There’s something about a cappuccino that’s so indulgent and so satisfying. For me, cappuccinos are reminiscent of lazy, hazy mornings on a recent trip to Italy. And a key part of that memory is the comfort of enjoying that frothy drink in a proper cup, in the comfort of my hotel. The paper-cup versions from the coffee shop around the corner are really no comparison. That’s why I’m exploring the best way to make cappuccino at home.
Here, I’ll share two ways to capture the taste and feel of cappuccino at home: one easy, and one authentic.
The Easy Cappuccino
For a low-effort, high-reward cappuccino, you’ll need a microwave, glass measuring cup, metal whisk, mug and spoon. Start by pouring a half cup of milk in the glass measuring cup, then microwave it uncovered for about a minute. You don’t want the milk to boil, but you’ll know it’s at the right temperature when small bubbles form around the edge.
Once the milk is ready, use the metal whisk to create foam by placing it in the liquid and rubbing quickly back and forth between your palms. As the foam bubbles up, remove it to another cup. When you’ve amassed a third of a cup of foam, you’re set.
Brew a third of a cup of espresso or instant coffee in a mug. If using instant coffee, use twice as many granules as required for that much water in order to get a bolder espresso flavor. To the coffee, add the remaining heated milk, then spoon foam over the top. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon or cocoa powder, if you like.
VIDEO: So easy a 6-year-old can do it! Watch this video to see exactly how the Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker works.
The Authentic Cappuccino
If you’re looking for a real cappuccino flavor, do as the Italians do. To start, you’ll need an espresso machine such as the Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker (91/100), a distinctive metal pot dedicated to brewing great espresso every time. Don’t be intimidated by this espresso maker. You can find it for about $30. Use it to make your third of a cup of espresso, which you’ll pour into a mug, then set aside.
Next, you must heat a half cup of milk. As in the previous recipe, you can do this the easy way by warming it up in the microwave. Purists would argue, however, that it’s better to heat the milk over medium heat in a small saucepan until it reaches the perfect temperature, indicated by small bubbles around the edges. When that happens, you can pour your warmed milk over the espresso you brewed and set aside earlier.
Finally, you can use a dedicated milk frother to create the perfect foam with which you’ll top your cappuccino. Viewpoints reviewers love the Aerolatte Milk Frother (97/100), which costs about $20 and is compact, battery operated and easy to use. Its stick design makes it easy to store, but also means the frothing process is still somewhat manual.
A total alternative for someone with a bigger budget is the Nespresso Essenza Automatic Single-Serve Espresso Machine with Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother (98/100), a $130 set of machines that will both brew your espresso and froth your milk simultaneously.
With at-home options like these, the days of expensive cappuccinos in paper cups are sure to soon be a distant memory.