Many people think you need fancy coffee or complicated equipment to make a cappuccino at home.
While having those things will definitely get you closer to the barista experience, they’re not pre-requisites for a good cup of joe. With just some instant coffee and maybe some modern cappuccino cups, you can make a coffee shop-worthy brew with amateur hands.
What Is a Cappuccino?
A cappuccino is a simple Italian coffee drink made of just espresso, milk, and froth. It’s known for its airy consistency as compared to other espresso-milk combos like lattes and cortados.
This airiness comes from the drink’s 1:1:1 ratio—equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth. It also has a deep coffee flavor, despite the caffeine content of a cappuccino hovering between fifty-six and eighty milligrams per serving (the amount of caffeine a shot of espresso).
You can also customize cappuccinos with flavoring, or add extras like healthy coffee creamers to make it less intense.
Can I Make a Cappuccino with Nescafé?
Not everyone has an espresso machine, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a good cappuccino at home–even with instant coffee like Nescafé.
How to Make a Cappuccino
Making a cappuccino is simple. To do it properly, you must know how to extract espresso, along with being able to steam and froth milk—if you’re making it the traditional way. You can also go the instant coffee route, which will only require knowing how to boil liquid on a stovetop or kettle and whisking or using a frother.
The Proper Way
The typical way to make a cappuccino is by using an espresso machine with a steam wand. To do so, start by grinding your coffee beans, placing them into a tamper, then putting that into your machine to extract your espresso. While that happens, pour some milk into a pitcher, then place it into your steam wand to heat up and froth your milk–move it slowly in different directions to incorporate air as it gets hot. Then, assemble everything by pouring the espresso, the steamed milk, and the milk froth in equal parts into a cappuccino cup.
Making cappuccino with Nescafé, or any instant coffee for that matter, follows the same principles as the proper way of making the drink–minus all the machinery.
Start by preparing your instant coffee; it’s best to use a variety that’s “roasty” enough to withstand being mixed in with milk. Nescafé Gold Original is a great choice, but if you want something even more intense to match the flavor and aroma of espresso, you can opt for something like Nescafé Gold Intense.
Next, steam your milk by heating it in the microwave or on the stovetop–you won’t want it boiling, just warm. If you want to be exact, aim for 150°F for dairy milk, 140°F for soy milk, or 130°F for almond milk. Then, use a wire whisk or a milk frother to get your steamed milk foamy. Add your instant coffee and your steamed milk into a cappuccino cup, then top it with some milk froth—all in equal parts.
Getting the Barista Experience at Home
Even with minimal machinery, you can recreate the barista experience at home by using high-quality ingredients and vessels. Even if you’re just making cappuccino with instant coffee, you can make it taste barista-worthy by using premium mixes such as Nescafé, then serving it in a proper cappuccino cup. If you need help finding the best cappuccino cups to elevate your at-home coffee experience, check out the recommendations in our latest articles!