Volume. XX, No. 40
Sunday, 02 April 2006

From the Pastors Heart: Cappuccino

Early in the morning at home, in the middle of the day at the office, in the evening at the dinner table, or at any time when we are surrounded by our loved ones or when we are thinking deeply, coffee aroma has a special attachment to our feelings and emotions.  According to the International Coffee Organization, 116,428,000 sixty kilogram bags of coffee were produced by exporting countries in 2004, making coffee the second most widely traded commodity, only behind  petroleum.  There are so many kinds of coffee roasts and flavours, and sometimes we do not know what to choose from the many varieties at cafes.  We read the names of diverse varieties, but we do not know their differences.  Some coffee tastes very bitter like charcoal, and some taste “chocolaty”.  Some people drink “flat white coffee,” without knowing that there is actually real white coffee brewed out of fair coloured coffee beans. Mocha is a port in Yemen, near the southern end of the Red Sea, and it has not been a port of significance since the late 1800s.  Mocha referred to those beans shipped from the port of Mocha.  Later on, these Yemeni beans were blended with the beans grown in Java and became known as Mocha Java. Unfortunately, we cannot taste this specially blended coffee today because a blight of coffee leaf rust wiped out the old Java stock of coffee trees more than a hundred years ago. Today, Mocha coffee is a mixture of other coffee beans, mixed with a small quantity of chocolate.  Just in case, you do not know, the top ten coffee-producing countries are Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, Ethiopia, India, Guatemala, Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), and Uganda. 

There are so many terms related to coffee.  According to the types of drinks, there are Americano (an espresso beverage made with one shot of espresso into a cup of hot water); Cappuccino (a beverage made with a shot of espresso with equal parts of steamed and foamed milk. The steamed milk is mixed with the espresso, but the foamed milk sits on top. Overall ratio is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 foamed milk.); Doppio (a drink made with 2 shots of espresso, and 1 shot of hot water); Espresso (a form of coffee made by drawing steam through ground coffee under pressure. Espresso is much richer and more concentrated than standard drip coffee. It is used as a base for a variety of popular drinks, such as cappuccinos and lattes); Latte (a beverage made with a shot of espresso in a cup of steamed milk. Overall ratio is 1/3 espresso, 2/3 steamed milk); and Macchiato (a shot of espresso with just a dab of steamed or foamed milk on top).  For those people who cannot sleep at night and if they do take some caffeine, let me give them a chart of caffeine content for them to ponder and for comparison: Double espresso (2 oz) has 45-100 mg, brewed coffee (8 oz) 60-120 mg, instant coffee (8 oz) 70 mg, decaf coffee (8 oz) 1-5 mg, black tea (8 oz) 45 mg, green tea (8 oz) 20 mg, white tea (8 oz) 15 mg, coca cola (12 oz can) 34 mg, pepsi (12 oz can) 38 mg, 7 up (12 oz can) 0 mg, chocolate milk (8 oz) 4 mg, dark chocolate (1 oz) 20 mg, and milk chocolate (1 oz) 6 mg.

You may be wondering why I am writing an article about coffee.  Of course, my intention is neither to write about coffee nor to promote coffee drinking.  I would like to write about cappuccino and the unknown stories behind it.  Until I came to Australia, I do not recall that I had ever heard of cappuccino.  Nowadays, when I go to a market place, or when I meet someone in the city, I sometimes love to take a cup of cappuccino.  I like the milk foams and sprinkled chocolate, though the latter does not have anything to do with cappuccino coffee.  A cappuccino differs from a cafe latte, which is mostly milk with a little foam.  The "iced cappuccino" beverage is a misnomer since there is no way to duplicate the foam on top of the hot beverage.  Instead, espresso and cold milk on ice is called an iced cafe latte. An espresso macchiato is a shot of espresso "stained" with a dollop of milk foam.

