In the coffee sector, few drinks are as iconic as the cappuccino.
The balance of fresh espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam creates a harmony of flavours that has made it the go-to drink around the world.
In fact, it is the second most popular coffee in the UK, with 48% of consumers choosing a cappuccino when at a café.
While many prefer to drink cappuccinos from their favourite coffee shops, the Covid-19 pandemic forced most places to close their doors and offer takeaway options only.
As a result, roasters and café owners have to select a cup that preserves a cappuccino’s unique qualities for all who enjoy it.
Read on to find out more about choosing the best cups for your takeaway cappuccinos.
The rise of takeaway coffee orders
The Covid-19 pandemic had a massive impact on the frequency and nature of specialty coffee consumption.
The good news is coffee sales are bouncing back. In the UK, many independent cafés have almost recovered their pandemic losses and expect to grow their revenue as restrictions lift.
This can be done through new sales opportunities, including a focus on cafés within local neighbourhoods, and those offering drive-thrus. In fact, almost 60% of respondents would buy beverages from a drive-thru if the option was available.
Furthermore, there has been an increase in online sales such as coffee subscription services or “click and collect” options.
The “click and collect” option has directly increased takeaway coffee sales. Research reveals almost 70% of respondents have downloaded a café loyalty phone application in the past year.
Additionally, a third of respondents have purchased a beverage via “click and collect” over the same period. Close to a quarter revealed they would use a coffee delivery service if it were available.
Therefore, roasters and cafés should focus on the quality of their takeaway offerings, as it can help increase coffee sales.
Important characteristics of cappuccinos
The modern-day cappuccino was invented in Italy during the 1900s. Initially, it was made with 25ml of espresso and 100ml of milk whipped with steam.
Since then, the drink has grown in size to an average of 240ml. In fact, in 2016, the World Barista Championship (WBC) changed its definition of a cappuccino to whatever volume the barista prefers.
Cappuccinos have unique characteristics that add to their visual and sensory appeal. The most obvious of this is its foam layer.
When serving specialty coffee drinks with milk, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) says milk temperatures should not exceed 70°C (158°F) or drop below 50°C (122°F).
Milk that is too cool can produce a thin foam with no visible bubbles. Overheated milk, however, can impact the coffee’s taste and aroma.
Ideally, the range of 55°–65°C (139°–149°F) can produce a stable and textured foam that complements the drink’s taste. It may also result in a drink served at a lower temperature than black coffee or espresso.
As foam is typically unstable, it may start to collapse within two to three minutes after pouring. You will notice the smaller bubbles disappearing and larger ones growing before the layer disintegrates entirely.
Interestingly, foam art can help stabilise foam. Therefore, some baristas may add it to cappuccinos even though it is usually associated with latte art.
Many factors can affect how long a cappuccino’s foam layer lasts. For example, if it is prepared with low-fat or plant milk, the foam may dissipate quicker.
Additionally, dark roasted coffee may contain more soluble carbon dioxide, which diffuses quickly and shortens the foam’s lifespan.
How to choose takeaway cups for your cappuccinos
The right takeaway cup for your cappuccino can help preserve its special qualities and extend the drinking experience for the customer.
When serving cappuccinos, time is of the essence. So, choosing cups that will preserve the coffee’s temperature is essential.
It is estimated coffee takes around ten minutes to cool to room temperature. However, if you are serving cappuccinos during colder weather, you may want to consider double walled takeaway cups.
Double wall cups are sturdy and have an insulating layer that helps slow the cooling process.
Alternatively, sleeved, single wall cups can be a slightly more cost-effective option. However, they are not as durable as double walled cups.
Furthermore, while single wall cups preserve heat, they can also become too hot to hold, which means you may have to use an additional sleeve for protection.
For example, an experiment revealed coffee served in a cup with a sleeve helped reduce the surface temperature by roughly 30°C (86°F). Comparatively, the double wall reduced its surface temperature by around 10°C (50°F).
Equally important is including a lid with your takeaway cup. This can help prevent the cappuccino from cooling too quickly as the heat rises out of the cup.
Also, you may want to choose a takeaway cup that is slightly larger than the cappuccino being served. A larger cup can help you preserve the drink’s visual appeal by creating space between the foam layer and the lid.
Notably, customers are willing to pay more for coffees with foam art. According to the Journal of Sensory Studies, they are seen as higher value than those without.
Important to realise is your takeaway coffee cups do more than preserve your drinks unique characteristics. It can tell customers a lot about your business, including its commitment to sustainability.
Choosing a cup made with recyclable materials can help lessen the environmental impact of your business. Furthermore, you can choose to brand the cup, lid and sleeve with your business logo and instructions for proper recycling.
Even your branding can be eco-friendly with sustainable water-based inks. Not only are these highly resistant to abrasion, heat, and water, they are compostable and easy to remove for recycling.
Choosing a takeaway cup for distinctive drink offerings does not have to be a challenge if you choose to work with a specialty coffee packaging specialist.
MTPak Coffee offers roasters and café owners a wide range of packaging options that balance sustainability and performance, and are tailored for the coffee sector.
Our range is made from eco-friendly materials including recyclable and compostable kraft paper bags, rice paper packaging, and sustainable water-based inks.
We also offer a number of sizes, including 8oz, 16oz, and 24oz.