How to Make the Perfect Cappuccino?
The name Cappuccino comes from the 16th century Capuchin monks from Italy who used to wear a brown, hooded robe which had a similar colour to Espresso drinks mixed with frothy milk! The first ever cappuccino was made in Italy in the early 1900’s after the first Espresso machines were launched.
Today, Cappuccino is one of the world’s best-loved coffee drinks and it’s not surprising as it’s perfectly formed when it’s made properly, using the right amount of Espresso with milk. For many, it seems so hard to achieve at home but actually, once you know how, it’s very easy! It’s all about Cappuccino technique!
Before you start making your perfect Cappuccino, you need to know how to make perfect Espresso because it’s the basis of the drink. No matter how hard you try, if you haven’t mastered the Espresso technique, you won’t be able to create a delicious Cappuccino!
So, let’s begin with understanding the right Espresso technique. There are lots of variations online and everyone has their own method but the method that follows is tried and tested and based on the Italian way of Espresso making. As the Italians are responsible for also bringing us Espresso coffee, it’s always wise to take a leaf out of their book! Check our guide for the best drip coffee maker!
MAKING YOUR ESPRESSO SHOT
The word Espresso comes from the Italian word “express” which means very fast! So making an Espresso should be quick compared to other coffee preparation methods.
Here’s what you need to do:
- You need a good quality Espresso making machine to extract the correct shot
- Your water temperature should be set to approximately 198 degrees Fahrenheit
- Do always check your coffee beans or coffee grounds for the correct temperature range for your blend, as some differ
- If you use ground coffee for your Espresso, you need between 6.5 and 7.5g for 30ml of Espresso
- You must always tamp your coffee grinds first, so place your grounds into your tamping machine (filter holder) and allow it to apply the correct pressure
- Your pump pressure should be set between 8 and 9 Bar during extraction. Bear in mind that different machines have different groups. If you have more than one group, set your pressure at 8 Bar during extraction
- Extraction should take from 20 to 30 seconds (the exact time varies according to your machine and your chosen coffee grounds); you’ll understand the right extraction time after you’ve made a few cups of Espresso. However, you can also alter your size of grounds
- Warm your Espresso cup (if you pour your Espresso into a cold cup it will instantly cool)
- Some machines have automatic cup warmers but if yours doesn’t, swirl boiling hot water inside the cup for a few seconds and pour out
- Once ready, allow the Espresso to drop into your cup or pour it in depending on your machine
PERFECTLY COLOURED ESPRESSO
The perfect cup of Espresso will be a red/brown honey-like colour with a crema swirl on top. Once you’ve mastered this technique, you can move onto creating a great tasting Cappuccino.
Cappuccino – What You Need To Know
The basis of Cappuccino is Espresso and milk split into three different areas: 1/3 Espresso, 1/3 hot milk and 1/3 foamed milk.
There are two other versions, a dry cappuccino (with froth and very Italian) or a wet Cappuccino (less froth, more milk, not so Italian!). Authentic Italian Cappuccinos are served in a very small 6 or 7-ounce cup using one single Espresso shot.
If you prefer a larger Cappuccino, you might want to double your shot (e.g. use 2 shots for a 12-ounce cup). For the milk content, always use good quality milk and you will also need a stainless steel frothing jug with a thermometer for accurate temperature measurement.
You must remember not to overheat your milk as once the temperature goes over 158 Degrees Fahrenheit, the proteins in milk start to break down which destroys the flavour. Your optimum milk temperature should be between 150 and 158 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Here are your Cappuccino making steps:
- Prepare your Espresso shot as described above
- Use cold milk direct from the fridge
- Place the cold milk in the stainless steel milk jug
- Now you can begin to froth your milk
- Using the nozzle, place it inside of the milk jug just underneath the top of the milk so it gets enough air inside to expand the milk
- Switch on your milk frother
- Move the nozzle down very slowly as the milk starts to froth, this makes sure air is pumped evenly
- Once the milk has doubled in size, you can stop the frother
- Remove the nozzle carefully and take the jug out
- Then, gently tap the stainless steel jug on your surface to break up any remaining large bubbles (don’t do this too hard)
- Swirl the jug gently until the contents start to look glossy
- Your milk is now ready to pour
- Gently distribute it over your Espresso holding the jug at a height of 10cm (this helps the milk to travel right through the crema instead of covering it up)
- While you pour the milk, gently reduce the height of the jug until you are almost touching the cup with the jug
- When you’re almost finished pouring, flick the jug forward across the top to make a shape in the foam
- Finish off your Cappuccino with a little decorative sprinkle of cinnamon or cocoa powder
- Savour the flavour of your perfect cup of Cappuccino!