The credit for inventing Cappuccino is given to the Capuchin order of friars – fact or myth, who knows? The friars’ long pointed cowls certainly resemble a perfectly finished Cappuccino: heaps of froth sitting on the nutty colored Espresso crema, the base of the froth stained with a rich dark, coffee ring. It could be true! All I can say is I’m glad someone did invent it.
There is no reason why you cannot perform your own ritual of brewing Espresso and making cappuccinos in the comfort of your own “kitchen-café”—to entertain guests, nourish your soul, and please your palate and maybe your pocketbook, too.
The best news yet is that you do not necessarily need a special machine to make a creative coffee drink! This article hopefully will inspire you to begin to create your own Cappuccinos today.
How to make the perfect Cappuccino
According to the Italians, Cappuccino is a breakfast to mid-morning drink, with 12 noon as cut off time. That seems to be one of the only limitations though, seeing as there are a few interesting Italian variations of the Cappuccino.
One may find a Cappuccino Chiaro – a lighter in strength Cappuccino with less Espresso than the traditional one-third dose and two-thirds steamed frothed milk.
Cappuccino Scuro, meanwhile, is a dark Cappuccino made with a doppio (double Espresso) and one- third steamed frothed milk; it’s not a Macchiato, which only requires a spoonful of dry foam.
It’s quite amazing how one can really taste the difference between a good and a bad Cappuccino by the frothing of the milk. Even after the tenth Cappuccino in one day, I could tell from the first sip whether it was going to be a good or bad one.
A Predictable Cup: I know it when I Smell it!
Tight air bubbles sat on the surface of the cup, with a little of the nutty coffee color just rising to the surface. On sipping, the milk, froth, and Espresso were one and the Espresso on the bottom was filtered through a thick, smooth texture with just the correct amount of aroma coming through with each mouthful.
Now, in hindsight, and as the experienced Cappuccino taster that I am, I have discovered that the big milky air bubbles and froth let the coffee come through in a watery state.
If too much steam is released into the milk, it will not only scorch the milk but also make it too watery, thus creating these large air bubbles – not what one needs for the perfect Cappuccino.
On drinking a Cappuccino with large air bubbles, you will notice that the milk and coffee are almost separate, with two taste sensations instead of one. These were the words of an expert; so let us find out together how to make the perfect Cappuccino.
How to make Cappuccino Foam
1. While hot Espresso is being freshly brewed, froth (which steams and foams the milk at the same time) the milk in the frothing pitcher. Set aside for 30 seconds for milk densities to separate. This is when you see a barista knock the frothing jug on the counter for the purpose of separating the steamed milk from the foamed milk!
2. Use a large spoon to block the milk foam at first so that initially only hot steamed milk pours out of the frothing pitcher. Pour the steamed milk into a cup or mug—no more than one-third of the cup’s capacity. Now spoon the satiny foamed milk on top of the steamed milk, again about one-third of the cup’s capacity.
3. Now pour the hot brewed Espresso down the middle of both milk sculptures. If you use a clear glass mug or cup, you will see the various colored layers.
How to Steam Milk for Cappuccino
A cappuccino is technically one-third frothed milk, one-third steamed milk, and one-third espresso. But this equation is almost never a reality. Don’t focus on the ratios.
Instead, concentrate on getting the milk steamed and creating enough foam to define a cappuccino before the steam pitcher gets too hot. You’ll make some great drinks. With time and practice, you’ll fine-tune your own signature ratio.
Once you have whisked your steamed/frothed milk to its desired volume, set the foamy milk ambrosia aside for 30 seconds. The milk will separate, with the steamed milk settling to the bottom half of the pan and the light, airy microbubbles of hot frothed milk floating on top.
How to make a Dry Cappuccino
A dry cappuccino is composed of espresso with layered milk foam. A good dry cappuccino contains almost no steamed milk, just foam. The amount of steamed milk, however, is significantly less than in a regular cappuccino.
1. Prepare an espresso shot and place it into a cup.
2. Steam and froth the milk.
3. Pour the milk onto the espresso shot
4. Using a spoon, add foam to the top of the espresso. Milk foam will separate to create the perfect cap.
Serving suggestion: Decorate the cappuccino by drizzling chocolate sauce on top, using a wooden skewer to make designs. Enjoy with any sort of sweet treat or dessert. Serving size: 1 dry cappuccino
To assemble the cappuccino, pour the steamed milk into the cup first, then dollop the fluffy frothed milk on top of the steamed milk. Very slowly pour the fresh, hot Espresso coffee down the middle (or edge) of the cup through the hot layers of milk.
If you choose a clear glass mug, you will see the attractive presentation as the various layers magically separate. At this point, we hope that you have the full picture so that you can make the perfect Cappuccino.
A finished cappuccino is assembled with: One-third steamed milk poured from the saucepan, holding a large spoon in place so no milk foam pours with the steamed milk; One-third fluffy milk froth, which is spooned on top of the steamed milk; plus One-third brewed Espresso poured from your stovetop Moka-style maker.