Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Perfect Cappuccino...or my version of Starbucks Cinnamon Dulce Latte

The Second Annual Festa Italiana

Will be starting March 9th, click below if you want to get in on this great Festa at either or

This is something I make for myself and my friends all the time. When espresso based coffees became all the rage, I went out and bought myself a small inexpensive espresso maker. I used it for several years, but it was a bit of a hassle to get the milk to steam and foam just right, and after awhile the machine just wouldn't produce a good shot. So I gave up and bought my drinks. As my children grew up and began to love coffee, the cost of purchasing our drinks was getting very pricey. So I contemplated a high end machine. Then through all my procrastinating I began to recognize some of those old school espresso pots showing up in my local T.J.s So I purchased one and gave it a shot. (no pun intended ha ha) I found it was easy to use. It did not take up any space on my limited counters, and the price was right. For about $20.00 you can purchase a stainless steel stove top espresso maker that is simple to use and makes perfect shots every time. For the foam all you need is another simple product that takes up little space and works like a charm. It is a traditional Italian hand pumped frother. I love being low tech and not always needing to have a fancy machine. I have even given up my coffee maker for a simple French Press.
Here is my basic equipment for a great drink.
You fill the reservoir with water to just under the steam escape valve seen on the left.

I fill my basket with Costco's Kirkland Espresso Blend (roasted by Starbucks) and tap down gently.

Place the espresso pot on high heat. Make sure it is screwed together nice and tight. Then you need to quickly assembly the rest of your ingredients. The pot takes only a few minutes to get to the right temperature to force the hot water up through the grounds into the top reservoir. At this point you must move quickly. It is important to use the shots right away and not let them sit in the pot once it is done. So I try to have my milk already to go.

My pot makes four shots. On the left I am making a straight shot for a single espresso. The two larger mugs are for a latte, and a cappuccino. I put in my syrups first. For my favorite Cinnamon Dulce Latte, I use one pump of Dulce de Leche (DaVinci brand) and one pump of cinnamon syrup. For a double tall (two shots) I add an extra pump of the Dulce. Now you can adjust this according to taste. I do like my coffee strong and not too sweet. This is my milk frother. I like this one because it is ceramic and therefore sturdier than the glass ones I have seen around. I fill this 1/3 of the way up with cold 1% milk. It takes maybe 6-8 pumps to froth the milk. Then I remove the frother part, and place the ceramic mug in the microwave for less then a minute. At this point it is critical to watch and make sure the foam doesn't rise over the top. Just when it about hits the top of the mug, stop the microwave.
There are some timing issues here. You want to pour some of the hot milk into the cups before the shots are done. Adding the espresso to the milk first prevents them from sitting and being what they call "burned shots". I have learned this from two of my kids who have worked high school and college jobs as barrister's. That by the way has proven to be a nice savings as family members get a discount! Add your shots to the milk, give it a stir then pour in the rest of the milk. At the end top off with the delicious foam thick and heavy for a cappuccino, and just a light touch for a latte.
From left to right we have an espresso, cappuccino, and a latte.
The very final touch for me is always a fresh grating of nutmeg....mmmmmm...delish!

The very top picture was my attempt at foam art...I was going for a heart, and I got lips :D

If anyone out there knows how to do foam art...please let me know :>

Up date on the milk frother:

The name of the frother is Cappuccino Creamer Frabosk Italy

The above url was the cheapest I could find it on a quick search of the web...$24.00 sounds a bit much???

My sister Knitting Mania picked it up for me from a shop in Fresno, CA. As I recall they were very reasonabley priced. I think you could use a glass one to pop in the micro wave. I see those at places like T.J. Max's, Tuesday Mornings, and Ross.


On This Rock said...

I have often wondered just how to do this without the expensive machine...thank you for the demo. For sure I will be giving this a try. Mmmm good!

Von said...

Cindy, did you buy your milk frother locally? I'm about to go out shopping for one and yours looks like the ideal I had in mind. :)

Vee said...

I don't believe this. I've had some syrup sitting in the fridge for a very long time. I've had no idea what to do with it. (Unfortunately, it's a hazelnut chocolate combo of some kind, but it is DaVinci's brand.) Oh just terribly interesting...

You shouldn't have given it away...those lips are perfect! Maybe if you try for lips, you'll get a heart.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for joining the festa Cindy! :)

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

You give a good lesson! Now I just need to go buy some supplies to make this happen. Or maybe I'll just have one of yours...already made and looking so good.

a woman who is said...

Judy: Maybe I could get Knitting Mania to chime in here...she purchased this for me in a shop in Fresno CA. I have not been able to spot one of these around here.

The name of the frother is

Cappuccino Creamer Frabosk Italy

The above url was the cheapest I could find it on a quick search of the web...$24.00 sounds a bit much???

a woman who is said...

Whoops that feedback was meant for VON :)

Knitting Mania said...

Sorry folks...for the life of me I can't remember where I purchased that frother for my sis, I got a few of them at the time. Hmmmm my mind is gone!

But she's right, it't the best one I've folks...I've had her's and they are as good as they look!


Sara said...

Yum! and I love that cute little spoon you are using to get all that lovely thick foam into the cup.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Cindy, I absolutely love this post! You are such a barrista! Where did you get that frother? My kids and I are all coffee freaks, and my daughter swears by her french press! Thank you for joining our festa, this will be a perfect ending to our feast!
xox, Marie

Von said...

Thanks for the extra info on the frother, Cindy. Perhaps $24 seems a bit pricey, but it's a beautiful tool. I'll probably settle for whatever I find around here. :)

Barbara said...

Many years ago I bought a Cappucino machine and like you it was a pain to clean the frother spout which did not work well anyhow.

Now I make the coffee in whichever way I choose to and then use the little frother in it's little stainless steel jug.

Glad to know that Dan's op. went well and my prayers go out to you for a very speedy recovery.

Lavinia said...

Mmmmm, this looks so good. I've never had espresso! How clever of you to know how to do all this yourself and produce great coffee for your family.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Just visited the Italian festival and saw your cappuccino on the table and I want a cup. We love the little Italian espressos and always serve them after dessert at our dinner parties. Your instructions are terrific for making cappuccio. Very educational - thanks.

Mermaid Debbie said...

Wow, what a great post. It sounds heavenly. We received an expresso maker many years ago, as well, and there it sits... taking up space and looking old. I love the idea of a stove top espresso maker. I will keep my eye out for one.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I love cappuccino but I hardly ever make it at home. My husband likes his espresso black, and we use a little stove top pot that came from Italy.

I'd love to find a milk frother like you have!

Faery said...

It looks delicious I can smell it, I love cappuccino and I always prepare a cup or two in the evenings.
Beautiful baby girl :)

Michele said...

Wow! This looks delicious!

D Dubs said...

That's very cool! I love cappuccini. Thanks for commenting on my dishes for the Festa italiana! Hopefully I will see you next year too.

Jesster said...

Cindy your such a mamma. haha. :)
love you!

Millie said...

Thanks for posting these great instructions on the cappuccino. I'm going to try it.

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