How to Make the Perfect Cappuccino Foam?

November 01, 2016 2 min read

Cappuccino avec une mousse parfaite

If you like American-style cappuccinos with thick, cloudy, condensed foam, you'll be happy to know it's much easier to make than original Italian microfoam!

Why Do we Need Milk Foam?

Milk foam is used for making coffee-based beverages...and lots of other things! Like: chocolate, for tea, fruit concentrates, and so much more. Cappuccino foam though is specifically used for making cappuccinos, and, well, macchiatos.

Unlike microfoam, which is used specifically for lattes, cappuccino foam is much easier to make. There's a huge margin of error, and minimal handling. All you need is an espresso machine with a steam wand and a little practice!

Cappuccino foam is too thick for latte art! Some baristas, however, like making shapes with their foam. Then they can create their own details with the coffee, or with chocolate instead!

With a bit of practise and skill, you will be able to make the perfect American cappuccino foam. All you need is an espresso machine with a steam wand and to follow these steps.

How to Make Cappuccino Foam

  1. In your frothing pitcher, pour the amount of milk that you need for the size of the beverage that you want to make. As a guideline, a 250 mL cappuccino needs about 125 mL of cold milk.

  2. Purge your steam wand once.

  3. Dip the tip of the steam wand into the milk pitcher until it is about 1.5 cm immersed in the milk.

  4. Then activate the steam at maximum power. The whole process will be very noisy as the air enters the milk.

  5. Gradually lower the milk pitcher, being careful to keep the end of the steam wand in contact with the milk surface.

  6. The milk will quickly swell. Switch off the steam when it hits about 140°F, at which point the pitcher won’t be too hot to hold in your hands. Remove the steam wand from the pitcher.

  7. Remove any excess milk from the nozzle with a clean damp cloth, then remember to purge one last time.

  8. Let the foam sit for about 30 seconds to let the foam and the milk separate. During this time, you can pull your espresso (if applicable).

  9. The thick foam on top of your pitcher is the perfect cappuccino and macchiato foam! The liquidized milk underneath is also necessary to make both drinks.

Quick Tip

The choice of milk is crucial to making a great cappuccino foam. Use fresh milk and, if you choose cow's milk, use the highest fat content milk you can find; your foam will be smoother and denser the higher the fat content. However, any type of milk will work!

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