Surprisingly, the origin of the name, cappuccino, does not have anything to do with its inventor’s name or any name of location.  Instead, it is found in the brown hooded robes worn by the Capuchin order of Franciscan friars.  The order of Capuchins was, in turn, named after the capucize (cappuccio), or long pointed cowl, worn by the friars.  Of course, there are other legends related to its name.  Some people fondly say that the origin of cappuccino is as follows: “Capuchin monks shave a neat bald circle in the exact centre of their hair, and that Italian locals have long joked that the result -- a ring of dark hair framing a white shaved spot of skin -- looks uncannily like foamy white milk encircled by the brown stain of espresso. Hence the word cappuccino.”  In order to know more about cappuccino, we need to know about the cemetery of the capuchins.  When you think about cemetery, you may think of various graveyards.  If you want to see more, then you will need to be led by Capuchin monks into their monastery.  Their cemetery and catacombs are part of a large complex which also house the Capuchin Monastery, built in 1533. In 1623, the church part of the complex was remodelled, and was again restored in the early 1900s.

When you walk through a winding stairway, you will find a tiny room painted sky blue. There you will see a panoramic display of bones in flat, elaborate patterns adorning the walls, floor and ceiling. The yellow-brown scapulae and vertebrae, fibulae and tibiae, are arranged against the blue plaster. Shelves are erected to hold the skeletal, decomposing remains of monks dressed in their frocks, clutching wooden crosses as tough, and aged flesh dangled from their withered fingers. On the floor, there are dirt mounds imitating graves, but there are no occupants in them.  Instead, they had been disassembled and their skeletons scattered and arranged among the rest.  When Capuchin Brother Silvestro from Gubbio died in 1599 his body was, for some unknown reason, placed in a well. Within a year his remains had mummified, the result of the tufaceous soil in the region. Soon, other monks wanted to be mummified upon their death. Bodies were therefore placed in cells called 'strainers', dug into the subsoil in the crypt beneath the church.  It took approximately eight months for the flesh to dry. Mummification was outlawed in 1881, although in the 1920s a special permission granted one last body to be admitted into the catacombs.

Next time, when you go out for a cup of cappuccino, remember the bones in the Capuchin cemetery, and the brevity of your own life.  All flesh will return to dust, and wise men and women ought to ask the Lord for the wisdom to number their own days.  Until we see the Lord Jesus again, behind every pleasure there is sorrow also.  If we can learn a lesson that our life is like vapours in the morning, as we drink cappuccino, we are not wasting our money for the coffee.  James 4:13-17 reads, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No.  39: What is the duty which God requireth of man? The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will. 

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Edwin D’Mello’s mum & Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Winston Selvanayagam, Thomas Tan, John Tann, & Kevin Tye; Sisters Kimmy Chong, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Gillian Ong’s grandfather, Aranka Rejtoe (Hampstead), Susan Veradi, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law, Auntie Oei and others afflicted with illness. "Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord heal me; for my bones are vexed” (Ps 6: 2).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions: Bro Roth Phannith & Ministry (Paillin); b) Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam; c) Pakistan Missions - God to provide a keyboard ($700) for church use and a wheel chair (US$170) for wife of Dr A D Shakir; d) Journey Mercies -  Sis Lydia Tan (Adl) & Maureen Tan (Perth); e) Ministry of Bro Hai Seng Lim in Thailand; f) Career change & Medicine course - Sis Maureen Tan.

Praise and Thank God for – a) YAF Video Night; b) Welcomers’ dinner - newcomers & helpers; c) Journey mercies - Sisters Joyce Gong, Su Sim Toh, Serene Wong, & Mag Yu (Adl), Lydia Tan (Bangkok); & others who have travelled; d) Contribution to our church and our lives by Sis Maureen Tan over the last 4 years.

Glory to our Merciful God for His loving care, guidance & provision on Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren as they celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on Thursday, 30 March (Psalm 37:4-5).

Congratulations and God’s blessing on the wedding of Sis Mariam Opaskiattikul today.

Special Item of Prayer: For the LORD to provide $17,075 for Pastor’s car.

RPGs for April-June available on the literature table. Donation: $1 per booklet.

Please Note: Resurrection (Easter) Sunday Worship Service at campsite, Victor Harbour.

Looking Ahead: Easter Family Bible Camp, 14-17 April, at Adare Conference Centre, Wattle Drive, Victor Harbour. Speaker: Rev Colin Wong. Theme : “Christian Living”.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041