How to Make the Perfect Gibraltar Coffee

Gibraltar coffee is a delicious espresso-based drink that originated right here in America. This robust coffee is made with equal parts espresso and steamed milk. It’s a smooth, rich, and perfectly balanced coffee that’s not too strong or weak. 

To make the perfect Gibraltar Coffee start with high-quality coffee beans and grind them finely. Pull one double shot of espresso and set aside. Next, prepare steamed milk and carefully pour 2 ounces into the espresso without allowing the foam to pour out. There should be a 1:1 ratio of espresso to milk. 

Let’s dig deeper into how to make the best Gibraltar coffee and what sets it apart from other espresso drinks. 

Here’s how to make the perfect Gibraltar coffee:

First things first, you need a special Gibraltar glass. These are 4 1/2 ounce ridged glass that narrows near the bottom. This will help you with the measurements. Once you pour the espresso into the glass, you only need to fill it with steamed milk. You will end up with equal parts espresso and milk. 

1. Choose high-quality coffee beans.

The first step to making great Gibraltar coffee is choosing high-quality coffee beans. Look for beans that are fresh and roasted to perfection, and have a rich, deep flavor.

2. Grind the coffee beans to the correct size.

The next step is to grind the coffee beans to the correct size. For Gibraltar coffee, you’ll want to use a fine grind between the size of table salt and sugar. A burr grinder is the best option for achieving a consistent grind.

3. Prepare your espresso shot.

The espresso shot is the heart of any Gibraltar coffee. Make sure your espresso machine is properly heated up and ready to go. Next, place your freshly ground coffee in the portafilter and tamp it down firmly. Insert the portafilter into the espresso machine and extract a double shot of espresso.

4. Steam the milk.

While your espresso shot is brewing, you’ll want to steam your milk. Fill a metal pitcher with cold milk and insert the steam wand. Next, turn on the steam wand and move it around the milk until the milk is heated to between 140 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to keep the wand just below the surface of the milk to avoid creating large bubbles.

5. Mix the espresso shot and steamed milk.

Now it’s time to mix the espresso shot and steamed milk. Pour the steamed milk into the espresso shot, holding back the foam with a spoon. The ratio of espresso to milk should be about 1:1, but you can adjust this to your liking. Stir the mixture gently to combine the flavors.

6. Enjoy your delicious Gibraltar coffee!

Finally, sit back and enjoy your delicious Gibraltar coffee. This is a perfect time to savor the rich flavors and aromas of the coffee and to relax with a good book or a friend.

What Type of Milk Should You Use to Make the Perfect Gibraltar?

When making a Gibraltar coffee, it is best to use whole milk as it creates a creamier texture and a richer flavor. The high-fat content in whole milk allows it to hold up better when steamed, resulting in a smooth and velvety texture.

However, some coffee shops may offer alternative milk options such as almond, soy, or oat milk for those who prefer non-dairy milk options. It ultimately comes down to personal preference, but whole milk is the traditional and most commonly used option for making Gibraltar coffee.

What is Steamed Milk & How do You Make it?

Steamed milk is milk that has been heated using a steam wand, usually attached to an espresso machine. To start, fill a stainless steel pitcher with cold milk, ensuring that it is no more than halfway full. Place the espresso machine’s steam wand into the milk pitcher, with the tip just below the surface. 

Next, turn on the steam and let it run until the milk reaches the desired temperature (around 150-155°F for most drinks). While steaming, keep the steam wand at a slight angle and allow the milk to swirl around the pitcher to evenly distribute the heat and create microfoam.

Once finished, clean the steam wand and give the pitcher a firm tap on the counter to break any larger bubbles.

If you don’t own a steam wand, some other options are available. 

  • Milk Frother
  • Whisk
  • French Press
  • Jar and Microwave

Click the link to learn how to steam milk without a steam wand

When added to your favorite espresso drinks like a Gibraltar, this microfoam imparts a velvety, creamy texture.

Where Did Gibraltar Coffee Get its Name?

The origins of the name “Gibraltar” for this coffee drink are somewhat murky and the subject of speculation. However, one popular theory is that the drink was created in San Francisco, California, where many Spanish immigrants lived and worked in the mid-20th century.

It’s believed that the drink was inspired by a similar coffee drink popular in Spain called “cortado,” an espresso cut with a small amount of milk. The name “Gibraltar” may have been given to the drink by the baristas in San Francisco, who served it in small, Gibraltar-shaped glasses. 

Another theory suggests that the name may have come from the fact that the drink is strong and sturdy, much like the rock of Gibraltar. Regardless of its origins, the Gibraltar coffee has become a beloved beverage among coffee lovers worldwide.

What is the Difference Between a Gibraltar and Cappuccino?

The main difference between a Gibraltar and a cappuccino lies in their proportions. A Gibraltar typically has a double shot of espresso and is served in a small glass tumbler that holds around four to six ounces of liquid.

The espresso is topped with steamed milk, but the milk-to-espresso ratio is typically lower than that of a cappuccino, resulting in a stronger coffee flavor.

On the other hand, a cappuccino usually has a single shot of espresso and is served in a larger cup that holds around six to eight ounces of liquid. The espresso is topped with more steamed milk, typically equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam, resulting in a creamier, smoother texture.

Another difference between the two drinks is the way they are traditionally served. A Gibraltar is often served without additional flavorings or sweeteners, while a cappuccino may be topped with chocolate powder or syrup for added sweetness.

Overall, Gibraltar is an excellent option for those who prefer a stronger coffee flavor, while the cappuccino is a classic, indulgent choice for those who enjoy a creamier, sweeter coffee drink.

To read the differences between a Gibraltar and a traditional Cortado, click here.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, making the best Gibraltar coffee involves selecting high-quality coffee beans, grinding them to the correct size, preparing an espresso shot, steaming milk, mixing the espresso shot and steamed milk, and enjoying your drink.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to create a delicious and perfectly balanced cup of coffee every time.

Gibraltar vs. Cortado Espresso-Based Coffee: What Are the Differences?

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