We love cappuccinos. Whenever we go to a new coffee shop, the cappuccino is the barometer we use to determine the shop’s quality and whether or not we should come back. It’s a classic drink that isn’t too difficult to make, but brewing the perfect cappuccino is a subtle art, and there is a stark difference between an average cappuccino and an excellent one.
If you have a Nespresso at home and are wondering if you can use it to make a cappuccino, luckily, the answer is a resounding “yes!” In this article, we’ll teach you how to make a cappuccino with Nespresso in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide. We’ll cover which capsules are best to use and how to prepare the milk so that you get the creamiest, most delicious cappuccino possible.
A Bit of Background
Before we get into the details, it’s helpful to cover some cappuccino basics. The cappuccino is a traditional Italian espresso drink consisting of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. Most often, a double shot of espresso is used as the base for a cappuccino. A double shot is 2 ounces, so that means cappuccinos are usually 6 ounces total.
The overall volume of the cappuccino isn’t as important as the ratio. If you veer too far from the 1:1:1 ratio of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam, your drink will cease to be a cappuccino. The ratio is the essential piece that makes a cappuccino a cappuccino and not a latte or macchiato.
Nespresso Cappuccino Recipe:
Before you get started, you’ll need to gather a few items.
Choosing the Right Capsule
Just like any coffee drink, choosing the right capsule largely comes down to personal preference. However, there are some guidelines you can use when picking out capsules to try in a cappuccino.
Most people prefer to use medium roast coffee in their espresso drinks like the cappuccino. Unlike a regular cup of coffee or a pure shot of espresso, the coffee only makes up one-third of the experience in a cappuccino. Choosing a powerful, bold dark roast might overpower the milk and milk foam, and conversely, a light, thin-bodied roast could get lost in the sea of milk.
Our recommendation is to stick with medium roast capsules if you’re just starting out. Once you’ve tried a few medium roast capsules, if you want to branch out, choose a slightly darker roast rather than a lighter roast. Light roasts tend to be more finicky than dark roasts and harder to get right, especially in a cappuccino.
Our size recommendation is also slightly boring since we advise people to start with regular strength capsules. There is a place for ristretto capsules and lungo capsules for making cappuccinos, but not before you know what you like. The safest bet is to stick with regular capsules for a while and only branch out after getting a feel for how strong you like your cappuccino.
How to Make a Cappuccino with Nespresso
- Your favorite mug (at least 6 oz. capacity)
- 1 Nespresso capsule
- ⅓ cup cold milk
- Cocoa powder for fancy garnish, optional
- We recommend frothing the milk first. If your Nespresso machine has a built-in frothing wand, use that. Otherwise, use a standalone frother or froth the milk by hand with a whisk. Be careful not to overheat the milk. The ideal frothing temperature for milk is between 155°F and 165°
- Brew your espresso using your Nespresso machine.
- With your espresso already in the mug, slowly pour the frothed milk over the top. This is where you can create fancy latte art if you're so inclined. A leaf is the classic beginner's design if you're not sure where to start.
- If you're feeling fancy or want to impress a guest, sprinkle some ground cocoa over the top. Be careful not to overdo it! Traditionalists will cringe, but we like a little extra kick in our cappuccino. Too much cocoa, and you'll have a mocha on your hands.
- Serve and enjoy!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide for making cappuccinos with your Nespresso machine. With a little practice, you’ll be frothing milk like a pro and dishing out dazzling cappuccinos with intricate latte art on top. Once you get your feet wet, you can start to experiment with different roasts and different strength capsules to personalize your cappuccino.
If you’re just beginning to explore the world of cappuccino, we recommend sticking with medium roasts and regular strength capsules for now. There will be plenty of time for experimenting and tinkering after you learn the basics.
Featured Image: Mahrous Houses, Unsplash