How to make a cappuccino: your guide to crafting the perfect cappuccino

You wouldn’t be caught dead ordering it after 11am in Rome. It’s  likely to leave you with a coffee mustache. It’s the slow weekend, sipping kind of beverage. And it’s one of those coffee drinks you’re least likely to give a go when making at home. You have it: it’s the cappuccino!

When approaching an at home coffee, cappuccino is often one of the most daunting beverages; so much so that we often save it for coffee shops. It doesn’t take much to plunge a cafetiere or pour a double espresso; but when it comes to approaching the foamed milk we all know and love, many of us prefer to leave it to the baristas. All too often a failed attempt at latte art leaf puts at-home coffee lovers off for life! But with just a bit of practice, it really is possible. 

Selecting your ingredients and kit

The first step to an excellent at home cappuccino is the types of coffee espresso and steamed milk you make it with. No surprises that the instant at the back of the cupboard is not going to offer you the double espresso you need, nor will your low fat milk give you the foam you are looking for!

Choose your coffee. Do you prefer it bitter, or sweet? Take a look at what Seven Districts offers and our different speciality coffee roasts and see which fits best. Whichever roast you go for, you’re going to want ground, fresh beans to get the very best out of your beverage.

Next up: milk. The milk in a great cappuccino is thick and foamy without being overly aerated. We still want a creamy surface of the milk, with microfoam; and in order to get that, we need milk with plenty of fat content. The need for fat is also the reason why low fat, non barista blended plant milk rarely gets you a foam – save it for an americano! We recommend at least semi skimmed cow’s milk, or a barista blended plant milk which is designed to include enough fat for a good foam (it should say on the packet). 

Next, get your equipment together. If your beans haven’t been pre-ground, you will need a coffee grinder (this may be included in your machine).You’ll need your espresso machine itself, and access to a steaming wand. Again, this is often included in your machine, but can be purchased standalone fairly cheaply. You’ll need a thermometer, to test milk temperature, and a metal steaming jug for your milk.

Let’s get to it!

You have your kit, and you have some fantastic ingredients. Now all you need is to follow the instructions below, and practice practice practice!

  1. Start by releasing steam from your wand, to avoid any excess water. This would reduce the milk foam.
  2. Pour your cold milk (85ml, if we’re being specific to the officially recognised cappuccino quantity) into your metal pitcher, around a third full.
  3. Set your steam wand into the milk, at the top of the third.  As the foam rises, keep the jug tilted and lower the tip of the wand to create a vortex in the jug. Once the milk hits 65 degrees, you’re good.
  4. Milk prepared, set your machine to prepare a shot of espresso directly into the mug you’re going to use.
  5. Pour your milk into the espresso, first aiming into the centre, then in a circular motion to blend the espresso well within the milk. 
  6. Add your favourite coffee accompaniment and you’re done!

Got the bug? Try out a flat white or cortado  next – we have ideas for those too!

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