Ideally to make a Cappuccino you should have a nice coffee machine with a milk steamer, but they can be pretty expensive. Even then, using the steamer is an art form that few successfully perfect. Cappucinos are the Martinis of coffee drinks – simple & delicious with just a couple common ingredients – but very easy to completely ruin.
So, just in case you find yourself in a life or death situation where you absolutely have to make a cappuccino, but you don’t have a milk steamer, here is how you can make a cappuccino without a machine at home:
Make a Cappuccino Without a Machine:
What You’ll Need:
- A Whisk & A Glass
- Beautiful Coffee Cup (but only if you need to instagram your cappuccino, otherwise any cup will do)
Step 1: Make espresso.
Do it however you always do it. Maybe you have a cool Nespresso machine like me and George Clooney, or maybe you use a Bialetti Moka. If you don’t have an espresso machine, the easiest thing to do is buy a cheap Moka (here in Italy you can find them for a few euro), and some ground illy coffee.
See my Moka Pot Instructions post if you need help making Espresso with the Moka.
Step 2: Heat up milk.
Heat up about half a cup of milk in the microwave or on a stove top until its really hot, but not quite boiling. I put mine in the microwave for one minute.
If you can, it’s best to use a fresh whole milk since it will make a creamier froth.
Step 3: Whip milk into a thick froth with a whisk.
Take a whisk between the palms of your hands, and whip the milk until you have a thick froth. Ideally you shouldn’t see any big bubbles, so whip for a couple of minutes if you need to.
Step 4: Swirl & Tap.
Swirl the glass in a circle to condense the foam together, and tap it on the counter to pop the bigger bubbles. Repeat swirling and tapping a few times until the foam looks nice and creamy!
Step 4: Pour
Imeddiatly after one last swirl, pour the milk into the espresso, shaking your wrist side to side a bit to help the foam come out before the rest of the milk. This way it will sit nicely on top of the espresso.
Thats it! Obviously, a cappuccino made with a milk steamer has a much thicker froth, so any self-respecting cappuccino snob will wrinkle their nose at this. That being said, this froth is actually pretty much the same quality as what I get from the Nespresso Aeroccino frother that I have.
The whisk method is a quick and easy substitute for desperate circumstances. The next time you find yourself with only a whisk and a spoon, and someone tells you to make a cappuccino or walk the plank, you’ll thank me.