italian cappuccino italian cappuccino

How to make cappuccino

By the Lavazza Team 2–3 minutes

How to brew the best cappuccino ever according to Italian tradition, with its homemade foam? Italian cappuccino is one of the most popular and appreciated espresso-based drinks in the world. Combining espresso and steamed hot milk, the freshness and quality of its ingredients – such as milk and coffee – are to be considered necessary to get a perfect experience.

Easy steps to make a cappuccino

The name “cappuccino” probably derives from the Capuchin friars, an order of Franciscan monks founded in Italy during the Thirteenth century. The first one to adopt the word “cappuccino” – “kapuziner” in German – to identify the beverage were the Austrians. After defeating the Ottoman army in 1683, Austrians started making use of the hundreds of bags of coffee the Turks left behind. A Polish nobleman, Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki, who had become a hero for having helped defeat the Turkish army used this gift to open the first Viennese coffee shop, Zur Blauen Flasche. It is in this coffee shop that an Italian monk, Father Marco D’Aviano, tasted coffee while visiting the first Viennese coffee shop, Zur Blauen. Since he found it too bitter, he suggested to add honey and milk. At this point, the colour of his beverage turned out to be quite like the one of the long brown robes with large hoods worn by the religious order, named cappuccio.

Nevertheless, we need to wait for the post-WWII period to taste the cappuccino as we conceive it today, thanks to the technological innovations by Achille Gaggia and his espresso machine, which is able to foam milk.

cup of cappuccino

Step 1: start to your homemade ingredients

Let's see what you actually need to prepare your perfect cup  of lovely cappuccino. Since the most famous espresso drink is the wonderful combination of steamed milk, espresso and frothy foam, in order to reach bar-quality standards while being at home the first thing you need to consider are your homemade ingredients!

First of all, for a delightful cappuccino you need espresso, granting you the aroma and flavour that a simple strong coffee would not. From this point of view, the best choice is definitely espresso roast coffee.

You can make use of both espresso machine or a small automatic bean to cup maker to brew your ideal Italian espresso. When it comes to milk, the best one for an outstanding cappuccino is doubtlessly fresh milk! As it gets near to its expiration date, it will not foam in the right way. Whole milk is to be considered ideal thanks to the presents of the right number of proteins and fats, as its froths have the highest milk fat. Furthermore, it is possible to use milk for those who go for a vegan cappuccino, since it froths up well and has a tasty flavour. Oat, almond and coconut milk can be considered as other flavoursome and appetising alternatives, but you need to find the professional line enriched with proteins

Step 2: the preparation and the foam

We are about to see how to make a delicious cappuccino at home by using an espresso machine and following a few steps:

  • Refrigerate the milk – Since cold milk foams way better than warm milk, Cool down your stainless-steel pitcher with some cold water or ice, than discard it and fill it with cold full fat milk.
  •  Grind your coffee beans – The best espresso comes from freshly ground coffee beans. Just as a barista would do, it is advisable to finely grind the beans directly into the portafilter to obtain the freshest coffee ever possible.
  • Tamp the grounds – Consisting of a small and flat round weight with a handle, a tamper can be used to press the coffee grounds into an even disc. This operation will allow the portafilter to go into and come out of the machine properly and will optimise the contact between water and coffee. Anyhow, do not press too hard, otherwise the disc will get too compacted; apply instead a medium pressure and then release with a slight twist.
  •  Pull the espresso shot – Gently slide the filter basket into the machine, then turn the handle to lock it. Discard the hot water warming the cup, then place it underneath the portafilter and let the coffee stream out.
  •  Froth the milk – Release some steam from the steaming wand for a couple of seconds to eliminate any residual water. Dip the tip of the steaming wand into the milk just slightly below the surface (the aim is to pick up some air from outside) and start frothing. As the foam rises and the milk’s volume increases, lower the pitcher while keeping the tip submerged and tilted, in order to create a vortex.
  • Pour the milk – Swirl well the cup to blend liquid milk and foam and pour it into your cappuccino cup right on top of the espresso.
drinking cappuccino

All the tips for a perfect cappuccino

Here are a few cappuccino tips! While taking care of the last step, make sure the pouring height is not too high and gradually level the cup as it fills with your steamed milk, tilting the cup and placing the jug as horizontal as possible with the sport close to the coffee surface will help you to pour the foam. Towards the end, gently wiggle the jug so that the foam more easily lands on top of the cappuccino. If you wish to create a flavoured cappuccino, just add two or three tablespoons of syrup in the cup before pulling the espresso shot.

Add as much sugar as you want and don't forget to taste some biscuits! Here's all you need to do to enjoy a perfect cappuccino according to the Italian tradition! Though, you are free to experiment, to make your amazing cappuccino experience in line with your tastes!


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