How To Make A Perfect Cappuccino In 5 Minutes!
Nothing is worse than starting the morning with a bad cappuccino. Once you learn the right way to make a cappuccino, it’ll never happen again!
What is a cappuccino, though? It’s simply an espresso that is prepared with hot milk and foam. It differs from a latte in that it isn’t prepared with as much milk and foam.
The most important aspect of making great cappuccino is making great espresso, and there’s a bit of art and science to it!
The name espresso is Italian in origin. It was first coined around 1900 and, loosely translated, means a cup of coffee brewed expressly (just) for you. Today, you will often find that people incorrectly pronounce or spell it “expresso.”
Now, most people think the type of bean determines whether a coffee is “espresso” or not. This isn’t true. Any type of bean can be used to make espresso coffee–there is no official “espresso coffee bean.” Darker beans give a stronger espresso and lighter beans give a sweeter espresso. It’s simply a matter of taste.
The blend of the beans also doesn’t determine whether it is espresso or not. Many coffee enthusiasts are dedicated to the art of bean blending and this has caused the misunderstanding. Any blend can be used for espresso making even though you can buy “espresso blends.”
The roast doesn’t make it espresso, either. Some say that you must use a very dark roast when making espresso. In reality, any roast will do and the roasts generally used actually changes from region to region. On the West coast it’s common to see a dark or “French” roast while on the East coast a light roast. In Italy they generally use a medium roast. As you can see, it’s just a matter of taste.
How the coffee is prepared is what makes it espresso. Espresso coffee is a small (1 to 2 oz.) shot of pressure-brewed coffee, using about 1-2 tablespoons of finely ground coffee. When done correctly, the brewing takes about 25 to 30 seconds and it will feature a layer of rich, dark golden cream on the surface, called “crema.” This crema is the hallmark of a quality espresso. Making a great espresso is truly an art as well as a science.
So how do you make a perfect cappuccino?
Before you continue, make sure you understand the basics of espresso. If you don’t know what a tamper or porta-filter is, read this article on espresso basics first!
Now, as you know, a great cappuccino first requires a great espresso and the different phases of making a killer espresso are roasting the beans, blending them, grinding them, tamping them and then brewing the coffee.
The first thing you’ll need is a good espresso machine. There are several types of espresso makers (autmoatic, semi-automatic, manual, stovetop), many different brands (Starbucks, Delonghi Gaggia, Jura-Capresso, Breville and more) and prices vary greatly ($200-$4,000), so we recommend you look at our guide to help you choose the machine that will best fit your needs.
The next thing you’ll need is an espresso coffee grinder. Once again, there are different makes and models so you should check out some different coffee grinders.
Lastly, you’ll need great beans. There are many options out there, but click here to see the beans we recommend.
So, let’s get started by first identifying whether your machine is steam driven or pump driven. If you aren’t sure, consider this: if you have to pour water in the top and screw the lid down, your machine is probably steam driven. If you simply pour water into a large tank, press a button and the machine starts making all kinds of strange noises, your machine is probably pump driven.
When you grind beans for steam-driven machines, you will need to make it finer than for the pump-driven machine because steam-driven machines. This is because the steam-driven machines don’t produce as much pressure to push the water through the grounds.
The Ratio of Coffee to Water
You should be using approximately one tablespoon of grounds to every ounce of water. This is an important ratio as putting too little or too much water can lead to bad espresso. As you know, there are 8 ounces in a cup of water. The standard shot of espresso is 1-2 oz, which means that a single shot would require only 1-2 tablespoons of grounds.
The Espresso Procedure
1. Pre-heat the glass the beverage will be served in and place under porta-filter.
2. Begin grinding beans by turning on grinder.
3. Immediately remove porta-filter, knock out old grounds into a tamp box, and wipe basket dry with a cloth.
4. As coffee is still grinding dose enough coffee to fill the basket and stop the grinder.
5. Level the grounds in the basket by pulling them forward and then pushing them to the opposite side until the whole basket is evenly filled.
6. Take the tamper and press down with 5 pounds of pressure. Gently knock the porta-filter with the back of the tamper and press down with 30 pounds of pressure. Polish the surface by turning 720° while pressing with about 20 pounds of pressure.
7. Let 2 ounces of water flow through group head.
8. Place porta-filter in group head and turn on pump.
9. When espresso begins to flow, start timing.
10. If you want a sweeter espresso, stop the flow at about 17 seconds. If you want a more bitter coffee, let it flow longer, but never longer than 25 seconds. Other “signs to stop” are when about 1.5 ounces has been brewed, or after it begins to turn slightly lighter in color.
Here’s a short video clip of how to make espresso:
Making It a Great Cappuccino
Things You’ll Need:
- Ground Chocolate
- 5-oz. Or Larger Cups
- 3 oz. cold milk
4. Place the steam nozzle halfway down in milk and leave it in milk for 45 to 60 seconds, or until the milk is hot and there’s enough foam for your preference.
6. Spoon some foamed milk onto the top.
- For a drink with fewer calories, use 2 percent, 1 percent or nonfat milk.
- Traditionally, cappuccino is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 foam.
- A caffe latte is espresso with two to three times as much steamed milk, also topped with foam.
- Steam can cause severe burns, and an espresso machine will be very hot even after it is turned off. Open valve on the machine’s steam tube very slowly.
- Never steam a carafe of milk that is more than 1/3 full.
Here’s a video showing the whole process!
Well, I hope that gets you started with making great cappuccino. However, to make outstanding espresso and cappuccino, you should learn a little more!