What’s the Perfect Cappuccino Ratio?

What’s the Perfect Cappuccino Ratio?

You want to make cappuccino but don't know how much milk you need? You don't quite understand how much frothed and how much steamed milk gives the best flavor? Read this article to find out the golden ratio of cappuccino.

What Is a Cappuccino and What’s the Perfect Ratio?

A cappuccino is one of the most well-known coffee drinks in the world. It is made with a shot of espresso, steamed milk and a thick layer of milk foam. The average cup is 6 oz, and the proper cappuccino ratio is 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed, and 1/3 foamed milk.

One of the reasons why a cappuccino cup is so many's favorite drink is that it's very flexible when it comes to size and ingredients. You can have a cappuccino made with a shot of espresso or a cup of Moka pot coffee.


Nevertheless, the ratio of milk to coffee should still be 2 to 1. The milk ratios should always be 1 part steamed, and 1 part foamed milk.

One more way to achieve the perfect cappuccino is to add chocolate or any kind of syrup. While this may be considered something of a Mocha coffee and not a traditional cappuccino, it's still got the 1:1:1 ratio, so technically, it's still cappuccino.

Where Does Cappuccino Come From?

The authentic cappuccino has an interesting origin as the name comes from its brown color, similar to the brown of the robes of the Capuchin friars. This color is achieved by mixing the milk with a shot of espresso.

In the 18th century, a similar drink called kapuziner was made in Vienna. The main difference is that the Austrian coffee drink was made of whipped cream, coffee, and spices. Nevertheless, cappuccino was only made in Italy till the 1930s. Then it slowly spread around Austria and eventually all around the world.

The Best Cappuccino Recipe

Making a cappuccino is a pretty straightforward process that anyone can go through at home. The main thing you'll need is an espresso machine (or at least a stovetop espresso maker). Here's a full list of what you'll need for the entire brewing routine:

  • Espresso machine
  • Milk pitcher
  • Milk steamer (optional)
  • Large mug
  • Ground coffee
  • 3 to 4 oz milk

1. Prepping

The first step to making an authentic cappuccino is ensuring you have everything you need. It's best to grind your own beans instead of buying ground coffee. This way, you can be sure that the coffee is fresh, and that'll make a big difference to the coffee flavor profile.

The next step is to pour 3-4 ounces of milk into a milk pitcher. A gooseneck kettle will also do the trick if you don't have one.

2. Get Brewin' 

When you have everything you need, it's time to make your espresso shot. It's important that you use 16-17 grams of ground espresso and that you tamp it properly.Tamping the grounds in the portafilter is vital for even extracting the coffee. To make sure you're getting a good, even tamp, it's worth investing in a calibrated pressure tamper

3. Steam the Milk

While your espresso maker is busy making your coffee, you can proceed to steam the milk. Here it's crucial that you steam the milk using the right technique and heat it up to around (71°F). To do this, you'll want to move the pitcher in a quick vertical motion to allow the hot steam to heat the milk.

To get that awesome layer of foam, you'll want to keep the tip of the wand close to the surface of the milk. You should be careful, though, as steaming close to the surface will make the milk increase in volume. Also, remember that you'll need some more milk to put in the drink.

PRO TIP: If you don't own a milk frother, you can use a whisk instead. The results aren't going to be as good, but it'll work.

4. Pour the Milk

When you have your espresso made and your milk steamed, it's time to mix the two together. The proper pouring technique for the milk is to hold the pitcher around 3 inches above the cappuccino cup and pour in a circular motion.

The last step is to add the milk froth. You add it last, which gives your cappuccino the fluffy foam.

Similar Drinks

You're probably asking yourself if cappuccino is different from other coffee-based milk drinks, and the answer is yes, it is. There are a few drinks similar to cappuccino: latte, macchiato, mocha, to name a few. Let's see how they are different.


A latte is probably the hot drink that's most similar to a cappuccino. While they both start with the espresso machine, and you need hot milk to make them, a latte is made with 1 part espresso and 2 parts foamed milk. As we already mentioned, a cappuccino also has a 1:2 coffee-to-milk ratio, but the milk is 1 part foamed, and 1 part steamed.


A macchiato is the more intense cousin of the latte and the cappuccino. Just like the two previously mentioned, here you'll want to start with a shot of espresso but only add a little bit of milk to it. This is why a macchiato will have a more intense flavor than a latte or a cappuccino.


Mocha coffee is yet another espresso-based hot beverage. The fact that it’s made by adding chocolate to the espresso and milk is why it’s so many sugar lovers’ favorite drink. This gives it a very sweet flavor and basically makes it a calorie bomb, so if you're on a diet, you have to be careful.

Frequently asked questions

Is Cappuccino Bad for You?

As with most foods and drinks we consume, it depends. If you have one or two cups of cappuccino per day, it's probably not bad for you, and you may actually experience some health benefits. As cappuccino is based on espresso, you can expect to have the same caffeine effects as with the former. These may include a better reaction time and memory.

If you're regularly having more than just a few cups of cappuccino per day, you may feel some negative effects. Among these are anxiety, an elevated heart rate, and blood pressure. Generally speaking, how much coffee is too much depends on your body.

Can You Make Cappuccino with Moka Coffee?

Yes, you can. As for cappuccino, you need a strong shot of coffee, you can use a Moka pot to make it. You have to make sure that it's a quality Moka pot, though.


In conclusion, a cappuccino is one of the most widely spread coffee-based drinks in the world, and for a good reason. It's not only delicious but packs quite the punch as it's based on espresso. Just like when making regular espresso, though, you'll want to make sure that the coffee grounds are well tamped in your portafilter. The best way to do that is to invest in a high-quality pressure-calibrated tamper. 

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