How To Make A Cappuccino


Once you understand how to make your own cappuccino at home you will never pay £3 in a coffee shop again.

I have been drinking coffee from the likes of Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Café Nero for 20 years and I can honestly say that the cappuccino that I make on my home espresso machine is vastly better in quality than anything you will ever get in a coffee shop.

I still go to a coffee shop maybe once per week but it is more for research purposes than to enjoy the overpriced coffee that everyone has become accustomed to paying through the nose for.

Everyone will happily buy a car because it is too expensive to get a cab everywhere but everyone continues to spend £3 a day buying a below par coffee when you can do it yourself at home for £0.30p

Making your own cappuccino at home is like getting a Mercedes E-class when you order an Uber and were expecting a Toyota Prius – Its better and cheaper.

What equipment do you need to make a Cappuccino at home?

The first thing you need to make a cappuccino at home is an espresso machine with a steam wand.

If you want to make the best cappuccino possible don’t go for a bean to cup coffee machine that has a built-in milk carafe. At first, it seems like the best and most convenient way to make your drink of choice but in reality, it takes away the control you need in order to get the cappuccino just right.

You will never see an automatic milk carafe making a coffee in a coffee shop because it’s not the best way to do it. It also requires cleaning daily whilst you can just rinse out the milk in a jug in seconds and then you are good to go again.

It is also a myth that you need to spend a fortune on a coffee machine to make a good coffee and that is simply not true. We have an article on the best cheap espresso machines and you will be surprised at how quickly you will get a return on your investment with an espresso machine that won’t break the bank.

And that is exactly how you should view it – an investment, because if you choose wisely, by the time you have made about 50 drinks you will have your money back compared to what you would have spent in a coffee shop and then after that you are quid’s in.

What is the best milk to use for a cappuccino?

Use full-fat milk for making cappuccino. It is hands down the best way to get the maximum flavour for your coffee.

I know that most people buy semi-skimmed or even skimmed milk to use on a daily basis which is fine but you should not fear using the blue top milk for your coffee. Remember, you will only be using it once or twice a day so it’s not going to make you fat but it will taste absolutely delicious when added to an espresso to make a cappuccino.

How much milk is in a cappuccino?

We will give you the technical answer but the exact amount of milk is not that important because you can tailor it to your own individual requirements and create a “dry cappuccino” if you like a strong coffee or a “wet cappuccino” if you like it a little milder. Our personal view is that you should stick to Cappuccino instead of a Latte because with a cappuccino at least you get to taste the coffee as opposed to a Latte where (if you order it in a coffee shop) you basically get a pint of milk with a bit of coffee mixed in.

What is the ratio of milk to coffee in a cappuccino?

The thing to remember is that a Cappuccino is a small drink with a reasonably strong coffee flavour that should be approximately 1/3 coffee, 1/3 milk and 1/3 foam.

You can add or deduct the amount of milk that you use according to your own taste. You will be amazed at how much nicer your coffee is when you make it just how you like it. A nice dark brown colour will give a stronger flavour and a lighter brown colour will be milder.

You will never get it right in a coffee shop because whoever it is pouring the milk in will always add too much and just turn it into a latte.

How to Froth Milk

Heating and frothing your milk in just the right way is crucial to making the perfect cappuccino. We have written a detailed article on exactly how to froth milk for every drink type but specifically for a cappuccino you need to add about 60ml of milk to a milk pitcher and heat it to 65 degrees which is the perfect temperature for a cappuccino.

How many times have you been into a coffee shop and you get a lukewarm coffee that just ruins the whole experience?

You could get yourself a cheap milk pitcher and there is nothing wrong with that, just avoid the really cheap ones because they will wear out and corrode in no time and may seem like good value for money but in reality are a waste of money.

But, for literally a few pounds more we recommend getting yourself a milk pitcher with a built in thermometer that will show you on the outside of the jug the exact temperature of the milk so you can stop heating at exactly 65 degrees. I have been using one of these for years and in my opinion it’s a no brainer as it takes away the guess work and for the price of a pizza you can heat your milk perfectly for years.

Place the nozzle just below the surface of the milk and lean the nozzle up against the neck of the milk pitcher. You do not need to move or swirl it around. Move it up to the surface to create the froth and then bring it back down into the milk again to continue heating. After a few goes you will get it spot on.

When pouring, put a spoon up against the spout so that only milk goes in first and then when you can see the colour of coffee that you desire stop and manually spoon the foam in. The foam should be thick and creamy so that if you add sugar it should sit on the top and not sink into the coffee. You will be able to achieve this result best if you use whole milk rather than semi skimmed.

What do you put on top of a cappuccino?

It has become customary to sprinkle cocoa powder on top of a cappuccino to finish it off. Italy is the home of the cappuccino and you will never find chocolate being added to any cappuccino that you order in Italy.

It has somehow evolved over time and no one really knows why or where it came from. It’s a bit like sweet and sour chicken. if you go to China no one has ever heard of it but in England it one of the most popular “Chinese dishes”.

At the end of the day its personal preference but in our opinion adding chocolate to a cappuccino takes away the coffee flavour so it’s not for us but if you prefer it then it never did anyone any harm.

How do you make patterns in coffee?

With a little bit of practice you can make all sorts of pretty patterns in the foam that sits on top of your cappuccino. For a very low cost you can start with a milk pitcher with Latte art pen. The Latte art pen doubles up as a scoop for scooping the foam into the coffee and will also stop the foam being added before the milk.

It will take a little practice but in time you can create hearts and flowers and various shapes that will transform a simple cappuccino into a sensory experience and something that you will savour and enjoy time and time again.

The key thing here is that for a relatively small investment in an espresso machine with a steam wand you will soon be making yourself a cappuccino that is BETTER than a coffee shop at a fraction of the price.

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