What is a Shaken Espresso? Unveiling the Secrets of This Trendy Beverage


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A shaken espresso, also known as a “shakerato” in Italy, offers a unique and refreshing twist on the traditional espresso.

Invented in Italy, this beverage combines a single or double shot of espresso with ice and sugar, all hand-shaken in a cocktail shaker, delivering a chilled and invigorating coffee experience.

The shaken espresso has garnered attention for its foamier, richer shot of espresso, captivating coffee enthusiasts around the world with its distinctive taste and texture.

What Is a Shaken Espresso?

What Is a Shaken Espresso?

A shaken espresso, also known as a shakerato in Italy, is a refreshing coffee beverage made by vigorously shaking a shot of espresso with ice, sugar, or syrup. The shaking process combines the ingredients, creating a smooth and frothy drink that is perfect for warm weather.

This unique coffee concoction differs from a traditional espresso, which is a small, concentrated coffee beverage served in a tiny cup. The shaken espresso adds extra flavor and texture by incorporating ice, water, sugar, or syrup into the mix. The addition of these ingredients creates a larger, more sip-friendly coffee, perfect for those who enjoy their espresso on the go or with a little extra excitement.

The process of making a shaken espresso starts with pulling a fresh shot of espresso, either a single or double, depending on personal preference. The shot is then poured into a cocktail shaker or similar container along with ice and the desired sweetener.

The mixture is then shaken vigorously, combining the ingredients and chilling the drink. Once the shaking is complete, the shaken espresso is poured into a glass to be enjoyed immediately.

Popularized by coffee shops and cafes around the world, this delightful twist on a classic espresso offers coffee enthusiasts a new way to enjoy their favorite caffeinated beverage.

History of Shaken Espresso

The origins of the shaken espresso are not entirely clear, although it is generally believed to have been first developed in Italy. Some experts suggest that the beverage originated from the traditional Italian drink called a Shakerato.

While the precise inventor and timeline of the shaken espresso are somewhat uncertain, records indicate that the practice of shaking coffee to create a frothy texture began in the early 1900s. This innovative method laid the groundwork for the shaken espresso we know and love today.

Over time, the shaken espresso gained popularity worldwide. In March 2021, Starbucks introduced its own version of the shaken espresso. The coffee giant’s twist on the classic beverage involves chilling its signature espresso, sweetening it, and adding milk. The mixture is then hand-shaken to blend the ingredients, resulting in a smooth and rich flavor that has earned rave reviews from customers.

How to make a shaken espresso

Ingredients and Preparation


Shaken espressos begin with two shots of freshly brewed espresso. The espresso should be full-bodied and aromatic.

Use an espresso machine or a Moka pot to prepare or brew the espresso, ensuring a rich flavor and the right consistency.

Sweeteners and Flavors

Sweeteners are used to balance the bitterness of the espresso and enhance its flavor. Simple syrup is a popular choice, but you can also opt for alternative sweeteners like honey, agave, or flavored syrups.

In some variations, such as the Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso, brown sugar is used to add a unique taste to the drink.

Ice and Shaking

Place the desired amount of ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. If you prefer a less diluted flavor, use fewer ice cubes. Adding the correct amount of ice will help create the frothy consistency that is a hallmark of shaken espressos.

Once the espresso and sweetener have been added to the shaker, it’s time to shake the concoction vigorously. Ensure that the shaker lid is secure, and then shake for around 15-30 seconds, or until the shaker feels cold to the touch. Immediately pour the shaken espresso through a strainer to remove ice shards and obtain a smoother texture.

Variations and Recipes

Shaken Espresso Martinis

Classic Shaken Espresso

The Classic Shaken Espresso is a delightful blend of strong espresso and sweeteners, shaken with ice to create a frothy and refreshing drink. Here’s a simple recipe you can follow:

  • 2 oz of espresso
  • 1 tbsp of simple syrup
  • Ice cubes

Combine espresso and simple syrup in a shaker, add ice cubes, and shake well. Strain into a glass, and enjoy!

Iced Shaken Espresso

An Iced Shaken Espresso builds on the classic version by adding milk to create a creamier, more indulgent beverage. Try this easy recipe:

  • 2 oz espresso
  • 1 tbsp simple syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • 2-3 oz milk (any variety)

Add espresso and simple syrup to a shaker with ice. Shake well until chilled and frothy, then strain into a glass. Top with milk, and give it a gentle stir.

Alcoholic Shaken Espresso

For a fun twist, turn your shaken espresso into a spirited concoction. The Alcoholic Shaken Espresso adds a dose of liqueur for a delicious and invigorating treat. Here’s how to make it:

  • 2 oz espresso
  • 1 tbsp simple syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 oz coffee liqueur (e.g. Kahlúa)

Combine espresso, simple syrup, and coffee liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake well to mix and chill. Strain the mixture into a glass, and enjoy responsibly.

Shaken Espresso Martini

To make a Shaken Espresso Martini, you will need the following ingredients:

  1. 1.5 oz (45 ml) vodka
  2. 1 oz (30 ml) freshly brewed espresso, cooled
  3. 0.5 oz (15 ml) coffee liqueur (e.g., Kahlúa)
  4. 0.5 oz (15 ml) simple syrup (optional, for added sweetness)
  5. Ice for shaking

Garnish (optional):

  1. 3 coffee beans
  2. Chocolate shavings or cocoa powder

Combine espresso, simple syrup, vodka and coffee liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake well to mix and chill. Strain the mixture into a nice cocktail glass.

Benefits of Shaken Espresso

Shaken espresso boasts several benefits that make it an appealing choice for coffee enthusiasts. Two of the key advantages of this beverage include its improved consistency and enhanced flavor profile.

Improved Consistency

Shaking espresso with ice produces a well-blended texture, resulting in a smoother, more consistent drink. This method incorporates microbubbles of air, which contribute to a lighter and more enjoyable mouthfeel.

The improved consistency also ensures that the flavors in the espresso are evenly distributed, offering a balanced taste.

Enhanced Flavor Profile

Shaken espresso is known for its robust and full-bodied flavor that surpasses that of traditional brewing methods.

The shaking process helps to mellow the harsh acids found in coffee, delivering a smoother taste with minimal bitterness or acidity. This allows the natural flavors of the coffee beans to shine through, leaving you with a more pleasurable and satisfying beverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a shaken espresso shaken?

A shaken espresso is shaken because it’s vigorously mixed with ice and other ingredients, creating a frothy, well-blended beverage.

Does shaken espresso have a lot of caffeine?

Shaken espresso has a similar caffeine content to regular espresso shots, but the exact amount depends on the number of shots used.

What’s the difference between iced espresso and shaken espresso?

Iced espresso is simply espresso poured over ice, while shaken espresso is mixed with ice and other ingredients, resulting in a frothy, more textured drink.

Find out about all the different types of coffee drinks in our complete guide.

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