet, dry, bone dry, and extra-dry cappuccinos and see which one you like best.

Differences between a bone dry and wet cappuccino

Before understanding how to make a bone dry cappuccino and whether or not it’s worth making at home, it’s a good idea to look at the differences between a bone dry cappuccino and a wet cappuccino.

A wet cappuccino is also known as a regular cappuccino and is the most commonly-ordered cappuccino variety.

Homemade wet cappuccino.
Wet cappuccino

There are many differences between bone dry and wet cappuccinos, but they also share a few similarities. Both are considered cappuccinos, contain espresso, and have a foam pillow on top.

However, that is where their similarities end, and below are some critical differences between bone dry and wet cappuccinos:

Comparison: Bone dry cappuccino: Wet cappuccino:
Espresso? Yes, one espresso shot Yes, one espresso shot
Milk used Contains no milk, only milk foam Typically includes whole or low-fat milk plus milk foam
Flavor notes Rich, bold, and somewhat bitter taste Sweeter and more diluted espresso taste due to the milk content
Texture Powdery, grainy, and slightly dry texture Smooth, silky, rich, and creamy texture

If you were wondering what’s meant by a super-wet cappuccino, as you may have guessed, it contains the most amount of steamed milk out of all the cappuccino types.

Super-wet cappuccinos can also be called lattes and are normally served in tall coffee glasses.

Tip: Check out this in-depth article about the differences between a wet and dry cappuccino to learn more!

Reasons to make or order a bone dry cappuccino

Now that you’ve learned about the similarities and differences between a regular (or “wet”) cappuccino and a bone dry cappuccino, let’s discuss the reasons to order or make a dry cappuccino:

  • It allows you to enjoy the full flavor of the espresso. If you love the taste of rich and robust coffee, you’re likely to love bone dry cappuccino. The lack of milk allows you to enjoy the espresso’s robustness.
  • Bone dry cappuccino contains fewer calories. When trying to lose weight, an easy strategy is to cut out calorie-rich drinks, including wet cappuccinos. A bone dry cappuccino lets you enjoy your favorite drink without feeling guilty.
  • It’s an excellent idea if you love trying different coffee types. Some coffee fans like trying new coffee varieties, and a bone dry cappuccino is a superb way to experiment.
  • Bone dry cappuccino provides the perfect canvas for coffee foam art. With its extra-thick foam layer, it’s easy to create beautiful coffee foam art on a bone dry cappuccino.
  • Better suited to those sensitive to lactose. A bone dry cappuccino might not be suitable if you’re lactose intolerant. However, it’s a better option than a wet cappuccino if you’re sensitive to lactose.
  • Bone dry cappuccino remains hot for longer. If you like to take a long time to savor your coffee, a bone dry cappuccino keeps its heat for longer because of the thick foam layer.

How do I make a bone dry cappuccino?

Trying a bone dry cappuccino is the ideal opportunity to get acquainted with straight shots of espresso if you’ve never tried it.

You don’t need to be a barista to make a bone dry cappuccino, and it’s possible to make it at home. It is, however, more complicated to make than a regular cappuccino as you need to create a large quantity of milk foam.

If you already know how to make a macchiato, which is an espresso shot with a tiny amount of foam, you’ll find it easier to make a bone dry cappuccino.

I’ve compared the macchiato and cappuccino in this article, which you can check out if you’re interested in learning about their differences.

Comparison between a macchiato and cappuccino.
Macchiato on the left. Cappuccino on the right

To make a bone dry cappuccino, you’ll need a jug large enough to accommodate the milk foam, a steam wand, and an espresso maker.

If you don’t have a steam wand, you can also froth the milk using various other techniques. You can check out six different ways to froth milk in this article to learn more about it.

Since there will be no milk to soften the espresso taste, consider using high-quality Arabica espresso beans, which are not as bitter as Robusta beans. You’ll also taste the flavor notes more effectively, and your drink will be less grainy.

Coffee beans used for espresso-making.

To help retain your cappuccino’s heat, consider warming up your cup with hot water before you start preparing it.

Here’s how to make a bone dry cappuccino:

  1. Heat the milk and then aerate it in your jug with a steam wand to create a large amount of foam and set it aside.
  2. Brew one or two espresso shots and pour them into your cup.
  3. Top the espresso with twice the amount of milk foam.

Most baristas heat milk for cappuccinos to 150°F (65.56°C) for the optimal temperature. You might think about investing in a thermometer to measure the ideal milk heat.

Creating large amounts of foam for a bone dry cappuccino is the trickiest part of the process.

If you’re struggling to aerate the milk properly, remember to place the steam wand just below the surface of the milk. This creates larger bubbles more quickly, which is vital as steaming the milk for too long can burn it and negatively affect the taste.

A bone dry cappuccino has double the amount of foam as espresso. Pouring the correct quantity of milk in the jug for the amount of foam you need can also be tricky.

Generally speaking, around 10 oz (300 ml) of milk is enough to make foam for a bone dry cappuccino. Once you’ve added the milk foam, you can create coffee art on top, which is fun for many people.

You can also finish your cappuccino with a dusting of cocoa powder or ground cinnamon, like so:

Dusting a cappuccino with cinnamon.

Is it worth making a bone dry cappuccino at home?

It’s worth making a bone dry cappuccino at home if you enjoy tasting the espresso’s rich, bold aroma and you would like a low-calorie drink. In this case, the time and effort spent learning how to make a bone dry cappuccino will pay off.

Making a bone dry cappuccino requires a lot of skill and is not as easy as making a regular cappuccino.

Creating the right amount of milk foam and getting the temperature correct can be difficult to get right and it takes a lot of practice.

If you’d like to make bone dry cappuccinos at home, you may need to invest in a few items. You’ll need a good espresso machine, which can be pricey.

You’ll also need a steam wand and a 20 oz (600 ml) steel jug for the milk. Some folks also need a thermometer to ensure that the temperature is optimal.

Final thoughts

A bone dry cappuccino has a similar taste to espresso as it contains no milk and only a thick foam layer. This cappuccino type is made by placing one or two espresso shots in your cup and then adding twice the amount of milk foam.

The main difference between a wet and dry cappuccino is the milk content. A wet cappuccino contains espresso, a layer of steamed milk, and a thin foam pillow.

Making a bone dry cappuccino at home is tricky, but if it’s your favorite cappuccino variety, it’s worth investing in a costly espresso machine and a steam wand.

More espresso-based drinks to try

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