Sipping iced or cold coffee during steamy, hot summer days is incredibly refreshing and satisfying. Italy has mastered amazing chilled espresso drinks and here is a list of our decadent favorites.
If you didn’t think it was possible for Italians to make coffee more sophisticated than you haven’t tried a caffe shakerato. This is the drink. If you’ve ever walked around Italy and were puzzled by locals drinking (what looks like) a brown martini while the sun is still up then you’ve encountered the sexiest coffee drink. Typically, served in a stemmed glass this coffee order is simply fresh brewed espresso, shaken quickly in a cocktail shaker. This one is for all the iced coffee lovers out there. Shakerato means “shaken up” so the barista will shake the espresso, like you would a martini, then pour it over a beautiful cocktail glass. If you like your coffee on the sweet side let the barista know you’d like to add sugar. You’ll usually only find this masterpiece of a coffee order during the warmer months.
Caffe freddo is the perfectly refreshing kick of caffeine you’ll need on a hot summer day in Southern Italy. Just like ordering a regular espresso, caffe freddo is the cold version of the quick caffeine shot that you can order at any local bar. This cold coffee drink is something that will even be offered to you in someone’s home - leftover hot espresso is placed in a jar or bottle with some sugar, shaken so it’s mixed well, and placed in the refrigerator or freezer if you prefer it extra slushy. Making your own caffe freddo is super easy. America Domani recommends using Siag Italian coffee (use promo code AD20 for 20% off your next order!) to bring the authenticity and taste of Southern Italy into your kitchen in every cup of caffe freddo.
This drink is named after the stunning Baroque town of Lecce known as the Florence of the South. It’s easy to spot the caffé Leccese throughout the Salento coast of the Puglia region. Whether you’re sitting in the piazza or taking a break from the sun at a beach bar, this is the ultimate summer coffee order. Pour one shot of freshly brewed espresso into a water glass. Add about a teaspoon of almond syrup. Stir and add a generous amount of ice. Stir again to combine the espresso and syrup and cool down the temperature.
Crema di Caffè
Appropriately named “coffee cream”, crema di caffe combines some of the best elements of summertime in Italy - hot temperatures, delicious coffee and tantalizing gelato. It’s the perfect indulgence to enjoy while at the beach or sitting poolside. This addictive beverage calls for espresso, sugar, and cream, to be churned in a machine. The ingredients become cool, smooth, and above all, delicious. You’ll typically only see this offered during the summer season so as the temperatures rise, you know what to order.
Granita di Caffe
Granita di caffe is the frozen coffee slushy of your dreams. On a hot day, the strong coffee, sugar and ice mixture will put you in a state of pure happiness. While easy to find at an Italian bar, it’s very easy to make at home. Take 2 cups of espresso and while hot, add about 1 1/2 cups of sugar and stir to dissolve. Let it cool then pour it into a container that will fit into your freezer, like tupperware, to hold the coffee with at least 2 inches space above. Place it in the freezer and after about one hour, take it out, stir, break up the ice crystals and scrape them from the side. Serve in a glass bowl or cup, topped with whipped cream.
Some call it a dessert, others a coffee drink. Does it really matter when mixing coffee and gelato? Add a scoop of gelato to a cup of espresso or pour a cup of espresso over a heap of gelato. The traditional flavor of gelato for an affogato is crema, which is like custardy vanilla.
Arianna DiCicco is an educator and writer from California, born into an Italian American restaurant family with strong ties to her grandparents’ home in Abruzzo, Italy. She has lived in San Francisco, Rome and New York City where she’s made deep connections within the Italian communities and gained new perspectives about her own culture. With a Masters in International Education, Arianna has a love and passion for learning and educating others about Italian history & culture.