"There was a time when cappuccino was easy to identify. It was a shot of espresso with steamed milk and a meringue-like milk foam on top. But now the onetime king of specialty coffee drinks is having a bit of an identity crisis.
Even among experts, there is considerable disagreement concerning what exactly a cappuccino is, with some of those in the know focusing on the size of the drink as its distinguishing characteristic.
“In the U.S., cappuccino are small, medium and large, and that actually doesn’t exist,” the food and coffee writer Oliver Strand said. “Cappuccino is basically a four-ounce drink.”"
Working in a coffee shop, I've found this cappuccino-confusion to be the case ever since I came to work there. I personally make my Cappuccino as a 5 or 6 ounce drink, with the more traditional-style dollop of foam on top, but that doesn't change the fact that nearly every day you'll get someone coming in and asking for a 12 or 16 ounce cappuccino.
One of the people interviewed said they'd changed their menu to reflect the trend, simply calling their espresso drinks "Espresso with milk" and slotting in the different desired sizes. While it saddens me due to the tradition and knowledge being lost, I'd have to agree that's probably a better way to label things going forward.