The Perfect Cappuccino

J Shepherd/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 serving
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
70 Calories
3g Fat
7g Carbs
4g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 serving
Amount per serving
Calories 70
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Sodium 75mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 158mg 12%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 295mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Light, foamy cappuccinos are a favorite drink for many a coffee lover. With two basic barista skills (pulling shots and foaming milk), you can learn how to make cappuccinos yourself.

A cappuccino is an Italian coffee drink that is traditionally prepared with double espresso, hot milk, and steamed milk foam on top. Cream may be used instead of milk and is often topped with cinnamon. It is typically smaller in volume than a caffè latte, with a thicker layer of microfoam.

Microfoam is frothed/steamed milk in which the bubbles are so small and numerous that they are unseen, but make the milk lighter and thicker. When the espresso if poured correctly, the microfoam will remain partly on top of the mug as well as mix well with the rest of the cappuccino.

Cappuccinos are usually made using an espresso machine. The double espresso is poured into the bottom of the cup, followed by a similar amount of hot milk, which is prepared by heating and texturing the milk using the espresso machine steam wand. The top third of the drink consists of milk foam; this foam can be decorated with latte art made with the same milk.


  • 2 shots

    (a double shot)

  • 4 ounces milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pull a double shot of espresso into a cappuccino cup.

  3. Foam the milk to double its original volume.

  4. Top the espresso with foamed milk right after foaming. When initially poured, cappuccinos are only espresso and foam, but the liquid milk quickly settles out of the foam to create the (roughly) equal parts foam, steamed milk, and espresso for which cappuccino is known.

  5. Serve immediately.

Difference Between Cappuccino and Caffè Latte

Cappuccino is traditionally small with a thick layer of foam, while a latte traditionally is larger. Caffè latte is often served in a large glass while cappuccino mostly in a small cup (usually a 5-ounce cup) with a handle. Cappuccino traditionally has a layer of textured milk microfoam exceeding 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) in thickness.

What's in a Name?

In Italian, cappuccino means "little cap," which perfectly describes the head of foamed milk that sits atop the drink's espresso base.

According to history, it also allegedly derives from the dress of the Capuchin order of monks. With their iconic brown hooded cowls and shaved heads, Capuchin monks are a pretty close human resemblance to the ring of crema and white foam that tops the classic beverage. An offshoot of the Franciscan Catholic order, these friars struck out on their own in 1520, adopting the coffee-colored cloak, or cappuccino, as an imitative sign of gratitude to the Benedictine Camaldolese monks, who offered Capuchins refuge while they dodged persecution from church officials.

When expertly poured so that a circle of white is perfectly encircled by the darker coffee, the design on a "traditional" cappuccino is called a monk's head.