Since I wrote a post on How To Make a Cappuccino On a Budget Espresso Machine I got a stovetop espresso maker and manual milk frother for Christmas 2008. I see that my How To post gets a lot of hits from the question “I to make cappuccino with a stovetop espresso maker”, so I decided to write a post about it.

To make cappuccino with a stove top machine you will need two appliances:

Stovetop Espresso Machine and…   Manual Milk Frother

A Stovetop Espresso Machine and a Manual Milk Frother

Further you will need a medium ground coffee and full cream milk… and some kind of heat source (a stove works better than a blow dryer 🙂 )…

Stovetop Espresso Machines

Stovetop Espresso Machines comes in different sizes and qualities/price brackets. I have a budget machine in the R130($15) range bought from @Home made from aluminium that can make up to 4 espressos. A good site to look for reviews on different machines is

The machine consist of a lower part you fill with water, a funnel/coffee holder combo, a rubber seal, top strainer and a top part into which the espresso is delivered.

stovetop-fill stovetop-coffee
Figure 1                                                              Figure 2
Stovetop Strainer Seal Stovetop Machine Full
Figure 3                                                              Figure 4

Stovetop espresso makers uses the pressure of steam created by the heated water in the bottom part to force the water from the bottom part, through the coffee held in the funnel/coffee holder to the top part thus making espresso.

How to…

  • Unscrew and remove the top part of the espresso maker.
  • Remove the funnel/coffee holder.
  • Fill the bottom part of the espresso maker with water to just under the steam pressure safety valve (The brass thingy on the side of the bottom part) as in Figure 1.
  • Put the funnel/coffee holder back into place.
  • Fill the coffee holder with a medium ground coffee of your choice as in Figure 2. Fill it so that it is slightly heaped above the rim.
  • Stovetop PressTamp the coffee lightly down. Don’t tamp it down as hard as with an automatic pump machine as it might block the holder causing the water not to filter through the coffee.
  • Stovetop WipeWipe the rim of the the coffee holder clean of any coffee so that it will seal properly.
  • Make sure that the strainer and seal is properly seated in the top part of the espresso maker. The seal should hold the strainer in place as in Figure 3.
  • Screw the top part onto the bottom part tight enough so that it will seal properly.
  • Place it onto the stove and turn on the heat. Turn the espresso maker so that the steam safety valve is facing away from you.
  • While waiting for the espresso, pour full cream milk into the milk frother up to the maximum mark. My frother makes enough for one cup.
  • Heat the milk to just under milk’s boiling point in a micro wave oven. For this you will need to know your micro wave oven’s power output and it may take some experimenting. If you do not have a micro wave oven you can heat the milk on a stove before pouring it into the frother.
  • Use the plunger to froth the heated milk. Start by making fast, small movements on the surface of the milk and then gradually increasing the size of the movements until the volume of the milk is about doubled.
  • Back to the espresso…
    As the water heats up the coffee will push up through the funnel into the coffee holder and then up into the top part. The steam safety valve might relieve some of the pressure from time to time.
  • As soon as the top part is filled with espresso you may switch off the stove and remove the espresso maker from the heated stove plate.
  • Stovetop EspressoUsing a preheated cup, pour the espresso into the cup. Fill about one third of the cup with espresso.
  • Stovetop Adding MilkPour the heated and frothed milk on top of the espresso making small side to side movements towards the end of filling the cupo. This will push the froth out of the frother.

Stovetop Cappuccino

Enjoy your cuppuccino!