Last updated on September 30th, 2023 by Catherine Reed
If you’re like me, coffee drinks that are served with a bit of flair feel like a real treat. That’s where shaken espresso comes into play.
Along with being genuinely delectable, the process of shaking the espresso is a lot of fun if you’re creating your drink at home. Plus, if you’re ordering a shaken espresso at your favorite café, it leaves you feeling a bit like James Bond. (shaken not stirred right?!)
But what is a shaken espresso exactly, and how does it differ from the other coffee drinks you may enjoy regularly? If you’re curious about shaken espresso – or want to learn how to make it at home – here’s what you need to know.
- What Is Shaken Espresso?
- Variations and Flavors
- How to Make Shaken Espresso Recipe
What Is Shaken Espresso?
Shaken espresso is similar to an Italian shakerato. It’s an espresso drink that’s served chilled, making it incredibly refreshing. With a traditional Italian shakerato, espresso is placed in a shaker that’s filled with ice, and it’s shaken to chill the espresso and create a beautiful frothy texture.
If you’re wondering, “Is shaken espresso sweet?”, it typically has a touch of sweetness. There’s usually little sugar or simple syrup added to the espresso before it’s shaken, giving it a slightly sweet taste.
When you order a shaken espresso, there’s usually at least one more ingredient in the mix: milk. The milk is added after the chilled and frothed espresso is poured into the glass so it isn’t shaken. In some cases, other flavorings are also used to create flavored shaken espresso drinks, but that’s optional.
Additionally, when you order a shaken espresso, it’s served over ice, so you could also call it an iced shaken espresso. An Italian shakerato is served without ice in the glass.
So, what’s the difference between shaken espresso and regular espresso?
Well, instead of serving the espresso hot or simply pouring over ice to cool it for colder drinks, the espresso is chilled by combining it with ice in a shaker and shaking it. The shaking action required to make a shaken espresso also froths the espresso, leaving it highly aromatic and giving it a lovely mouthfeel. Yummy!
Shaken Espresso vs. Iced Coffee
If you’re wondering, “What is the difference between shaken espresso and iced coffee?” there are a few points where the two drinks differ.
Finally, iced coffee may or may not contain milk or sweetener. With shaken espresso, adding milk to the drink is essentially a given, and using some sugar or simple syrup is the norm.
Shaken Espresso vs. Latte
So, what is the difference between shaken espresso and a latte? One of the main ways the two stand apart is how they’re prepared. While a shaken espresso involves shaking espresso over ice to create a froth, that’s not how a latte is made.
If the latte is hot, steamed milk is added to a hot espresso shot. With an iced latte, cold milk is stirred into the espresso shot, and you may have a touch of cold foam, but that’s technically optional.
Additionally, when milk is added to a shaken espresso, it’s not stirred into the drink. Instead, the milk is allowed to slowly drift toward the bottom, giving you a more varied experience.
Shaken Espresso vs. Cold Brew
Cold brew coffee uses a coffee concentrate that’s created by allowing coffee grounds to steep in cold or room-temperature water for long periods, usually 12 to 24 hours, and it’s served over ice. Further, the coffee concentrate is often diluted using a bit of cold water or milk, though whether you cut it and by how much depends on your unique taste preferences.
Shaken espresso uses espresso, not coffee. Additionally, the espresso is brewed hot and chilled by shaking it over ice before serving. The espresso is only diluted through the addition of milk, as adding water isn’t part of the shaken espresso recipe.
Shaken Espresso vs. Macchiato
Like shaken espresso, a macchiato does use a shot of espresso. Also, a macchiato typically has just a splash of gently frothed milk, while a shaken espresso typically uses a bit more. As a result, the macchiato often has a much stronger coffee flavor.
Traditional macchiatos are also very small drinks, featuring far less milk than you get when ordering a macchiato at Starbucks. Effectively, the larger versions are latte macchiatos since there’s so much more milk than the classic version.
Variations and Flavors
While a classic shaken espresso doesn’t include any flavorings, it’s a solid starting point for a wide array of flavor profiles. The various Starbucks versions of the shaken espresso are prime examples. Starbucks has four flavored varieties that are currently part of its core menu. Those include:
- Oleato Iced Shaken Espresso with Oatmilk and Toffeenut
- Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
- Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
- Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso
If you’re wondering, “What is in a brown sugar shaken espresso?” it features espresso, milk, brown sugar syrup, and cinnamon powder.
What is in a toasted vanilla shaken espresso? It has toasted vanilla syrup added to the milk and espresso.
So, what is in an iced chocolate almond milk shaken espresso? That has espresso, almond milk, and chocolate malt powder.
The Oleato iced shaken espresso with oatmilk and toffeenut uses oat milk instead, and it has toffeenut syrup in place of other flavorings. Typically, these drinks use blonde espresso roast instead of a more traditional espresso roast, too.
However, Starbucks essentially lets you customize any drink. You can start with its iced shaken espresso, choose your milk type, select your espresso roast, and add any of the available syrups, sauces, and other toppings to the mix, letting you create your own flavor profile.
How to Make Shaken Espresso Recipe
If you’re looking for a shaken espresso recipe you can use at home, you’re in luck. Making shaken espresso is incredibly simple, and it doesn’t require much special equipment. All you’ll need is:
- 2 shots of hot espresso
- 1 ounce of simple syrup
- ¼ cup of your preferred milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- Cocktail shaker
Take the cocktail shaker and fill it about ¾ full with ice. Put the espresso shots and simple syrup in the shaker, put on the shaker lid, and rapidly shake the shaker. Keep shaking until condensation starts forming on the shaker, which usually happens in about 15 seconds.
After shaking, strain the sweetened espresso into a glass that’s filled with ice. Top the espresso with the milk, and you’ve made a shaken espresso.
If you want to add flavorings, you can do that, too. Simply used flavored syrup in place of the simple syrup. Usually, one to two pumps of flavored syrup does the trick, but feel free to adjust how much you use to ensure your shaken espresso is to your liking.
Was that yummy? Looking for more Starbucks Drinks ideas? Check out our list of favorite Starbucks beverages to try out!
- Best TikTok Starbucks Drinks
- Best Mocha Starbucks Drinks
- Best Hot Starbucks Drinks
- Best Chocolate Starbucks Drinks
- Best No Caffeine Starbucks Drinks
- Strongest Caffeine Starbucks Drinks
- Starbucks Pink Drink
What Is the Best Shaken Espresso at Starbucks?
Technically, the best shaken espresso at Starbucks is the one that you enjoy most. Everyone experiences flavors differently, so what is the best in your eyes might be different from what someone else likes, and that’s okay. Explore the various flavors and try a few custom creations. That way, you can get your perfect shaken espresso.
What Is the Hot Version of Shaken Espresso?
What Is an Upside-Down Shaken Espresso?
When an espresso drink is “upside-down,” it’s essentially referring to a preparation order that’s the reverse of what’s typically done. In the case of a shaken espresso, that means that instead of pouring the milk into a prepared shot of espresso, the espresso is poured into a cup that’s already got milk in it.
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- About the Author
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Catherine Reed is a freelance writer and coffee enthusiast. She has been a lover of coffee, espresso, and various café-style concoctions for more than 20 years, and enjoys exploring everything the world of coffee has to offer. Whether it’s trying out new coffee technologies or exploring small-batch creations from independent micro-roasters, Catherine is open to any coffee experience, and aims to share everything she’s learned with discerning readers interested in leveling up their coffee game.