What is a Shakerato: Coffee Drink Guide


If you see this coffee beverage listed on the menu, definitely order one – it’s worth trying it out!

To be fair, you may not know what a Shakerato is as you can’t really find it in many coffee shops.

It’s not that the customers don’t like it. The reason why it’s not as widely available is the following – preparing it takes a bit more time and often messes up the workflow of a barista. This can be frustrating in a busy coffee bar, which is why many coffee shops take the Caffè Shakerato off the menu.

In this post, you will find out what makes this Italian espresso drink so special. I’ll go over the Shakerato ingredients, and give you a description of how it’s made.

In this guide, you’ll also learn more about the Shakerato Bianco or White Shakerato (found at some Starbucks locations).

You’ll also see a comparison between the Shakerato coffee and its espresso-based cousins – the Freddo Espresso and Freddo Cappuccino.

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

What is a Shakerato: The Definition

The Caffè Shakerato is a pretty simple drink in terms of ingredients.

What makes it stand out is the way it’s prepared. Shakerato is an Italian word, which actually means ‘shaken’ and describes the way this beverage is made.

So here’s what a Shakerato is:
The Caffè Shakerato is an espresso-based cold coffee drink, made of a double espresso shot, ice, and sugar syrup (optional).

It’s mixed in a shaker with ice cubes and then strained. A Shakerato coffee is served in a tall martini glass.

To make a Shakerato a barista pours a double espresso shot over ice cubes in a shaker, adds the sugar syrup, and then shakes vigorously.

The ice cubes have two functions.

They cool down the espresso, but they also aerate it.

This results in a formation of a nice foam layer of around 0.2 inches (0.5 cm).

Some people claim that using granulated sugar instead of sugar syrup results in a more stable foam head.

To be fair, my experience with this drink doesn’t confirm this observation.

Of course, you can always add 2 teaspoons of sugar to the shaker if you don’t have any sugar syrup available.

Nevertheless, doing so may result in a not-so-well distributed sweetness, as the grains don’t dissolve as well.

I prefer adding 10 grams to 15 grams of syrup, as this results in a better flavor.

You can easily make sugar syrup by mixing 1 part sugar and 1 part warm water.

Author’s Tip: To take your Shakerato to the next level you can add 2 drops of saline solution (20% salt, 80% water).

Adding salt to a coffee drink rounds up the pronounced bitterness, and makes the overall flavor more balanced.

This is a tip I learned from James Hoffmann.

After trying this secret ingredient out, I immediately noticed its positive impact.

From then on I always have a saline solution at hand when preparing coffee beverages.

Shakerato Bianco: Explained

The Shakerato Bianco is an espresso-based iced coffee drink that you can find at some Starbucks Reserve locations.

It’s made of espresso shaken with ice and vanilla sweet cream.

The vanilla sweet cream is a mixture of vanilla syrup, heavy cream, and milk.

This ingredient adds sweetness and creaminess to this Shakerato beverage and gives it its bright color, which explains why the drink is called Bianco (i.e. White Shakerato).

Unlike the Caffè Shakerato, its white version is served over ice cubes.

You can also order a Deconstructed Shakerato Bianco.

It’s made by shaking espresso with ice and demerara syrup, filtering the ice with a strainer, and serving it with 1/2 fl. oz. (15 ml) of sweet cream on the side.

The White Shakerato is pretty similar to another espresso-based drink – the Freddo Cappuccino.

The latter isn’t shaken, but it’s made by pouring a double espresso shot over ice cubes and topping it off with cold milk foam.

This drink is widely spread in Greece and it’s a great option if you feel like having a cold coffee beverage.

Related post: What is a Cappuccino: Definition and Types

Caffè Shakerato vs. Freddo Espresso

There is another coffee drink that has a lot in common with the Shakerato – the Freddo Espresso.

The latter is made by mixing a double espresso shot with a tablespoon of sugar (optional) and 2-3 ice cubes with a drink mixer.

The drink is served over ice cubes in a tall glass.

Unlike the Caffè Shakerato, the Freddo Espresso isn’t shaken, but mixed.

The drink mixer aerates the liquid which explains the nice foamy texture of the drink.

Another difference between these two is the fact that the Freddo is served in a glass over ice cubes.

There are no ice cubes in the martini glass into which the Shakerato is poured. This results in a more intense coffee flavor.

Should you order one?

If you feel like having a cold coffee drink, but you still want to enjoy the flavor profile of the beans your espresso is made of – go for a Caffè Shakerato.

It’s an amazingly balanced and refreshing beverage that most true coffee enthusiasts love.

Unlike other iced beverages, the Shakerato isn’t too diluted. Furthermore – its nice foam adds a pleasant texture to the drink that lets you enjoy it even more.

Not to mention how cool and sophisticated it feels to have a delicious coffee drink from a martini glass.

Anyway, I hope that you found my Shakerato drink guide helpful. Leave me a comment below if you have any questions!

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