How to make cappuccino at home explains the art of using an espresso machine to get perfect foam and just the right ratio of milk to espresso.

A cup of cappuccino on a saucer with milk being poured into it.

This recipe is for an authentic Italian cappuccino made with the perfect proportions of espresso, steamed milk, and foamed milk. For a larger one, double the quantities. For a milkier cappuccino, increase the milk to 6 tablespoons. Ever wondered the difference between a cappuccino and a macchiato? The latter has just a small spot of foamed milk, as “macchiato” means “spot” in Italian.–Daniel Young


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  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes 1 espresso shot
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  • 1 rounded tablespoon (about 7 grams) finely ground coffee, preferably an espresso blend
  • 1/4 cup cold milk (whole, 2%, or nonfat)
  • 1 pinch cocoa powder or ground cinnamon, optional


  • 1. Warm up the espresso machine. Put the coffee in the filter basket of the portafilter, tamp down with a tamper, and secure the portafilter in the brew head. Place a 5- or 6-ounce cup directly under the brew head, turn on the brew switch, and brew for 22 to 28 seconds to yield 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of espresso.
  • 2. Press the steam switch and wait for the ready indicator to light up. Meanwhile, pour the milk into a stainless steel pitcher. Submerge the tip of the steam wand at least half an inch below the milk surface and turn on the steam switch. As the foam rises, gradually lower the pitcher so the tip of the wand remains just below the milk surface. As the milk begins to heat up, tilt the pitcher slightly to swirl the milk and continue to steam until the side of the pitcher becomes too hot to hold. Turn off the steam while still holding the tip of the wand under the milk surface.
  • 3. Pour the frothed milk into the cappucino in one of two ways:
  • For a smooth cappucino in which textured milk is evenly integrated throughout the beverage, gently pour the frothed milk over the espresso in a thin, steady stream.
  • For a cappucino with a foamy head, hold back the foam with a spoon and gently pour the milk over the espresso. Spoon foam over the top.
  • 4. Sprinkle with cocoa powder or cinnamon, if desired. Serve hot.


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