How To Make A Cappuccino

One of the defining characteristics of cappuccino is that it’s about a 5 to 6 ounce beverage, so it’s usually nice and proper that keeps the ratio nice and tight. 

For this popular coffee drink you need some core ingredients: 

  • Freshly roasted coffee
  • Burr grinder
  • Ice-cold milk
  • Water being plumbed into your coffee machine
  • Digital scale
  • Tamper

These are all the tools you need to make that same delicious drink they make for you in coffee shops!

1. Make sure that your cup is nice and hot.

How To Make A Cappuccino

Add a little water off the machine, this is going to keep it at a high temperature so that it maintains all of the heat and you don’t have to take your milk to such a high temperature, which lets you keep a little bit more of the sweetness out of it.

2. Get your portafilter ready.

This is where you are going to put your coffee that you’ve ground and preparing to extract. You want to make sure your portafilter basket is clean and dry, which is what you use a portafilter towel for. 

3. Be precise about your coffee dose.

Use a digital scale to measure the weight (20 grams). Freshly grind your coffee into the basket. 

4. Get an even surface.

Use the leveling technique which is to shift the coffee grounds by your hand around the top of the basket. 

5. Compress the coffee bed down. 

How To Make A Cappuccino

Use a tamper, it’s like a chef’s knight, everybody has one that fits their hand just right. Make sure that your portafilter is nice and level because that’s going to affect how fast the water goes through the various parts of the puck, you want to line straight up from that through your elbow, then compact it evenly. 

6. Lock your portafilter in and pull the shot.

The 3 big variables you pay attention to:

  • The dose: The amount of coffee
  • The yield: The amount of espresso going into the cup
  • The time: How long does it take to pull your shot, use a timer of this. 

Flush a little water through the group head, then lock your portafilter in tightly and pull the shot. Aim for 30 to 35 seconds overall time to get the coffee taste just right. 

The time it takes for that to happen is what is really going to affect the flavor. Below 20 seconds shot is going to be a very sour unbalanced shot. If you go longer than 30 seconds, the shot can start to taste excessively bitter. 

7. Steam up your milk.

When you’re steaming, you want to take your steam wand tip which has a few little holes in it that hot air gets out through, you want to have it right at the surface of the milk in your pitcher because that’s going to let it whipping air to create the texture you’re looking for. 

Once you’ve had the desired amount of texture, lift your pitcher up so that’s not whipping in any more air but it still brings that temperature up right into the zone that you want. Make sure to wipe off your steam wand and give it a little purge at the end. 

A really great thing to do after you’ve steamed your milk is to tap it on a counter and give it a nice swirl. It’s called “polishing”. It’s going to take what was a rougher texture and give it a nice shine, that white gold milk.

8. Do some latte art.

How To Make A Cappuccino

It takes some baristas a lifetime to learn it really well. It’s a talent that only professionals can develop after years of practice. Don't feel intimidated, just do what you can and enjoy. 

Happy coffee brewing!

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