After my last guide on a coffee drink that has its origins in southern Italy, it’s time to focus on another delicious beverage that comes from its northern region.
You may not know what a Caffè Bicerin is, as it’s not very popular outside Italy.
It was first served in the historic coffee house Caffè al Bicerin in Turin, and you can find it there to this day.
It’s been reinterpreted and offered in a few Starbucks Reserve locations and some third-wave coffee shops.
In this guide, you’ll get a traditional Bicerin definition. I’ll also let you know what makes this Italian coffee drink so special.
Furthermore, I’ll give you some guidelines on how to make it at home, so that you can get an authentic Bicerin experience.
What is Bicerin Coffee: The Definition
The Bicerin is an Italian espresso-based coffee drink.
It is made with 2 fl. oz. (60 ml.) of Italian hot chocolate, 1 espresso shot (around 1 fl. oz., 25-30 ml.), and it’s topped off with a dollop of lightly whipped cream.
It’s served in an elegant goblet-style glass with a teaspoon on the side.
The word ‘bicerin’ is pronounced bi-che-rin and means ‘small glass’ in Piedmontese (a language spoken in the northwestern region of Italy).
What makes this drink so special is the Italian Hot Chocolate.
It adds sweetness, but most importantly – it’s thick, almost like a pudding, and has a rich and intense cocoa flavor.
The hot chocolate is added to the glass first.
Then the barista pours the espresso shot on top and tops off the drink with a nice layer of lightly whipped cream.
This creates a nice layered look.
Bicerin Coffee at Starbucks
At some Starbucks Reserve coffee shops, you can get a variation of the classic Italian Bicerin.
- Their Chocolate Bicerin is made by adding chocolate sauce to a small glass, then adding cold foam crema (frothed nonfat milk), and lastly – pouring an espresso shot on top.
In Starbucks language, when the espresso shot is added last to a drink it’s called an affogato style shot.
On the other hand, adding the espresso last creates a brown stain on the white cold foam layer, which makes the Chocolate Bicerin somewhat similar to a latte macchiato.
- The Starbucks Pistachio Bicerin is made with pistachio-flavored cold foam crema, espresso, and chocolate sauce.
It’s prepared just like their Chocolate Bicerin, and it’s, again, served in a small glass.
How to make a Bicerin at Home
You can make a delicious Bicerin coffee beverage even if you don’t have an espresso machine.
You just need 1 fl. oz. to 2 fl. oz. (30 to 60 ml.) of strongly brewed coffee instead.
If you’re trying to replicate classic Italian beverages at home, the best espresso substitute is Moka pot coffee.
You would also need 2 fl. oz. (60 ml.) of Italian hot chocolate (click the link to check out how to make it).
The cream that you’re going to use to top off your drink should be lightly whipped, almost pourable.
To whip it I use a drink mixer, such as this one by FoodVille (Amazon link). It takes less than a minute to achieve the desired thickness.
So here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make a Bicerin coffee at home:
- Pour the chocolate sauce into the bottom of a glass.
- Pour 2 fl. oz. (60 ml.) of Moka pot-brewed coffee on top.
- Lightly whip 1 fl. oz. (30 ml.) of slightly sweetened cream.
- Top off your drink with the whipped cream.
- Sprinkle with some cocoa. (optional).
You should always have it served with a teaspoon on the side. With the teaspoon you can mix all of the ingredients and combine them well.
After doing that, you can take a sip and enjoy all the flavors of the exceptionally tasty treat – the Bicerin.
At the end of this page, you can find a printable recipe card for this Italian coffee drink.
I hope that you learned something new through this coffee drink guide, and you now know what a Bicerin is.
Furthermore – I expect that you consider trying out preparing this Italian beverage at home.
It’s totally worth it.
The Bicerin is a perfect treat for special guests that you want to cheer up. The nice flavors of chocolate and coffee, combined with the delicious creamy topping, make this coffee drink exceptionally satisfying.
Anyway, leave me a comment below if you have any questions or share whether you’ve tried making a Bicerin coffee at home.
- 2 fl. oz. (60 ml.) of Moka pot-brewed coffee (or another strong coffee alternative) *see notes
- 2 fl. oz. (60 ml.) of Italian hot chocolate *see notes
- 1 fl. oz. (30 ml.) of lightly whipped cream
- 2 tsp of sugar (to sweeten the cream)
- cocoa powder (optional, to top off the drink and decorate it)
- Prepare your coffee and Italian hot chocolate * (tutorial can be found in the notes section as a link)
- Pour Italian hot chocolate into a goblet-style clear glass.
- Add the espresso on top.
- Whip some slightly sweetened whipped cream.
- Top off the drink with a dollop of lightly whipped cream and cocoa dusting.
*You can check out my Italian hot chocolate recipe by clicking here.
You may also find my Moka pot coffee brewing guide useful. Of course, if you don't have a Moka pot, you can always use the coffee maker you have available to make your Bicerin. Still Moka pot coffee is the best alternative to espresso when it comes to homemade Italian coffee beverages.