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What is a Shaken Espresso?

Shaken Espresso promo image.

Espresso is a straightforward drink. It is a shot of coffee pulled out from an espresso machine. But what about shaken Espresso? Do you shake the Espresso in a shaker as if you are making a cocktail? What is a Shaken espresso?

The shaken Espresso is a recipe for a coffee drink made popular by Starbucks in 2021. It is loosely based on the Shakerato, an Italian Espresso-based drink. You shake ice, blonde Espresso, sweetener, and milk in a cocktail shaker to make the drink.

This post explores what shaken Espresso is, and how it differs from Cappuccino or Espresso. We also look at how you can make one yourself.

What is special about Shaken/Shaking Espresso?

The shaken Espresso was a recipe concocted by Starbucks and added to its line of drinks in 2021. The drink is inspired by the Shakerato, an espresso drink popular during summertime in Italy.

You make the traditional Shakerato by combining Espresso with ice and some sweeteners in a cocktail shaker. The drink is then shaken, poured out, and served with ice. Starbucks took this recipe, modified it slightly, and added more pizazz. 

Starbucks’s shaken Espresso comes with milk or cream, which the regular Shakerato does not. Adding milk and cream helps to bring in additional fluff, froth, and creaminess to the drink, making it taste more indulging and decadent. 

Starbucks mugs. Photo by kevs.
Starbucks mugs. Photo by kevs.

However, since there is not much milk and cream, the bitterness of the Espresso remains, making the drink taste between a regular espresso and a latte. When introduced in 2021, Starbucks’ Shaken Espresso comes in four styles:

Iced Shaken Espresso: Signature Espresso, classic syrup, ice, milk.

Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso: This version comes with Blonde Espresso, toasted vanilla syrup, ice, and oat milk.

Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso: This Shaken Espresso comes with Blonde Espresso, brown sugar syrup, cinnamon, ice, and oat milk.

Iced Chocolate Almond Milk Shaken Espresso: Blonde Espresso, chocolate malt powder, ice, almond milk.


Shaken Espresso vs. Cappuccino vs. Espresso

Shaken EspressoCappuccinoEspresso
MilkA splash of milk⅓ of the drink is milkNo milk
EspressoUsually blonde espressoUsually dark espressoUsually dark espresso
Size12 – 24 fl oz (about 354 – 708ml)5 – 6 fl oz (about 150 – 180ml)1 fl oz (about 30ml)
Serving TemperatureColdHot and coldHot and cold
SweetenerRegularly addedRegularly addedRarely added
Table overview of Shaken Espresso vs. Cappuccino vs. Espresso.

Shaken Espresso can be best described as something between regular Espresso and Cappuccino. As a result, shaken Espresso takes elements from both drinks and invents a new one. 


In Cappuccino, milk, Espresso, and foam are in equal ⅓ parts. As a result, Cappuccino is a rather light and easy drink. On the other hand, Espresso would contain no milk and no foam. It is a pure shot of coffee.

Shaken Espresso, however, combines espresso shots and splashes of milk, almost like a macchiato. 


Espresso or Cappuccino tends to use dark roasted beans to make Espresso. This results in a bold, smokey, and strong espresso, perfect for Cappuccino or straight Espresso.

Shaken Espresso, however, does not use dark roasted beans. Instead, blond espresso beans are used. These are lightly roasted coffee beans, and they produce light, floral espresso shots. 


Cappuccinos may be served hot or cold, which means they come in many sizes. Regular hot Cappuccino is about 5 – 6 fl oz or 150 – 180 ml metric. Iced Cappuccino will usually have a higher volume. 

Regular Espresso is served in small cups, usually about 1 fl oz (about 30ml). Double or triple-shot Espresso will likely have higher volume, although not by much.

Starbucks’ Shaken Espresso serving is 12 – 24 fl oz (about 354 – 708 ml). The large serving size is to accommodate the ice cubes. 

Serving Temperature

Cappuccino can be served hot or iced. Most would drink Espresso hot, although iced Espresso can be enjoyable. 

Shaken Espresso is served cold exclusively, with ice cubes. Your barista needs to shake them with ice or risk burning their hands. It would be very rare to request a hot shaken espresso, as it would be the same as a macchiato.


It is common to have sweeteners added to Cappuccino, and Shaken Espresso has sweeteners, be it sugar, syrup, or replacement sugars. You can, of course, drink your Cappuccino and shaken Espresso without any sweetener. 

It may be rather off to have Espresso with sugar since the sugar may take away the punch and bold flavors espresso lovers enjoy. 

How to Make Shaken Espresso?

To make a shaken espresso at home, prepare the following first:

  • Shaker
  • Stirrer
  • A tall glass. You can also use a mason jar if you like it rustic.
  • Fresh, lightly roasted coffee beans or grounds. 
  • Milk. Any milk should be fine, but Starbucks’ recipe uses 2% skimmed milk
  • Sweeteners of choice
  • Ice cubes. 

Once you have everything ready, you can follow the steps below to make shaken Espresso:

  1. Start by making your blonde Espresso. Pull three single shots using your espresso machine of choice. 
  2. Pour the espresso shots into the shaker. Add in your preferred sweetener, and stir with a stirrer.
  3. Add in a generous amount of ice cubes and a splash of milk.
  4. Close the shaker, and shake vigorously. Stop when you can feel the shaker is cold to the touch.
  5. Pour all content inside out into a tall glass, and serve. Enjoy!

Common Questions About Shaken Espresso

What Are The Ingredients Used To Make Shaken Espresso?

A shaken Espresso combines three shots of blonde Espresso, ice, and a splash of milk. You can also add sweeteners to flavor the drink too. 

How To Make Shaken Espresso?

Start by pulling three blonde espresso shots. Then combine the espresso shots with sweeteners inside a shaker and stir. Then add in ice and a splash of milk. Shake until the shaker feels cold. Pour out and serve.

Is Shaken Espresso A Strong Drink?

Shaken Espresso is a strong drink, although not as strong as Espresso. There is some milk, and the ice may dilute the Espresso. The caffeine content is about 225mg, slightly over half the recommended daily amount.

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