Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I need to voice one regret I have about my expat life, and that is that I moved from the horribly humid and mosquito-infested Venice summer right to the horribly humid and mosquito-infested DC summer. It was really a masterstroke for someone who, when exposed to summer heat, turns into a wheezing fuchsia toad covered in welts. And yet here I am, surviving in DC in July (barely but surely) thanks to my highly refined immobility skills and Arctic A/C. What also helps? Caffè shakerato, or Italian ice coffee.

I don't need to convince anybody of the worthiness of ice drinks, and ice coffee in particular. And yet, many times I've felt like regular ice coffee doesn't really cut it, mostly because the melting ice tends to water down the coffee flavor and its ability to wake me up from my heat-induced stupor. The only answer is the Italian variation of ice coffee that is caffè shakerato. This is basically a long shot of espresso, sugared to taste, and shaken in a cocktail shaker so that it produces a thick and lovely foam on top. In Italy caffè shakerato is served everywhere, usually in a Martini glass, and it can really be a glorious break for your summer afternoon.

That's my husband's hand. I don't know why I get so paranoid about you thinking it's mine.

However, if your coffee bar doesn't serve caffè shakerato and if you don't care about formalities, you can make one at home very easily and drink it whenever you prefer. What I do is add a little bit of sugar to my coffee and shake it in a canning jar with three ice cubes. It's ready in 15 seconds with minimal amount of physical effort (which is really all I can afford in 99% humidity), and cools me down and wakes me up in no time. I almost (almost) feel like a functional human being when I drink one. Give it a shot.
CAVEAT! To make caffè shakerato, you can only use espresso or coffee made with a moka pot. If you don't have an espresso machine, I really suggest you get hold of a moka. It's fairly inexpensive, it's quick and easy to use, and it's one of the most beautiful objects you can own. Until I write a post about it, learn how to use it here.


Makes 2 coffees

Equipment needed: espresso machine or moka pot, one-pint canning jar

2-3 shots of espresso, or the coffee brewed in a 2-Serving moka pot
sugar to taste
5 ice cubes 

  • Brew the coffee, with a little bit more water than usual.
  • Add sugar to taste and stir well until dissolved.
  • Place the ice into the canning jar, and pour in the coffee.
  • Close the jar tightly, and shake vigorously for no more than 15 seconds. 
  • Pour the coffee into two glasses, holding any leftover ice in the jar with a spoon, letting the coffee foam pour over your coffee in all its luscious creaminess.


  1. Had one yesterday in lovely Ortisei. I will need to make them in Roma when we return next week. (Frankly I never thought about making them at home before.) I must say, I do miss my iced shots at Starbucks. It is the only consumable I miss: iced espresso.

    Do you think you can use Nespresso shots in making a Shakerato?

    1. Oooh... Ortisei! Lucky you! The Dolomites are one of my favorite places on earth!

      I don't see why Nespresso shouldn't work. I think the only requirement is to have an espresso rather than a more watery coffee, otherwise you end up with a flavorless drink.

      I used to make caffè shakerato when I was in Italy, too. Summer in Venice is HORRIBLE, and ice coffee was my obsession! ☕️🍸

  2. Well absent a cocktail shaker... I went to the ferramenta for "vaschetti per fare cubbetti di ghiaccio" (at least that's what I came up with and at least the dear man understood me) and slipped them into our tiny Italian freezer. We simply pour Nespresso shots over a few cubes. Since we are "senza zucchero" coffee drinkers, it works. I order caffe' shakerato more often in bars now, since you reminded me!

    1. Vaschette per il ghiaccio! That's correct. We're also sugar free, and you can definitely do it without. Try with a regular jar if you want to try at home. Just make sure it closes hermetically because I do remember a couple of disasters back in the day.