a cup of regular cappuccino with a lot of coffee beans in the background

Easy Steps to Making a Cappuccino at Home

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Everyone has those days when you just don’t want to leave the house.

But should staying home keep you from getting your favorite drink? We think not.

If you are unsure of how to make a cappuccino by yourself, we’ve got you covered.

Here are some easy steps for you to make a delicious cappuccino at home.

What Is a Cappuccino?

a cup of cappuccino

A cappuccino is a coffee drink that originates from Italy.

It is a drink made from a combination of espresso and steamed milk or cream.

Cappuccino is an Italian word that means little cap.

Considering that a cappuccino drink comes with a layer of foamed cream or milk atop the espresso base, the name is fitting.

Some say that the name Cappuccino stems from the appearance of the Capuchin Order of Monks.

Their hooded cowls and shaved heads are reminiscent of the brown espresso with a microfoam and cream ring on top.

Ingredients You Need

When preparing a cappuccino, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Coffee
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Toppings (optional)

You may use toppings like crushed peppermint wheels, solid peppermint, cocoa powder, or cinnamon powder to make it even more decadent.

How to Make Espresso Without a Machine

Not having an espresso machine should not stop you from preparing cappuccino at home.

In the absence of an espresso machine, you can make espresso through any of the following means:

  • Moka Pot
  • AeroPress
  • French Press

Using a Moka Pot

preparing a cappuccino in a moka pot
  • Add cold water to the lower compartment of the Moka pot until it reaches just below the valve.
  • Grind sufficient coffee beans to fill the Moka pot. Ensure the outcome is finely consistent.
  • Next, place the funnel inside the Moka pot. Through the funnel, pour the ground coffee into the Moka pot.
  • Place the upper compartment of the Moka pot and screw it in.
  • Transfer the Moka pot to the stove, turn on the stove, and heat slowly.
  • Leave the water to boil. Then when you hear a gurgling sound, you may check for foam. The sound is a sign that water has started moving up the Moka pot.
  • To check for foam, gently open the lid of the pot with a long spoon. While doing this, ensure you keep your distance so that the escaping steam does not scald you.
  • Your espresso is done when the funnel spout is filled with foam, and the upper compartment of the Moka pot is filled with coffee.
  • When the espresso is ready, take the Moka pot off the stove, then pour the espresso into a cup.

Using an AeroPress

a man making cappuccino using aeropress
  • Grind your coffee into a fine consistency.
  • Boil 2 ounces of water to about 200°F.
  • Prepare your AeroPress by rinsing the filter thoroughly and placing it on the filter cap.
  • Place the plunger of the AeroPress halfway through the main compartment.
  • Then add the ground coffee to the AeroPress compartment and pour the hot water slowly into it.
  • Twirl the AeroPress for a few seconds to mix the grounds and water.
  • Insert the filter cap into the AeroPress.
  • Invert the AeroPress over your coffee mug. Then swiftly push the espresso through the filter.
  • Pour your espresso into your coffee mug.

Using a French Press

a lady pouring coffee through a french press
  • Grind your coffee into a fine consistency.
  • Boil some water to about 200°F.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of ground coffee to the French press.
  • Add some hot water to the grounds in the press.
  • Let this mixture sit for about 30 seconds to allow the grounds to emit their oils.
  • Afterward, pour the remaining hot water into the French press.
  • Replace the lid of the French press, then pull the plunger all the way up.
  • Let the espresso sit for about 5 minutes for a more intense flavor.
  • Then slowly push the plunger down till it’s halfway through the chamber.
  • Pull the plunger back to the top, then push it all the way down this time.
  • Now pour your espresso into your mug.

How to Make Steamed/Frothed Milk at Home

If you have to make steamed milk at home without a frother, follow these steps:

  • Pour your milk into a large container with a lid, leaving about 2/3 of the space empty.
  • Cover the container, then shake it thoroughly until the milk has foamed to almost twice its initial volume.
  • Uncover the container, then place it in a microwave. Microwave the milk for around 30 seconds or as long as you need to get it warm.
  • While microwaving, watch the milk. Whenever it gets close to overflowing, turn off the microwave till the foam settles.
  • Once the foam settles, continue microwaving until the 30 seconds is complete.
  • If 30 seconds does not make it warm enough, microwave again for another 30 seconds.

How to Make Cappuccino With a Regular Coffee Pot

a cup of regular cappuccino with a lot of coffee beans in the background

If you intend to make your cappuccino with a regular coffee pot, follow these steps:

  • Pour your milk into a small pot and boil.
  • When the milk starts boiling, take it off the heat.
  • Transfer the milk into a large container with a lid. Ensure the milk only fills about 1/3 of the container.
  • Cover the container and shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds or until frothy.
  • Add half a cup of water to the coffee pot and boil.
  • Then add 2 tablespoons of coffee to the hot water. Stir and transfer into the coffee mug.
  • Pour some of the milk into the espresso in the coffee mug and stir.
  • Then scoop some of the foam from the milk container. Lay the foam atop your drink. Serve with your desired topping.

How to Make a Cappuccino With an Espresso Machine

Preparing cappuccino with an espresso machine is pretty straightforward.

It takes 2 main stages: preparing the espresso and foaming the milk.

Preparing the Espresso

  • Pour half a cup of clean water into the espresso machine’s boiler.
  • Switch the espresso machine on and preheat for about 20-45 seconds.
  • Attach the empty portafilter to the group head, lock it in, then run the machine. This way, you will warm up the parts water flow through.
  • Next, dry the portafilter, then add 2 tablespoons of ground espresso to it.
  • With the tamper, press down the coffee in the portafilter 2-3 times until tightly packed. While tamping, ensure you apply enough pressure by pressing directly above the coffee.
  • Attach the portafilter to the group head again, then lock it in by turning it to the right.
  • Place your coffee cup beneath the group head. Then brew by activating the lever or switch on the machine.
  • Brew for 20-30 seconds or until you get about 2 ounces of espresso.
  • Once you are done, move on to foaming the milk.

Foaming the Milk

foaming the milk using an espresso machine
  • Pour your cold fresh milk (half a cup) into a metal pitcher or a glass measuring cup. Leave about 2/3 of the cup/pitcher empty to allow space for the foam.
  • Place the steam wand inside the cup with the milk – slightly below the surface of the milk.
  • Keep the steam wand close to the side of the cup or pitcher and tilt it slightly (about 15°)
  • Activate the steam wand – check the manual for instructions on how to do this.
  • While the steam wand is active, move the container higher and lower to it. This way, you’ll aerate and texture the milk and create smaller bubbles.
  • Turn off the steam wand when the milk has foamed to twice its initial volume.

Adding Milk to the Espresso

  • Right after foaming the milk, pour it on top of the espresso. At first, it would appear like what you have is just foam and espresso but after a bit, some of the foam settles out to become liquid milk. When this happens, you’ll get your cappuccino.

5 Best Beginner Friendly Espresso Machines

If you prefer getting an espresso machine, but operating it overwhelms you, worry not.

Here’s a list of some of the best espresso machines for beginners:

Final Thoughts

It’s pretty easy to make cappuccino at home, even if all you have is a regular coffee pot, a French press, an AeroPress, or a Moka pot.

Just follow the steps highlighted above carefully, and you should be able to make magic in a mug without ever leaving the comfort of your home.

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