And you thought this was only something that pro baristas at coffee shops with ultra expensive equipment could do?
If you’ve ever thought that about making cappuccinos… think again!
You can certainly make a cappuccino at home!
And in this article I’ll tell you not only about how to make a cappuccino at home, but also all the stuff (equipment, know-how) that you need!
I’m not going to lie, it might be a bit tough at first and may take just a few tries to get down tight, but it’s really not nearly as hard as it may seem.
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And if you do all the things I’m about to show you, you’ll have it down like a pro, and quick!
I need to let you know, there are multiple methods and espresso makers you can use to make a cappuccino at home!
I’ll tell you three of them, from the most expensive and easiest way to the least expensive and most time consuming way.
And in all honesty, every method is fun to do and makes a great cappuccino!
Ready for training? Here we go!
An Ultra Fancy, One Touch Cappuccino Maker, The Easy Way
Yes, this would be the quickest, easiest and most expensive way to make a cappuccino.
It takes all the guesswork out for you by pulling the espresso shots, steaming the milk and pouring it all the mug for you!
It’s seriously a one touch process.
It doesn’t really do it properly in terms of the order of steps for making a cappuccino, but it’s pretty cool to watch!
Normally, fully automatic, one touch machines like this are the most pricey.
But Mr. Coffee, being the more budget-friendly brand that it is, has a very nice one touch cappuccino and espresso maker for a pretty reasonable price!
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That’s of course in terms of espresso makers.
To use this one touch machine, it’s very simple.
First, add water to the water tank.
After that, add milk to the milk container.
Then adjust the froth to how you would like it. Remember, for cappuccino, you want it nice and bubbly.
Microfoam is the keyword for cappuccino.
Then, probably the hardest part in the whole thing, is to tamp the espresso.
Fill the portafilter about 3/4 full with espresso grounds.
Remember, espresso should be very fine. It should be 1 or 2 out of 10 in terms of how fine to grind it.
After you fill the portafilter, tamp the coffee grounds. This means that you push them down to compact them. It won’t brew properly unless you tamp them.
Press them down twice, giving a quarter turn just after you press it the first time.
Don’t put all your weight into it, but give it some pretty good pressure.
Make sure to wipe away any excess grinds from the portafilter so it’ll have a clean brew.
After that, attach the portafilter into the machine, put your mug onto the machine, aim the milk spout for the mug, then select your desired size on the machine and push brew!
Honestly, it’s all easier said than done.
And it’s a super quick process.
Here’s a short video by Mr. Coffee that shows you how to do it!
But, please bear in mind, this is how you do it for the Mr. Coffee one that I mentioned above.
The process may differ slightly for different machines. For other more expensive and fancy ones, it may be even easier than this.
There are many one touch machines that also grind the espresso and tamp it for you. These are much more expensive though.
This article is not to be a list of espresso machines, but you can find so many good machines on Amazon.
A Fancy Espresso Maker, Barista Style
If you want to make a coffee-shop-quality cappuccino and in the same way a barista would at Starbucks, or whatever your favorite coffee shop is, the brutal truth is that you need a nice, semi-automatic espresso maker.
Something like this Gaggia Pro Espresso Machine is a great, high-quality, very well-functioning and sleek looking espresso machine that gives you all the tools to make a cappuccino, or any other espresso drink for that matter, right at home with ease!
In terms of espresso makers, this is a mid price range machine.
In my article about the best espresso makers for home brewing, I give many recommendations for fantastic machines, and it includes any of the ones you would need in this article, from small and inexpensive to big and expensive.
The Gaggia RI9380/46 is just a recommendation from me, but there are so many other nice semi-automatic espresso machines that will get the job well done!
Anyway, If you have a semi-automatic machine and it’s all set up and ready to go, the first step is to pull the espresso shot.
Make sure you tamp the espresso shot with the right pressure, tamping it two times and giving it a quarter turn on the first tamp, and wiping any excess coffee grinds from the rim of the portafilter after tamping.
I suggest a double shot for a cappuccino, but you can do a single or a triple or more! Whatever you’d like.
But – and I hope you’re reading this carefully! – the first step, even before getting the espresso ready is to steam the milk.
And that’s the hard part.
Since pulling an espresso shot takes only 20 to 30 seconds, and because espresso tends to quickly go flat, you should get your espresso shot ready, but pull the shot right after you steam your milk.
Now, for steaming your milk.
Espresso machines don’t usually come with milk pitchers.
But if you need one you can easily order one like this nice one from Amazon or countless other webstores or brick and mortar stores.
It’s a good rule of thumb to fill the milk pitcher at least one-third full.
Otherwise it will be very difficult to steam your milk. Just trust me on that.
When steaming the milk, turn the steam wand on full power and put it in the milk just enough to where you hear the squeal/hiss noise, and where it’s not making a huge mess of the milk.
There’s a certain type of foam you want to make for a cappuccino, and it’s called microfoam.
This means it should be kind of a soft foam that’s a bit runny and has very small, even bubbles in it.
It feels nice to drink it that way.
If you have a thermometer, you’ll know when it’s done when it reaches your desired temperature and you have enough foam!
Having enough foam is important, yes, because you need plenty for a true cappuccino!
And if you do it right, you’ll have plenty of foam when the temperature reaches 175 or whatever temperature you’d like. If there’s not enough foam, you should put the tip of the steam wand closer to the surface of the milk next time you steam it.
If you don’t have a thermometer, it’s easy to tell when the milk/foam is done because you’ll either have enough foam and you can just quickly touch the side of the milk pitcher to feel if it’s hot enough.
