An Expert Guide to Making The Perfect Cappuccino at Home
- 1/3 espresso
- 1/3 hot milk
- 1/3 foam
Cappuccinos first appeared in Viennese coffee houses in the 1700s but the version we love today was invented in Italy in the 1900s – after the decline of rationing following World War II, the popularity of espresso machines, which were discovered by soldiers, boomed. Now, the luxurious foam and espresso-based strength is our favourite morning pick-me-up but what if you can’t get to your local café for your favourite take-out?
If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can recreate whatever we like at home, if we have the skills. So for lockdown 2.0, there’s no reason why you can’t brew espresso and make cappuccinos – you just need to know how. Thanks to Lewis Spencer, a coffee expert from Coffee-Direct.co.uk, we now have the perfect recipe, plus a few insider tips.
The Perfect Cappuccino Recipe
It’s important to froth the milk first and then make the shot of espresso.
- To froth the milk, purge any water from the steam arm. Tilt the jug at a 45-degree angle and then introduce the steam arm into the milk, keeping the holes just under the surface of the milk.
- Next, open the steam arm so that the steam enters the milk. The milk will start to get hot and swirl around in the jug. Lower the jug as the milk rises to keep the holes under the milk.
- Once you have at least doubled the volume of milk, and the jug is very hot, move the end of the steam arm into the base of the jug.
- Swirl the jug around then turn off the steam. You should now have equal quantities of foam on top and hot milk underneath.
- Brew your espresso shot – Lewis recommends Monsoon Malabar or Golden Crema. Carefully add hot milk and foam in the proportions previously mentioned to make the drink.
What’s the difference between a cappuccino and latté?
A cappuccino has even layers of espresso, hot milk and foam. Whereas a latté is made with 2/3 of steamed milk and a very subtle layer of foam.
How do you froth your milk without a frother?
You can froth milk in an airtight container (bottle, Tupperware box etc) by simply giving it a good shake for a minute or two, although we’d always recommend a handheld frother or espresso/bean-to-cup machine built-in alternatives.
Any other tips for the perfect cappuccino?
Having the correct amount of milk in the frothing jug is very important. Too much and it will spill over the top when frothing, too little and it will get too hot too fast. This means you will not be able to control what is happening to the milk. Use a good quality stainless steel jug which is smaller at the top than the bottom. Only add enough milk to fill about 1/4 of the jug.
A thermometer can be used to make sure your milk’s the perfect temperature: 55–65°C (139–149°F) with a max temperature of 70°C (158°F) and a minimum temperature of 50°C (122°F).
Having the correct grind for your machine is critical, it should be slightly finer than table salt. This fine grind will give the coffee the proper resistance to the water that’s forced through it. If the grind is wrong, you will never make a great cup of coffee.