What is a Cappuccino? Try This Foamy Coffee Recipe at Home

Cappuccino is one of the more well-known drinks among coffee enthusiasts.

A lot of people prefer the sweet, creamy taste of a cappuccino over the stronger variety.

But still, others do not have an idea of what a cappuccino is and how it differs to other types of coffee. Some are too shy to ask the barista about the drink.

Well, don’t worry. In this article, we will provide you with all the information that you need on what is a cappuccino and where it came from.

We will also tell you its main difference from other types of coffee.

If you are looking for another flavor to add to your coffee menu, cappuccino is indeed rather a delicious option. Read on to know more about this soft, creamy cup of joe.

Also Read: Why Is Coffee Called ‘A Cup of Joe’? 

What is a Cappuccino?

Cappuccino is an espresso-based with a thick layer of milk microfoam. This beverage is a blend of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and steamed milk foam.

It is typically made from dark roasted coffee grounded finely. You can add sugar, syrup or cinnamon powder as you please on top of your cappuccino.

how to make a cappuccino

How to Make a Cappuccino

If you are looking to making your own cup of cappuccino or you just simply want to know what’s in it and how’s it made here is a simple recipe for you.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American, French
Servings 1 person


  • Coffee cup
  • Espresso Machine
  • Measuring cup
  • Tablespoon


  • 2 tbsp. ground coffee for espresso
  • 4 ounces milk
  • 180 ml hot water
  • 2 tbsp sugar optional


Making the Espresso

  • Place the water into the boiler of your espresso machine.
  • Place two shots of espresso into the portafilter.
  • Tamp the coffee down two to three times to make sure that everything is packed tightly.
  • Place the portafilter into your espresso machine and lick it in place.
  • Pull the shot for 23 to 30 seconds until 2 ounces of espresso is available.
  • Once it is done, it is time to foam the milk.

Foaming the Milk

  • Place the milk either in a glass or measuring cup.
  • Then place the steam wand into the container with the milk.
  • Now engage the steam wand to your espresso machine. Just follow the instructions for your machine.
  • Move your container higher, lower, closer to make the foam.
  • Once the milk has foamed to double its size you can now turn the steam wand off.
  • Use the foamed milk on top of your cappuccino.
Keyword cappuccino, cappuccino recipe, coffee, coffee recipe

Editor’s note: If you don’t have coffee maker to make your cappuccino, check out our recommendations on the best semi-automatic espresso machines.

Cappuccino vs. Other Coffee Types

Cappuccino is often confused with a lot of other coffee drinks such as a macchiato or a flat white.

This is because of the almost similar ingredients that these coffee drinks used. But they do have key differences that we are going to discuss.

  • Macchiato: Macchiato is also an espresso-based drink. This coffee is a blend of one shot of espresso and milk foam. However, it does not used steamed milk in its composition. Thus, with regards to the caffeine content, the macchiato is far more concentrated compared to a cappuccino because of the absence of steamed milk to dilute the strength of the espresso.
  • Cortado: The cortado has more or less the same ingredients of that of a cappuccino. It is a blend of espresso and steamed milk. But a 4 ounces cortado is only made of about ½ espresso and ½ steamed milk. Also, it doesn’t consist of any milk foam so it is also a bit strong and more concentrated compared to a cappuccino.
  • Flat White: Another popular espresso drink is the flat white. It is made of espresso and steamed milk. Flat white uses two shots of espresso and about 2-3 ounces of steamed milk with a higher proportion of coffee to milk. It also has a thin layer of foam on top of the coffee. But as compared to cappuccino, flat white has less foam than cappuccino.

Another coffee that’s been confused with cappuccino is the latte.

If you’re curious on how both coffees are different, check out our post on Latte vs. Cappuccino: What’s the Difference?.

Also, if want to know more types of coffee drinks, check out our post on 25 Different Types of Coffee Drinks, Explained (Infographic).

Types of Cappuccinos

  • Traditional Cappuccino: A traditional cappuccino is made with the classic one or two shots of espresso topped with foamed and steamed milk.
  • Ice Cappuccino: It is basically the opposite of a hot cappuccino. It is a blend of espresso, steamed and foamed milk just in the cold variety.
  • Wet Cappuccino: Also called as light cappuccino or cappuccino chiaro prepared by using less steamed milk or foamed milk. It is diluted and has a creamier texture.
  • Dry Cappuccino: This type is also called as cappuccino scurro or dark cappuccino. It has a lower milk amount versus other types of cappuccino.
  • Flavored Cappuccino: This type of cappuccino uses additional flavors to improve the taste of cappuccino such as chocolate, cinnamon or caramel.

Final thoughts

If you do are not into the intense flavor a pure shot of espresso you can always spice up your coffee palate with a cup of cappuccino instead.

It is preferred by a lot of coffee enthusiasts for its creamy and rich flavor. You can also tweak the recipe a bit and add flavors as you please.

Now that you have known all about cappuccinos, you can confidently order it next time you stop by a café. In case you’re travelling abroad and don’t know how to order coffee, here are some simple foreign phrases you can use.

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Charles is the author and managing editor of Cuppabean.com. A self-admitted coffee addict, he drinks 2-4 cups of coffee a day to get his fix. Read more about the site here.

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