The Cappuccino. Like its cousin, the Latte, it is typically a breakfast coffee in Europe, but has become synonymous with an extra special treat here in America. I remember when I was about 10, I would delight at being able to have a cappuccino when we were out at nice restaurants or family functions. It felt so special, not just because of the drink itself, but because I got to feel like a grown up for a little while! It felt a little like a forbidden fruit. Fast forward 20 years and I still like to have a nice cappuccino with dessert on occasion. Make sure not to do this in Rome though as it is frowned upon outside of breakfast time and may earn you a few dirty looks!
If you’re tired of going out to a café every time you want a nice cappuccino, or just want to be able to wow your guests with a barista quality coffee; we have everything you need to know below.
How to Make a Cappuccino – Step By Step Instructions
- Make 2 Espressos: First, you’ll need to learn how to make a really great espresso. Read our full espresso article and be sure to start off with a great espresso base. Cappuccinos are usually made using a double shot of espresso. If possible, try to make the espressos directly in the cappuccino cup right off the bat as this will help to leave the crema
- Prepare the Milk: Using a milk frother can be easy but isn’t necessary. A lot of espresso machines also come with a frothing wand which can be another option. If neither of these are available it’s pretty easy to make your own steamed milk using a mason jar and your microwave.
- Add the Milk: Adding the milk can be thought of as 4 distinct steps which are described below. You’ll want to end with roughly equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam.
- Tap the container holding the milk on a flat surface. This will cause all of the larger bubbles to pop, leaving a very dense foam made of tiny bubbles called micro foam.
- Tilt the cappuccino cup holding the espresso and slowly begin to pour the milk into the center. This adds volume to the coffee and and helps keep the crema
- When the cup is about half full, level it off and continue pouring the milk in a spiral pattern; first moving out towards the edge of the cup and then working back towards the middle.
- Try to pour a little faster once you get to the foam layer to force the foam out.
- *Optional* Add the Milk and Foam Separately: If you’re not confident in your pouring skills, you can use a spoon to hold back the milk foam as you pour in the steamed milk. You can then just spoon the milk foam on top to finish off the cappuccino.
- *Optional* Garnish: While it is uncommon in Italy, cappuccinos in America are typically garnished with cinnamon on the top. It is also possible to garnish with cocoa powder, chocolate shavings, vanilla shavings, nutmeg, or any other number of things. Experiment and find out what you like best.
Add Cappuccino Art: Don’t be afraid to get creative and wow your guests with some art on top of their cappuccino! Find out how to create cappuccino art from our full article on the topic.