How to make a cappuccino

Get your froth on with us as we walk you through the simple steps to making the perfect cappuccino.

What you need

Espresso Machine
Milk jug
18g ground coffee
Milk or milk alternative
Chocolate powder (optional)


  • 1.Grind your coffee into the portafilter until it’s full, making approximately 18g.
  • 2.Use the tamper to apply even pressure to the grounds until you have a level surface.
  • 2.Reattach the portafilter to your espresso machine and pull a double shot of espresso into your mug.
  • 4.At this stage, we like to add chocolate powder to the espresso — but this is personal preference. The other option is to simply sprinkle the chocolate on top at the end.
  • 5.Fill a jug with your milk of choice up to around half capacity (usually to the bottom of the spout).
  • 6.Purge your steam wand by briefly activating the steam for 1-2 seconds out of the milk, then turning it off again. Insert the wand in the centre of the jug, positioning the tip just below the surface of the milk, and tilt the jug slightly to the side.
  • 7.Activate the steam and lower the jug slightly to allow the milk to start foaming. You should hear a squeaky hissing noise, and a whirlpool will form.
  • 8.At this point, raise your jug to submerge your wand and continue steaming without making any more foam. Once the jug’s base is hot to the touch, turn off the steam and remove the wand. Purge again and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  • 9.Firmly tap the jug on your work surface and swirl the milk to remove any large air bubbles.
  • 10.With one hand, take your mug of espresso and tilt it towards the milk jug. With the other hand, pour a stream of foamed milk steadily into the centre of your espresso, leaving a thick, frothy middle as you complete your pour.
  • 11.For the finishing touch, if this is your preference, dust the foam with a little cocoa powder, and voilà! You’ve made the perfect cappuccino.

Origins of the cappuccino

Like some of the greatest coffee drinks around, the cappuccino has its roots in Italy, having only gone global back in the 1980s. The Italians traditionally enjoy the velvety brew simply with espresso and milk, but other variations include a sprinkle of cinnamon or cocoa powder, too.

The name ‘cappuccino’ comes from Capuchin friars, who wore deep brown habits with a hue that closely resembled the colour made when milk is added to brewed coffee. Legend has it that one particular Capuchin monk, Marc d’Aviano, invented the cappuccino as a reprieve following the Battle of Vienna.

Thus, the cappuccino was born — and we’ve been drinking it up ever since.

What is a cappuccino?

A cappuccino is a popular coffee drink made with a double shot of espresso and topped with equal parts steamed milk and milk foam. The espresso base of the drink cuts through the foam and provides a rich coffee flavour, while the milk offers a little complementary sweetness. This creates a delightfully well-balanced brew with a creamy mouthfeel.

Cappuccino FAQs

What is the difference between a cappuccino and latte?

These are two of the coffee-drinking world’s most beloved brews — but also two of the most commonly confused. The difference between the drinks comes down to the ratio of espresso, steamed milk and milk foam. In a latte, you typically use a 1:2 ratio of espresso to steamed milk, topped off with just a little foam. In a cappuccino, however, the ratio of espresso to steamed milk and foam is 1:1:1 — the bubbly brew traditionally boasts a thicker layer of froth.

What is a dry cappuccino?

A dry cappuccino is a variation on the standard drink that has less steamed milk and more foam. Thanks to this skewed ratio, the dry cappuccino usually has a stronger coffee flavour. On the other hand, a wet cappuccino features more steamed milk and less foam, and usually tastes slightly sweeter because there’s more milk to dilute the espresso.

What’s the best milk for a cappuccino?

Fresh, whole dairy milk is recommended for a cappuccino in order to create a smooth and creamy foam. While lower-fat dairy milk will stretch, the foam it makes tends to be lighter and quicker to dissolve, a bit like a meringue.

If you’re looking for a dairy-free alternative, we recommend unsweetened oat or soy milk, as these substitutes will froth nicely without clouding the flavour of your brew too much.

How do you froth milk for a cappuccino?

To get the perfect milk consistency for your cappuccino, steam until you’ve made approximately double the volume that you started out with. To begin, activate the clean steaming wand just below the surface of the milk, at a slight angle to your jug. Once you’ve found the sweet spot for stretching the milk, you should hear a squeaky hissing noise, and a vortex will form.

Let the milk rise until you reach the double mark, then lower your wand a little deeper to finish off steaming. When the bottom of your jug is hot to the touch, turn off the steam and give your milk a swirl. Then, condense the foam by tapping your jug on a work surface.

You can also froth your milk using a whisk — but this takes a little longer and might not whip the milk as well. For the best results, use a steam wand.