What is a Caffè Leccese & How to Make it

If you feel like having a refreshing iced beverage, this delicious coffee drink will definitely satisfy your desires.

You may not know what a Caffè Leccese is, as it isn’t as widely spread outside its country of origin – Italy.

Its name comes from the Italian city Lecce where it was invented and popularized.

The Caffè Leccese is also known as ‘Caffè Salentino’ or ‘Caffè alla Salentina’, which comes from the name ‘Salento’. Salento is a sub-peninsula of the Italian Peninsula (the heel of the Italian boot) where Lecce is located.

In this drink guide, I will give you a description of what a Caffè Leccese is made of, I’ll go over its variations, and teach you how to make it at home.

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

What is a Caffè Leccese: The Definition

A Caffè Leccese is an Italian iced espresso-based coffee drink.

It’s made of a shot of espresso, 5-6 ice cubes, and 0.5 – 0.6 fl. oz. (15 – 20 ml.) of almond milk syrup or sweetened almond milk.

It’s served in a glass and it usually has a nice layered look.

The latter is achieved through the method of preparation of the drink.

The barista first adds the ice cubes and almond syrup into the glass and then pours the espresso shot on top.

Soffiato or Shakerato: the variations

There are ways to make your Caffè Leccese even better by ordering it shakerato (shaken) or soffiato (blown).

  • Caffè Leccese Shakerato: the barista has the espresso shot shaken with ice, strains it, and pours it into a glass over the ice cubes.

    This process cools the espresso down and aerates it, which adds a nice texture to the shot.

    At some coffee shops, the Caffè Leccese Shakerato is prepared by shaking all the ingredients (including the almond milk or almond syrup) together.

    This is a great way to have all the components mixed well and results in a very pleasant overall flavor.

    Nevertheless, with this preparation method you don’t get to enjoy the cool layered aesthetic of the drink.

    Author’s note: If you’re a fan of shaken coffee drinks, you may find my shakerato coffee drink guide intriguing.
  • Caffè Leccese Soffiato is made through the use of the espresso machine’s steam wand.

    The barista steams and froths around 1 to 2 fl. oz. (30 ml. to 60 ml.) of sweetened almond milk and then pours it into the glass over ice cubes.

    Then the espresso shot is poured on top. This way you get a longer drink that has a nice creamy texture.

How to make a Caffè Leccese at Home

Even if you don’t have an espresso machine at home, you can make a delicious Caffè Leccese with coffee, brewed in a Moka pot.

This brew style is the best alternative to espresso, because it results in a strong, concentrated brew with an intense flavor.

So here’s how to make a Caffè Leccese at home:

  1. Brew coffee in a Moka pot.
  2. Add 5 ice cubes into the glass.
  3. Pour 0.5 fl. oz. (15 ml., 1 tablespoon) of almond syrup into a glass. You can use 1 fl. oz. (30 ml.) of sweetened almond milk instead.
  4. Pour 2 fl. oz. (60 ml) of Moka pot coffee on top.
Step-by-step illustration of how to make caffè leccese at home.

If you don’t have a Moka pot, you may use 2 fl. oz. (60 ml.) of cold brew coffee concentrate instead.

The cold brewing method doesn’t require the use of any special equipment. You can check out my cold brew coffee guide for instructions on how to prepare it.

Furthermore, if you own a French press, you can check out this cold brew recipe.

When it comes to almond syrup there are two options in front of you. You can buy one or make it at home. I recommend this almond syrup by the brand Maison Routin 1883 (Amazon link).

I prefer using homemade almond milk syrup for this Caffè Leccese recipe. It’s actually quite easy to make it.

I usually make my almond syrup by pouring 8 oz. (240 g.) of almond milk into a saucepan, then adding 8 oz. (240 g.) of sugar (1:1 ratio), and 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum (to make it thicker).

If I have almond extract at hand – I’d add a bit to the mixture (around half a teaspoon).

I’d then place the saucepan over medium heat and wait for the sugar to dissolve for around 20 minutes.

I’d occasionally stir the mixture while it’s heating up.

After the sugar has already dissolved, I’d take the saucepan off the heat and pour the syrup into a jar. As it cools down it continues to thicken.

This syrup is sweet and delicious and it’s an ideal condiment for homemade coffee drinks.

Final words

After reading this guide and finding out what a Caffè Leccese is, I’m sure that you crave one.

Even though it’s not available at many coffee shops, you saw how to easily prepare it at home. I recommend trying it out – it’s truly delicious!

Leave me a comment below if you’ve already had. I’d love to find out how your homemade Caffè Leccese turned out.

Yield: 1 serving

Caffè Leccese

Caffè Leccese

Iced coffee drink that has its origins in Lecce, Italy. It's also known as "Caffè alla Salentina". The classic version is made with espresso, but for this homemade Leccese drink, we're going to use Moka pot-brewed coffee. Using cold brew concentrate is also an option.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes


  • 0.5-0.6 fl. oz. (15 ml. to 20 ml.) almond syrup/sweetened almond milk
  • 2 fl. oz. (60 ml.) strong, instense coffee (Moka pot, cold brew concentrate)
  • 5-6 ice cubes


  1. Prepare coffee.
  2. Add 5 ice cubes to a glass.
  3. Pour the sweetened almond milk or almond syrup into the glass.
  4. Pour 2 fl. oz. (60 ml.) of coffee on top.*


*A classic Caffè Leccese is usually made with a single espresso shot, which is around 1 fl. oz. (25 ml. - 30 ml.). Nevertheless, since we're using coffee that isn't as concentrated, we add twice as much 2 fl. oz. (60 ml.).

*Check out the whole post to see a simple homemade almond milk syrup recipe.

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