I stopped by this cafe again this morning. I think it's going to be a regular Wednesday morning stop.
Anyway, I ordered a large cappuccino. The barista held up the cup, which was about the size of a Starbucks tall (which is small) and warned me that they use "Italian ratios." I guessed that he meant they use far less steamed milk per shot of espresso than Starbucks and many other cafes, but I asked him to explain. He confirmed what I was thinking.
When I first began to order cappuccino at Starbucks, my reaction was that they're adding far too much milk, so I would instruct them to use less milk. They didn't like handing me a half-filled cup, so I changed my cappuccino order to "bone dry," meaning fill the cup entirely with foam. It's a pain in the neck for them (takes longer), but they seem to prefer that to serving a half-filled cup to a customer.
I've wondered why Starbucks adds so much milk to cappuccinos, and sometimes I would doubt my childhood recollections from a time when cappuccino was only served in Italian restaurants that owned a cappuccino machine, like the restaurant I worked at when I was 16. I guess my recollections are correct. I assume Starbucks test markets all their drinks, and they learned that people who order cappuccino don't really want traditional cappuccino. They want something that's more like a latte.