Ok, this article is going to be about Cappuccino coffee makers but before I can start talking about that, I need to understand what a cappuccino is.
Where did the cappuccino come from? well it is believed to have originated from the Capuchin friars and it possibly refers to the color of their habits, but I prefer the story that it is to do with the color of their heads circled by a brown hair!
What is Cappuccino?
Now a cappuccino is basically an espresso with some steamed milk and some frothy milk – but there are a lot of complexities there where I have used the words basically and some! For a Barista, it is one of the most difficult drinks to learn how to make (properly and nicely!).
A latte and a cappuccino are similar but for the fact that the cappuccino is prepared with much less steamed milk and the latte less frothed milk!
Also, the cappuccino is generally served in a different cup in an attempt to keep the heat in and quite often sprinkled with chocolate or nutmeg.
There are also different types of cappuccino depending upon the amount of froth – wet cap is milkier and a dry is less milky with more froth – so there is a little bit to play with (and if you get it wrong, you could always say you are experimenting!). However in some coffee shops, if you ask for either of these – a wet one will likely get you a latte with some froth and the dry one is the standard cappuccino!
Now, so what do we know about the machine that we need to make it then? Well we need to make a decent espresso, so we need an espresso maker for a start, and all of the research I have done in the previous articles will justify what is good when it comes to espresso makers. Now as you have probably imagined, you can get automatic cappuccino makers that do the whole thing for you (except drink it), or you can do it yourself. By buying the parts separately, or at least buying some accessories, the results, when you know what you are doing is a whole lot better. The problem is that when you are starting out, the results from an automatic machine will be far superior!!
So we need a steamer and a frother – (you can get stove top frothers and steamers that are reasonably priced, hand ones or electric powered ones, but we’ll look into those in a different article), and, certainly, when we are starting out, we need a decent recipe!
What you are looking for when you eventually do start steaming or frothing is a microfoam. There is a very fine line between froths – too much or too little, and it has to be just right. Something happens to the milk and it turns it to a sweet and smooth textured love nest (I love cappuccino in case you hadn’t noticed).
Now you can also use the different milk grades – non-fat, semi skimmed and full fat. Non-fat is the easiest to foam but lacks the sweetness we were talking about whilst the full-fat one is the most decadent but also the hardest to do.
So in conclusion, if you are starting out – what should you look for in cappuccino maker? Well, if you are on a limited budget, for me the most important bit to get right is the coffee maker itself – the espresso machine – it gives you loads of flexibility for different types of coffee. If you can get one with an external steamer then you are in – if not, just save up for some more accessories and get them separate, enjoying your home made espressos as you save, and practicing getting them just right. Hand held or stove top frothers are quite cheap at the low end of the scale, so just work your way up