Proportion and finesse help make a perfect cappuccino, but there are a few things to know to help make the process easy. A delicious hot dark cup of espresso coffee with a small amount of frothed milk on the top can make your morning full of energy and vibe.
By having the right tools and knowing the proper order in which to complete the cappuccino steps will help make you an excellent cappuccino barista. Here is what you need to know to make a perfect cup of cappuccino.
What is a Cappuccino?
Cappuccino is one of the most popular types of coffee world wide and personally my favourite too. Essentially the drink is made up of thirds, 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 milk foam. The milk dilutes the strength of the espresso shot and the microfoam creates a finish loved by many. A cappuccino comes as a standard 6 oz drink but if there is an option for a grande or large size, it should still be made up of thirds proportionately by the barista.
You can also add sprinkled chocolate to the micro foam on top, or flavourings like cinnamon or other spices and syrups. Lastly, a cappuccino is perfect for your barista to show off their latte art skills.
What’s the Origin of the Cappuccino?
The name of the drink actually comes from the colour of the coffee which was similar to the habits the Capuchin friars would wear. The dark brown of the espresso is lightened when the milk is added creating a pleasant light brown hue.
Another name for cappuccino is Kapuziner and originates in Vienna during the early 17th century when the Viennese would add whipped cream and spices to their espresso, to make a long coffee drink. However the cappuccino we know today became world renowned when cafes across Austria added it to their menus in the 1930’s and it spread very quickly from there.
What You Need
There a few important tools you need to make the perfect cappuccino:
- Espresso machine with a milk steaming wand
- If you do not have a milk steaming wand then you need a milk frother
- Coffee grinder with an espresso grind setting
- Highest grade of espresso beans
- Whole organic milk
- Espresso coffee tapper
- Stainless steel milk frothing container
- Ceramic espresso cup that holds six to eight ounces
- Filtered water
- Sugar if you desire
- Wet cloth
- Dry cloth
These ingredients are sort of a repeat of what was said in the previous list, but it is never bad to be thorough. There is also an expansion on the ingredients for information sake.
- Whole organic milk – you may use other milks, but the perfect cappuccino is made with whole milk
- Highest quality whole expresso beans
- Filtered spring water is the best water to have in your expresso machine
- Finely ground cane sugar or white sugar if you must
The Perfect Process
Remove the espresso puck from the espresso machine. Clean it out from the previous coffee making experience. Run it under water and wipe it dry. Grind fresh espresso beans in a grinder and fill your puck up with the ground espresso beans. Slide the excess off the top. Take your tamper and stamp down on the espresso beans and then turn.
You want a firm compact espresso flat surface. You will then put the puck back on the machine. Place your cappuccino cup under the spout and then turn the machine on. While the coffee is coming out, fill he stainless steel milk carafe halfway with the organic whole milk.
Slowly submerge the steam wand into the milk so the wand both steam the milk and creates a froth on top. The milk process takes no more than a couple of minutes. You do not want big bubbles.
1/3 of each
Once there is a nice coat of milk froth on top tap the stainless-steel carafe on the counter. This will eliminate and major bubbles that did occur. You want the milk froth and the regular milk to mix.
When you pour the milk into your espresso, the proportion should be in thirds. It will turn out 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk, 1/3 foam. You will pour the milk first and top off with the foam, you can add sugar to the top for taste. You can also put a teaspoon of sugar in the espresso cup before you pour the espresso.
More Cappuccino Tips
You may think you can choose just any old coffee cup size, but you really want to use a small espresso cup that hold about six to eight ounces. You also want to put hot water in the cup while you are preparing the coffee grounds in the puck.
Clean all your Tools
You always want to clean everything on your espresso machine after you use it. When you keep wet and dry rags handy, you can use them to clean each section of the machine you use. You will wipe out the puck before putting new espresso beans in it.
Then you need to wipe the place where the puck screws into the machine. You will also wipe the milk frothing wand when you are finished frothing the milk.
Making milk foam with a Milk Frother
If you have a separate milk frother, then simply follow the directions of your milk frother. You will essentially pour six ounces of milk into the milk frother. You will then turn the milk frother on while you are making the espresso on your espresso machine.
Now your cappuccino is ready to drink. A perfect cappuccino is only perfected by making another perfect cappuccino to share with a friend.