And if you still can’t tell, the milk and foam will start to rise very quickly and will begin to spill out when it gets around 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius).
After you’re done steaming the milk and you have some good cappuccino foam, make sure to clear the steam wand by giving it a quick burst, and wiping off the part that has milk on it with a cold, damp rag.
And after you’ve cleaned the steam wand, then pull your espresso shot(s)!
You’ll have hot milk and foam waiting patiently for them.
With your espresso sitting in the cup/mug, use a spoon to block the foam and pour in a bit of the hot milk without foam.
The ratio should be 1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk and 1/3 foam.
After pouring the milk, use the spoon to scoop the foam in.
It can also be nice for a cappuccino if you just fill the rest of the mug up with foam, no matter how much espresso and milk is in it.
Because after all, the foam is the kicker when it comes to cappuccinos!
And there you have it, a delicious, barista-style cappuccino made professionally by YOU. Enjoy!
Small Espresso Maker And Frother
This third method costs way less than the other two methods, and is just a bit more labor intensive.
But surprisingly enough, it doesn’t take very much longer than the others.
For this one, you need two things.
The first one is a Minipresso espresso maker.
If you’re not familiar with Minipresso, it’s an awesome hand-held espresso maker that’s very inexpensive, portable and makes great espresso!
I also have a generic version of the Minipresso in Coffee Cheers Merch, my web store.
It’s less expensive and can make a double espresso! Minipresso only makes a single shot.
If you want help deciding which one you’d prefer, you can read my article here where I compare the two!
Anyway, the second thing you’ll need is a milk frother.
If you’ve looked at the links here for these two items, you’ll see that you can get both of these things that can make a fine cappuccino for well under $100!
That’s a great deal if you have an itch to make cappuccinos at home.
It’s impossible to find a fully or semi-automatic espresso machine for under $100.
Important: you’ll also need a coffee grinder, of course. I’m writing this assuming that you have a coffee grinder, and one that can make fine grounds for espresso. But if you don’t, here’s a nice automatic one on Amazon that has thousands and thousands of good reviews. But you can find many others there as well. You can also get a very inexpensive, hand-held one.
Alright, so if you have all those things, you’re good to go!
There are at least two different types of milk frothers, and honestly both of them are easy to use.
So I won’t explain both of them.
But if you get the one like I put in the link above, you simply add cold or warm milk, pump the knob up and down until you have that perfect foam for your drink, and there you have it.
Foam is ready to go.
The nice thing about this milk frother is that you can make foam with warm or cold milk!
That’s a feature which not even the fancy semi-automatic espresso machines have.
But before you even make your milk foam, you should heat your water to make the espresso. That’s always step one when you make coffee at home!
So after you have hot water ready and your milk foam waiting for its perfect pair, you’re ready to make espresso.
The Minipresso (or the generic version) may take a bit of practice, but probably not too much and you just need to know the tricks for it.
Which I’ll tell you now.
To make the espresso with a Minipresso, first is… you hopefully guessed it.
Heat the water!
As your water is heating, grind the beans to a very fine grind.
If 1 is ultra fine and 10 is very coarse, you should grind them at about 2 out of 10.
When you have your espresso grounds, put them into the filter basket of the device.
You can either gently tamp them down with the plastic scoop that comes with the Minipresso, or you can just thump the filter basket on a flat surface a few times to get the grounds nice and compact.
Then, secure the filter basket into the device with the water spout secured tightly over it.
After you have that ready, pour the hot water into the water container, then screw the water container onto the device… tightly.
Now, take it from me, after many times of using both the Minipresso and the generic one.
Before you pour the espresso, make sure once again that the parts are secured tightly before you brew it.
Otherwise, it comes out more like weak, flat coffee and your time and coffee are wasted.
Yes it’s a bit frustrating when this happens.
So after making sure a second time that the water container and water spout are both secured tightly, then turn the device over, point the water spout at your cappuccino mug and squeeze the button until all the espresso comes out.
It’s pretty satisfying actually.
If you want to see a video of how to use it, you can watch one straight from the source on Wacaco’s website here!
So now your espresso is waiting for the milk and foam that you’ve already made to be poured on top.
Pour in about the same amount of milk as espresso into the mug/cup, or just a little more milk.
After the milk, use a spoon and scoop out your foam into the drink.
You can add as much as you want, but as you can see in my article about the different espresso drinks, the ratio is about 1/3 each… espresso, milk and foam.
Although it’s quite common to put in as much foam as you can fit into the beverage so there might be more foam than 1/3, and that’s just fine too.
And there you go, you have a delicious cappuccino just waiting for you to drink it!
Remember, Practice Makes Perfect
Making a cappuccino, or most any other espresso beverage for that matter, is an art and a science.
And your favorite barista at your favorite coffee shop has spent a lot of time learning how to make your favorite cappuccino!
The great news is though, that you can do it at home… and there are in fact multiple ways to do it!
You barely even need $100 to have all the equipment to make one right from the comfort of your own home.
But just remember that practice makes perfect.
And yes this is even if you use a one touch machine.
Sure it’s much easier than the other two methods I’ve written about here, but no matter what method or machine you go with, you have to learn the ins and outs of it.
So give your self some grace as you learn the process of making a cappuccino from home, no matter how you do it.
And the most important thing is, of course, to have fun and enjoy what you do!
If you follow all the steps I’ve given you in this article, you’ll hardly have much of a learning curve at all!
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it and found this very useful for your home cappuccino making and of course… cappuccino cheers!