How to Make a Perfect Shaken Coffee Drink

Shaken coffee, also known as “shakerato” in Italy, is a refreshing and sophisticated way to enjoy coffee, especially during warm weather. This chilled coffee drink is characterized by its frothy texture and is often served in a cocktail glass. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make the perfect shaken coffee drink, including essential tips and techniques, variations, and a few creative twists to elevate your coffee experience.

The Classic Shaken Coffee Recipe



  • 2 shots (2 ounces) of freshly brewed espresso
  • 1-2 teaspoons of sugar (adjust to taste)
  • Ice cubes (about a cup)
  • Optional: flavored syrups (vanilla, caramel, hazelnut)
  • Optional: garnish (coffee beans, chocolate shavings, or cinnamon stick)


  • Espresso machine or a stovetop espresso maker
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Strainer
  • Jigger or measuring spoons
  • Ice scoop
  • Martini or cocktail glass


  1. Brew the Espresso:
    • Brew 2 shots of espresso using your espresso machine or stovetop espresso maker. The quality of the espresso is crucial, so use freshly ground, high-quality coffee beans.
  2. Add Sugar:
    • While the espresso is still hot, stir in 1-2 teaspoons of sugar. Adjust the amount based on your preference for sweetness. The hot espresso will help dissolve the sugar completely.
  3. Prepare the Shaker:
    • Fill the cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Use about a cup of ice to ensure the espresso cools down quickly and achieves a frothy texture when shaken.
  4. Combine and Shake:
    • Pour the sweetened espresso over the ice in the cocktail shaker. Secure the lid tightly and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. The goal is to chill the espresso rapidly and create a frothy, creamy texture.
  5. Strain and Serve:
    • Strain the shaken espresso into a chilled martini or cocktail glass using the strainer to hold back the ice. The resulting drink should be cold, frothy, and refreshing.
  6. Garnish (Optional):
    • For an extra touch of elegance, garnish your shaken coffee with a few coffee beans, a sprinkle of chocolate shavings, or a cinnamon stick.

Variations and Enhancements

The classic shaken coffee is delicious on its own, but you can also customize it with different flavors and ingredients to suit your taste. Here are some variations to try:

1. Vanilla Shaken Coffee



  • 2 shots of espresso
  • 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla syrup
  • Ice cubes


  1. Brew the espresso and add the vanilla syrup while it’s still hot, stirring to combine.
  2. Follow the same steps as the classic recipe for shaking and straining.

2. Caramel Shaken Coffee


  • 2 shots of espresso
  • 1-2 teaspoons of caramel syrup
  • Ice cubes


  1. Brew the espresso and stir in the caramel syrup.
  2. Shake with ice and strain into a glass as per the classic recipe.

3. Mocha Shaken Coffee


  • 2 shots of espresso
  • 1-2 teaspoons of chocolate syrup
  • Ice cubes


  1. Brew the espresso and mix in the chocolate syrup.
  2. Shake with ice and strain into a glass.
  3. Garnish with chocolate shavings for an extra treat.

Tips for Perfect Shaken Coffee

  1. Quality Espresso: The foundation of a good shaken coffee is quality espresso. Use freshly roasted and ground coffee beans for the best flavor.
  2. Shake Vigorously: Shaking vigorously is key to achieving the frothy, creamy texture that characterizes a good shaken coffee.
  3. Chill the Glass: For an extra-refreshing drink, chill your glass in the freezer for a few minutes before straining the coffee into it.
  4. Balance Sweetness: Adjust the amount of sugar or syrup to balance the natural bitterness of the espresso without overpowering it.
  5. Experiment with Flavors: Don’t hesitate to experiment with different flavored syrups, extracts, or spices to create your own signature shaken coffee.

Detailed Instructions for Shaken Coffee Perfection

Let’s delve deeper into each step to ensure you achieve barista-level results.

1. Brewing the Espresso

The quality of your espresso will significantly impact the final drink. Here’s how to brew the perfect espresso:

  • Grind Size: Use a fine grind size for your espresso. The grounds should resemble table salt in texture.
  • Water Temperature: The ideal water temperature for brewing espresso is between 195°F and 205°F. If using a stovetop espresso maker, heat the water until it just begins to boil, then reduce the heat slightly.
  • Pressure: If using an espresso machine, ensure it operates at 9 bars of pressure. This is standard for extracting the best flavors from the coffee.

2. Adding Sugar

Sweetening the espresso while it’s hot allows the sugar to dissolve completely, ensuring a smooth drink. Here’s how to do it:

  • Stirring: Use a spoon to stir the sugar into the hot espresso until fully dissolved. Taste and adjust the sweetness as needed.
  • Alternative Sweeteners: You can also use honey, agave syrup, or even a sugar substitute if you prefer.

3. Preparing the Shaker

The shaker is essential for achieving the right texture and temperature. Here’s how to prepare it:

  • Ice Quality: Use clean, fresh ice cubes to avoid any off-flavors. The amount of ice is also crucial—too little, and the espresso won’t cool enough; too much, and it may become diluted.
  • Chilling Time: Shake the mixture for about 15-20 seconds. This is enough to chill the espresso and create the desired froth.

