How to Make Cappuccino: The Perfect Recipe
With its deep rich espresso flavor and silky frothy milk, the cappuccino is a timeless classic when it comes to the world of coffee and is a drink to be savored. Whether it’s at a pavement café on bustling city street or at the breakfast bar in your own kitchen, this delicious, foamy coffee will always add a touch of Italian coffee style to your day. And the beauty of this coffee classic is that it is easy to make a barista-style cappuccino in the comfort of your own home. We show you how to make the perfect cappuccino.
What is a Cappuccino?
Simply put, a cappuccino is an Italian coffee made from a double espresso, hot milk and topped with steamed milk foam and has become a popular ‘café culture’ drink around the world. It’s typically smaller in volume than a latte and has a layer of ‘micro foam’ – frothed milk with tiny ‘micro’ air bubbles that makes the milk thicker – often finished with a dusting of cocoa powder. When the espresso is poured the right way, it not only brings out the cappuccino flavors, but the micro foam will partly sit on the top of the drink, as well as mixing with the rest of the milk.
While cappuccinos can be drunk at any time of the day, in Italy they are actually considered to be a breakfast drink and are almost always only drunk before lunch. After midday, an Italian’s coffee of choice is a lighter-on-the-stomach espresso or macchiato.
Related Post: Coffee Mugs
History of the Cappuccino
Another interesting fact about the cappuccino is that it bucks the Italian trend of naming their coffees after how they are made, for example, espresso means ‘pressed out’. The cappuccino is actually named after the religious order of the Capuchin monks. The drink first appeared in Viennese coffee houses in the 17th Century under another name, ‘Kapuziner’ and was made from cream and sugar, with added spices. Originally invented in Italy, the drink evolved into the cappuccino we know today, with the Italian version becoming increasingly popular following the invention of the espresso machine at the beginning of the 1900s. The name cappuccino was adopted in reference to the Italian order of Capuchin friars, who used to dress in brown from head to toe, in a similar color to the cappuccino drink.
What is the Difference Between a Cappuccino and a Café Latte?
They may look largely the same at first glance, but there are distinct differences between the cappuccino and the latte. Both beverages have an espresso as the base, but the difference is in the use of steamed milk and steamed froth. Whereas a café latte is one-part espresso to two parts milk, with more steamed milk than froth, a cappuccino makes its ingredients a little more even. For the perfect cappuccino you need equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth, meaning it is more of a precision drink to make and harder to create that foam art on top. However, the cappuccino makes up for this by its dusting on the top – traditionally cocoa powder but you can also use cinnamon or ginger for a bit of a cappu-twist.
Cappuccino Recipe for the Perfect Drink Every Time
So, can you make a shop-quality cappuccino at home? Yes, you can, with the right equipment and the correct recipe you can whip up a cappuccino to make any barista proud. And, while you ideally need an espresso machine, you can get away with a stove espresso pot and a sturdy hand whisker.
Related Post: Whisks
Here’s Our Guide to How to Make Cappuccino at Home.
For a delicious cup of cappuccino, you will need milk, ground espresso coffee, a milk jug, cocoa powder (optional) and a cappuccino coffee cup, to serve.
As a size guide for the perfect cappuccino, it needs to be 150ml in total, including a 30ml shot of espresso and the rest in frothed milk. Serve it in a 200ml cup so you can add a lovely layer of micro foam to complete your drink. Here’s how to bring it all together:
- Steam and texture the milk
While whole milk will create the most luxurious foam, you can use any type of milk for your cappuccino, including plant-based milks such as almond or soy as well as semi-skimmed or skimmed. To get started, pour the milk into the jug – cappuccino experts suggest using a chilled jug so that the milk steams for longer, resulting in a creamier and silky foam. Now add a thermometer to the jug so you can monitor the temperature and prevent the milk from boiling. The optimum temperature for steaming the milk is 150-160 F (60-70 C).
If you have an espresso machine with a steaming arm, place the arm’s tip just below the milk’s surface, then turn the steamer on. Lower the steam arm down and to the side of the jug as the milk starts to bubble so that it forces the liquid into a frothing spin action, all the time keeping an eye on the temperature. Once it hits the correct heat, stop steaming as you don’t want it to over-heat.
Don’t have a steamer? You can create a steamed milk effect by using your microwave. Put the milk in a glass jar and loosely place on the lid before giving it a good shake for around a minute. Now place in the microwave oven and heat for 30 seconds. You’ll need to use this foamy milk straight away as it has a habit of falling flat quickly. Alternatively, heat the milk in a pan on the stove, and use a hand whisk to build up a foam as it heats.
- Make the espresso
Using your coffee machine and a quality ground espresso coffee make either a single or double shot of espresso, depending on how strong you want your cappuccino to be. Alternatively, boil up some coffee on the stovetop, using an espresso or Moka coffee pot.
- Putting your cappuccino together
Now you have your hot, steamed milk and your brewed espresso coffee you are ready to assemble a delicious cappuccino. Before you do anything, tap your steamed milk jug on the work surface – this will knock out any large bubbles. so you are left with a silky-smooth micro foam. Now quickly swirl the whole pot so the milk and foam stay together as you pour.
Carefully pour your espresso into a warmed cappuccino cup. A top tip is to hold the cup at a slight angle while slowing pouring in the steamed milk with your other hand. As the cup fills with the steamed milk, slowly level off the cup before giving the jug a final wiggle to get the final amount of foam to settle on top of the cappuccino. You can also use a spoon to scoop out the foam and layer it on top. Dust with cocoa powder if you like and serve immediately.
There you go, professional standard cappuccino in the comfort of your own kitchen – delicious!