Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Secret To Making Coffee House Quality Cappuccino At Home

Don't know about you but I'm sick of paying for too much for "commodities" such as that cup of java. Yeah, I'm calling it a commodity because who doesn't need that coffee fix on a regular basis. I'm here to help you solve that dilemma, if you too are feeling the same way, by showing you how to make coffee house quality cappuccino at home. Ok, so there's a little investment in getting an espresso maker which is what you need to make cappuccino but in the long run it will save you buckets of hard earned cash. Before we start, to give a slight recommendation on the espresso machine let me state that you don't need to go out and purchase the most expensive espresso machine. You can find a good quality one like I did for under 100 bucks. For the purpose of this article, the espresso machine I use is the DeLonghi BAR42 Pump-Driven Espresso Maker. If you don't want to spend that much, I recommend that you don't go lower than the next down which is the De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. Let's get started shall we.

Ingredients for one restaurant sized portion of cappuccino:

  • 1 TBSP of coffee grinds that you should grind yourself (see Step 1 for recommended coffee)
  • 1 1/2 cups of filtered water
  • 3/4 cups of whole or skim milk

Step 1: For making good quality cappuccino at home, please grind your own beans. This is very important if you want it to come out tasting delicious and fresh. I highly recommended for you caffeine junkies out there, Ruta Maya Organic Whole Bean Coffee (Medium Roast). This will give you a caffeine jolt so big you will feel like you've taken 5 hour energy... no seriously.

Ruta Maya: Grown on the slopes of Mt. Nicaragua (not really just joking) but it tastes like it!

Found Ruta Maya at Costco for a super good deal! Wink wink.
Tip #1: It's important before we get to step 2, not to use refrigerated coffee grinds even if you ground them yourself the week before. I made this mistake and the coffee had lost a lot of its taste. Always grind fresh beans right then and there before you make the espresso. Also, don't refrigerate or freeze your coffee beans because you'll zap the taste right out doing this as well. Just store them in a cool, dry place.  

Step 2 (above): After you grind 1 TBSP worth of coffee beans (1 TBSP is for approximately 1 1/2 cups of coffee which is a restaurant sized portion) place your grinds into the filter that fits on top of the filter holder as you see in the above image.

Step 3 (above): Use the pressing pad that's protruding from the underside of either one of the espresso machines I recommended to mash the coffee down. You want to do this very carefully, don't press down too hard or too light but compact your grinds just enough so when the water trickles through, it will be the right consistency.  It's not really something that can be explained, you just have to see for yourself through experience, what the right touch is

Tip #2: Before we get to Step 4, it's important to use filtered water and not tap water for the best tasting espresso.

Step 4: Follow the directions that should of come with your espresso maker on how to proceed with turning the knobs to get your coffee flowing as you see in the picture. I won't go into this step because every espresso machine is going to be different for this operation. I'm just giving you important tips in making the cappuccino the best you can for pump driven espresso machines like the Delonghi's I recommended. However, it's important to remind you of Step 2, that you use 1 1/2 cups of the filtered water for approximately 1 TBSP of coffee grinds that you placed in the filter for Step 2.

Step 5 (above): Now comes the fun part which is frothing the milk. I froth approximately 3/4 cups of whole milk for the amount coffee grinds and water I use. I find that this makes for a nice creamy tasting cappuccino. Follow the directions that came with the espresso machine for frothing the milk. However, there's a secret to frothing the milk (as you see me doing in the above image) and it's to take your time with it. The milk is not going to froth instantly when you use the milk frother on the espresso machine. It takes me almost 2 minutes of constantly frothing the milk to get it how I like it. You're going to want to froth the milk until it gets super heated and bubbly as you see in the picture. The milk in your cup should increase in size from all the bubbles so use an over sized coffee mug to hold the milk that you're frothing so it doesn't overflow. Use the milk frother nozzle way down in the milk and also near the surface while your frothing and adjust the steam coming from the nozzle accordingly, using the knob, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the need. Again, just takes the right touch and maybe a little practice and you'll be frothing perfectly in no time.

Step 6: After frothing the milk, you're just about there. Pour the espresso that you made before you frothed the milk into a over sized coffee mug (above). It's important that you don't pour the espresso into the milk you just frothed because that's a different cup of gourmet coffee. Instead you want to pour the milk into the espresso that you placed in your over sized coffee mug. Wha

I hope you find that this cup of gourmet coffee meets your expectations. Whether or not it does, is going to of course depend on what espresso machine you're using but I hope I was able to point out important tips to making it the best you possibly can using the espresso machines I recommended. Even if you don't have the recommended espresso machines and are using something different, my aim was to be general enough where you can apply my recommendations to that as well. Cheers to having a happy java celebration and to saving big money!

No comments:

Post a Comment