4. Shaking Technique

Shaking the espresso properly is key to getting the right texture:

  • Grip: Hold the shaker with both hands, one on the lid and one on the base, to ensure it doesn’t open while shaking.
  • Vigor: Shake as vigorously as possible. The more energy you put into it, the frothier the drink will be.

5. Straining and Serving

Straining the shaken coffee ensures a smooth, frothy drink without ice chunks:

  • Strainer: Use a fine mesh strainer to pour the drink into the glass, which helps catch any small ice particles.
  • Serving: Serve immediately to enjoy the drink at its optimal temperature and texture.

Advanced Techniques and Tips

For those looking to perfect their shaken coffee even further, consider these advanced tips:

1. Using Cold Brew Concentrate

Instead of espresso, you can use cold brew concentrate for a smoother, less acidic flavor:

  • Cold Brew Concentrate: Brew a batch of cold brew concentrate and use it in place of espresso. This is especially useful if you prefer a milder coffee taste.

2. Infusing Flavors

Infuse your espresso with additional flavors for a unique twist:

  • Cinnamon: Add a pinch of ground cinnamon to the espresso before brewing.
  • Citrus: Add a strip of citrus peel (orange or lemon) to the cocktail shaker for a bright, aromatic note.

3. Alcoholic Variations

Create an adult version of shaken coffee by adding a splash of alcohol:

  • Coffee Liqueur: Add 1/2 ounce of coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa, to the espresso before shaking.
  • Vodka or Rum: For a stronger kick, add 1/2 ounce of vodka or rum.

Shaken Coffee: A Step-by-Step Visual Guide


For those who learn visually, here’s a step-by-step guide with images:

  1. Brew the Espresso:
    • Show the espresso machine and the brewing process.
  2. Add Sugar:
    • Image of stirring sugar into hot espresso.
  3. Prepare the Shaker:
    • Image of filling the shaker with ice cubes.
  4. Combine and Shake:
    • Image of pouring espresso into the shaker and shaking vigorously.
  5. Strain and Serve:
    • Image of straining the drink into a chilled glass.


Making the perfect shaken coffee drink at home is not only achievable but also incredibly satisfying. By following these detailed steps and tips, you can create a refreshing, frothy coffee beverage that rivals those from your favorite café. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or experiment with flavors and ingredients, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious shaken coffee anytime you crave a cool, invigorating drink. Happy shaking!


1. What type of coffee beans should I use for shaken coffee?

Answer: For the best shaken coffee, use high-quality, freshly roasted espresso beans. The flavor profile of your beans will significantly impact the final taste of your drink. Look for beans that are medium to dark roast, as these tend to have the rich, bold flavors that stand out well when chilled and shaken. Avoid using pre-ground coffee, as freshly ground beans will provide the best aroma and taste.

2. Can I use cold brew concentrate instead of espresso?

Answer: Yes, you can use cold brew concentrate instead of espresso for a smoother, less acidic flavor. To make a shaken coffee with cold brew concentrate:

  1. Use about 2 ounces of cold brew concentrate.
  2. Mix with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar or flavored syrup.
  3. Proceed with the same steps for shaking and straining as you would with espresso.

Cold brew concentrate is a great alternative, especially if you prefer a less intense coffee flavor or if you don’t have an espresso machine.

3. How can I achieve the perfect frothy texture?

Answer: Achieving the perfect frothy texture in your shaken coffee involves several key steps:

  1. Shake Vigorously: The more energy you put into shaking, the frothier the drink will be. Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously for at least 15-20 seconds.
  2. Ice Quality: Use clean, fresh ice cubes. The ice helps cool the espresso quickly and creates the froth when shaken.
  3. Proper Equipment: Use a cocktail shaker, as it is designed to chill and aerate drinks effectively. A mason jar or any other container with a tight-sealing lid can be used in a pinch, but a cocktail shaker works best.

4. What sweeteners can I use besides sugar?

Answer: You can use a variety of sweeteners to suit your taste preferences:

  • Honey: Adds a unique floral sweetness.
  • Agave Syrup: Offers a mild, neutral sweetness.
  • Maple Syrup: Provides a rich, earthy flavor.
  • Simple Syrup: Easily dissolves and can be flavored with vanilla or other extracts.
  • Sugar Substitutes: Such as stevia, monk fruit sweetener, or erythritol for a lower-calorie option.

Mix the sweetener with the hot espresso to ensure it dissolves completely, which is crucial for a smooth texture.

5. Can I make a dairy-free shaken coffee?

Answer: Absolutely! You can make a delicious dairy-free shaken coffee using non-dairy milk alternatives. Here are a few options:

  • Almond Milk: Adds a nutty flavor and froths reasonably well.
  • Oat Milk: Creamy and froths nicely, making it a popular non-dairy choice.
  • Soy Milk: Froths well and has a thicker consistency.
  • Coconut Milk: Adds a tropical flavor and can create a good froth but may be thicker.

To incorporate non-dairy milk, follow these steps:

  1. Brew your espresso and sweeten as desired.
  2. Add a splash of non-dairy milk to the cocktail shaker with the ice and espresso.
  3. Shake vigorously and strain into your glass.


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