A cappuccino, arguably the most comforting coffee in existence.
Whether you’re feeling sad, tired, happy, or bored, a cappuccino is the obvious answer.
From the chocolate dusting and excessive amount of milk foam to the velvety coffee underneath, the cappuccino is certainly an all-rounder in the world of coffee.
How to Make a Cappuccino
Contrary to popular belief, no, a cappuccino is not just a latte with chocolate sprinkles. Neither is it just a coffee with foam. There’s far more to it than that. There’s ratios and fancy milk lingo involved.
Allow me to elaborate.
A cappuccino should contain equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and foam. It’s a simple 1:1:1 ratio.
It should be served in a smaller cup than a latte, with a light dusting of chocolate (although this is not what makes it a cappuccino)!
As an espresso-based drink, this is what comes first. Make sure you have high grade coffee, light, or dark roast. I prefer a darker roast for my cappuccino as the sweetness of the milk balances out the natural bitterness of the darker roasted bean, whilst keeping its aromatic taste.
If using a high-grade coffee, during extraction the espresso shot should develop a good layer of crema (the flavourful, reddish-brown froth that rests on the top). Gently swirl the cup to break up the crema and coat the sides of the mug in espresso – this will create a more even mixture when it comes to pouring the milk.
How to Make Milk for a Cappuccino
For milk, I always use full-fat, whole milk. (I’ve heard if you don’t think about the calories, they don’t exist).
Whole milk works the best, hands down. With it’s higher fat and protein content, whole milk froths quickly to produce a thick, creamy foam – perfect for a cappuccino. You can substitute for low-fat or alternative milk, at the sacrifice of some smoothness.
The milk is what makes a cappuccino a cappuccino.
When it comes to the frothing of your milk for your cappuccino, you’re aiming for one third steamed milk and the other third frothed milk. This requires a particular technique to get this desired texture.
With the steam wand just below the surface of the milk, start by stretching the milk. Simply move the jug down slowly to increase the volume of the milk, this allows the milk to take in more air. Keep going until the milk has increased by another third in volume. Of course, if you don't have a fancy pants steam wand you can use a manual milk frother to get the desired texture.
The milk will be ready when either the temperature has reached 65oC or when the milk pitcher is almost too hot to touch with your hand. Tap the jug on a hard surface to disperse the larger bubble in the foam and swirl until the milk has a silky finish.
To pour, tilt your cup so the espresso reaches the edge and pour the milk directly into the cup.
Top tip: When it comes to pouring the milk for a cappuccino, the best results will appear if you pour from the side of the milk pitcher instead of using the spout.
Lightly sprinkle with cocoa powder, either freehand or using some fancy cocoa stencils if you really want to impress your guests.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy your frothy coffee.
The Kit You Need to Make a Cappuccino
Okay so whilst it’s all well and good knowing how to make a cappuccino, this is almost pointless when you don’t have the right kit to get started.
I’ve put together a list of my favourite products to make your cappuccino the best it can be.
Let’s start with the espresso machine.
Ideally, the machine would obtain a dual boiler and steam wand, meaning you can extract your espresso and froth your milk simultaneously.
In terms of affordability and performance, I would recommend a WPM espresso machine.
Professional, reliable, and easy-to-use.
As milk is such a large part of this coffee, the milk pitcher will make a difference to the overall result.
You want to find a stainless-steel milk jug that is light in weight with a guaranteed handle-to-spout alignment. This will help with accuracy and precision when steaming and pouring into the cup.
I use the Dial In Milk Pitcher to get the perfect foam on my cappuccino’s. The slanted opening helps to measure the correct amount of milk, reducing wastage and enables a good monitoring of the texture of the milk when steaming.
Oh, and it looks great on my coffee bar!
What a Cappuccino Says About You
Based on the fact you’ve read down this far; I think I’m safe to assume you are a cappuccino drinker.
Perhaps a cappuccino is your drink to get both your coffee and chocolate fix without delving into that forbidden Dairy Milk bar that’s in the fridge, or perhaps you like the fact you can eat the cocoa powder and froth with a spoon. Or maybe you just enjoy the taste.
Whatever your reasons are, lets find out what your coffee order says about you as a person.
Take these on the chin if you don’t like some of them or... change your coffee order.
Typically, cappuccino drinkers are known to be slightly more adventurous than latte drinkers. They want that little bit extra out of life and could therefore be considered more fun overall.
Intrigued by everything, they are always up for trying out a new skill or hobby, regardless of if they are actually any good at it. This tends to make people view them as ambitious and endearing individuals.
The finer and more sophisticated things in life are enjoyed by those who drink cappuccinos. A classy drink in itself, it would make sense. If you want to find the way to a cappuccino drinker’s heart, perhaps start by treating them to a good bottle of wine or a lovely spa day.
It works every time.
Whilst being sociable creatures who love a mother’s meeting and a bit of drama from time to time, don’t be swayed by this lovable facade. Cappuccino drinks are notorious for being unexpectedly dominating and fiery when things don’t quite go as they want – ‘their way or the high way’ springs to mind.
Just bare this in mind the next time you go against their decision. Or at least take a cappuccino for them to soften the blow…
To sum up, cappuccino drinkers are just big teddy bears (with a hidden temper) who are huge comfort seekers, wanting to enjoy the luxury in life.
If you’re an espresso drinker reading this, this is your warning to go a little easy on them.