Cozying Up on a (Briefly) Rainy Day

Man, I love cappuccinos.  The smooth texture, the fluffy foam, the hint of coffee.  What I don’t love are the unpronounceable ingredients listed on my beloved Tim’s French Vanilla Capp canister.  Sigh.

Homemade cappuccinos are surprisingly easy to make.  There is a lot of flexibility with flavours, toppings, and level of sweetness, so adjust the following recipe as you see fit.  Cappucinos are basically 3 equal parts: espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth.  Strongly brewed coffee can take the place of espresso; since we don’t have an espresso maker, this is what I did.

Here’s what you’ll need:


  1. 6 cups water
  2. Pot (for boiling water, or if you’re in the 21st century, a kettle… we are between kettles at the moment!)
  3. Freshly ground coffee beans (I chose butterscotch flavour, but usually cappuccinos use a dark roast coffee to create the espresso)
  4. French press or coffee maker
  5. Hand/immersion blender
  6. Vegetable peeler
  7. Bar of chocolate (delicious chile chocolate in this example to add another flavour dimension)
  8. Cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.  Whatever strikes your fancy!
  9. Milk (not pictured)
  10. Saucepan (not pictured)
  11. Soup spoon (not pictured)
  12. Dish towel (not pictured)

Start by boiling your water.

While I waited for this to happen, I got started on my chocolate shavings.  Break apart some pieces of the chocolate bar and start shaving the thin edge with the vegetable peeler.  Shave as much as you like.  Go crazy!

If your water still isn’t done (like mine)t, measure out the coffee grounds.  For regular strength coffee in my coffee press, I use one rounded tablespoon per cup of boiling water.  Since this should be stronger strength, I will put in 9 rounded tablespoons for the 6 cups I expect to have.

Because I’m crazy, I like to pour the boiling water into a big measuring cup to make sure I have enough tablespoons of grounds.  I am just below 6 cups now, so I’ll leave the coffee as is.  Pour the boiling water slowly into the coffee press, making sure to saturate completely.

When you have filled the press, take a moment to stir until all grounds are nice and bubbly.  I use super-convenient wooden kabob sticks.  Stir until you have some caramel-coloured foam covering the grounds.

Cover the press with the lid, but do not drop the plunger.  Let the grounds steep in the water for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, start steaming the milk.  I filled a saucepan about ½ way full.  The ultimate key here is to not let the milk boil.  I used low-to-medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Stir with a spatula to improve even rise in heat.

While waiting for the milk to steam, now would be a good time to press your coffee.  Firmly hold the lid and oh so slowly depress the plunger.

Okay now back to the milk.  See, I’m helping you multitask!  Once the steam starts to rise, remove the saucepan from heat and pour into a large cup (we use this one for smoothies).  Leave enough space at the top, as we’ll start to froth the milk using the immersion blender.

Life lesson: cover the open space between the smoothie cup and the blender with a dish towel to avoid spewing hot milk everywhere.  Ya.  Ouch.

For the milk to froth, you will need to move the blender up and down slowly, but don’t remove the blades from the milk.  If you do this for about 1 minute, the milk will be nice and bubbly.

Now to make the cappuccino!

First: coffee.  Fill your chosen cup about 30% full of the strong brew.

Second: steamed milk.  Slowly pour the frothy milk into your cup.  Here is where the soup spoon comes in.  Hold the bubbles at bay with the spoon as you pour, which will leave you with steamed milk to fill your cup.

Third: milk froth.  Simply spoon the remaining bubbly stuff onto the top of the coffee/steamed milk mix.  Lookin’ good!

Last but not least!  The toppings.  Here’s where you can really make the cappuccino your own.  I chose cinnamon and the chocolate shavings from earlier.  I neglected to paint a fun design in the foam… I was simply too eager to enjoy my concoction.


I cozied up on my couch to test out my homemade cappuccino for the brief rainstorm and… YUMMY.  Pretty easy to do, once I got the hang of it, and much more authentic!  Sorry, Tim Hortons French Vanilla powder.  You have been effectively replaced.


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