This is a guest post. I’m Donovan.  You can refer to me as the sidekick, driver, baby-holder, husband… any of those will do.  You’ll be hearing from me from time to time.

The other day I caught wind of something mysterious called a “Gibraltar”.  As a fan of anything espresso-related, my interest was piqued.  How had I not heard of this before?

The Gibraltar has its origins at Blue Bottle Coffee circa 2005.  It’s one of those things that grew out of circumstance and experimentation, found an unlikely following, and has been around ever since.  In fact, it’s even on the menu at places in LA, New York and London.  And the interesting part is that it’s not on Blue Bottle’s menu.  Young & Foodish provides a good history here.

Basically, a Gibraltar is a 4.5 ounce latte served in a glass tumbler.  So, what’s the difference between that and a traditional cappuccino?  Well, let’s not get snobby about it.  Firstly, there’s a naturally alluring sense of exclusivity to ordering an off-menu item.  (There’s always at least a small crowd for that sort of thing.)  The glass tumbler is also very distinct from the traditional porcelain cup and saucer.  Most notably, it’s more convenient to hold and affords a better look at your drink.  You can call me fickle, but I’ll warrant an offering for those qualities.

Still, I’m personally more interested in the drink itself.  There’s an aspiring espresso geek in me that demands some real substance to warrant this drink at serious espresso bars.  According to my barista at Blue Bottle (Webster St, Oakland) this morning, the Gibraltar is different from a cappuccino in that “it’s foam is thinner, like a small latte.”  This seems right to me.  The foam in even a wet cappuccino is more substantial.

So if you’re drinking latte’s and are looking to get a little closer to the pure espresso taste, a Gibraltar is a good next step.  Personally, I’ll take my milk in the form of a cappuccino.