espresso fredo

Whilst I was in Italy this year, I was introduced to the most marvellous iced coffee.

I drink my coffee black, and big serves of coffee flavoured milk have never been to my liking. I find them too big, too heavy, and too rich.

What I discovered was “espresso fredo“, or cold espresso coffee. It also called “espresso shakerato“.

We were walking around Naples, and the temperature was around 35c. I needed a coffee hit, and I wanted something cold, so I tried this. I found that it is a Naples specialty, or so they claimed, and is served particularly at their open air cafes and bars. I actually found it all over the place in Italy, but cannot convince anyone in Australia to make it. They have never heard of it, they say.

It is not just espresso coffee chilled, as some places offer. That is just a lot of coffee, put in a bottle and stored in a refrigerator. OK in itself, but when I got to try the real thing, the flavour was quite different.

True espresso fredo is made to order. It is a double shot of espresso, with some added sugar or, better, sugar syrup. That is then put in a cocktail shaker with some ice, shaken, then served. The sugar is necessary because coffee, when served cold, gets dominated by its natural bitterness. Whilst the bitterness and the coffee taste are in balance when hot, that isn’t the case when it is cold. A little sweetness takes the edge off, and allows the coffee flavour to come through.

There are several variations on this, with macchiato fredo being pretty good too.

Served in a glass, with some ice water on the side, it is simply great.

espresso fredo


  • 1 double espresso
  • 2 ice cubes, broken
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 1 ice cube, to serve


  1. Place espresso, sugar and ice cubes into a shaker.
  2. Shake until shaker feels cold.
  3. Place ice cube in glass, and pour the coffee over the ice cube, ensuring you get as much of the crema as possible.
  4. Serve with an iced water on the side.

about the author

Keith Pfeiffer was born in the UK at an early age and migrated to Australia shortly thereafter. He has a passion for his technology career, literature, music performance, and of all things, Indian cuisine.

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