Keeping cool—refresh yourself with Italian iced coffee

Adam Jones | 23/11/2018
Iced Coffee in Italy. Italian Iced coffee
Italian iced coffee

Summertime in Italy is a treat: beautiful beaches, wonderful food, and stunning architecture. But it is also really, really hot. How do you keep yourself refreshed and alert while taking in all that Italy has to offer? Why, delving into Italian coffee culture of course! Iced coffee in Italy has more choices than you may be used to at home. To get the best of Italian iced coffee, a little knowledge can go a long way.

Traditional iced coffee in Italy comes in many forms, a few of which will likely be new to you. The important word to know here is freddo (cold) — most coffee drinks can simply be ordered freddo like a caffè freddo or a cappuccino freddo. The caffè freddo is usually an espresso base kept in the freezer, lightly sweetened and served as an icy slush. Coffee in Italy is generally a high quality yet straightforward affair, but tradition has given rise to a few specific iced favorites.

Caffè Shakerato

Perhaps one of the most elegant types of iced coffee in Italy - the caffè shakerato is served in a cocktail glass. Found throughout the country, a shakerato is mixed by shaking espresso, some ice cubes, and a simple syrup together in a cocktail shaker until a sufficient amount of froth is created. Most often served in a martini glass, a splash of Baileys may also be added to the shakerato, depending on the venue. 

Caffé in Ghiaccio Salentina

When in the South of Italy, drink Italian coffee as the Italians do. This drink was invented in Puglia, known for its almonds, in the 1950s. It consists of a shot of espresso served over ice, mixed in with an almond-flavored syrup. It’s one of the most popular drinks to beat the Southern Italian heat.

Caffè Affogato

Caffe affogato. Iced coffee and gelato
Caffè Affogato

Is this coffee or dessert or the best of both worlds? Caffè affogato, meaning ‘drowned coffee’ in Italian, is a scoop of vanilla gelato “drowned” in a shot of fresh espresso. Usually eaten with a spoon, you’ll get a bit of espresso and gelato in every bite. Depending on where you order you might get it slightly more on the dessert side of things.

Caffè Crema

You’ll find the caffè crema on the counters of coffee shops all throughout Italy in the summer. Think of it as the Italian version of a slushie: a machine perpetually spins a mixture of frozen cream and coffee. This on-tap drink can be ordered almost everywhere and in a variety of sizes, depending on how thirsty you are or how much caffeine you might need to get on with your day.

From the fancy cocktail version to the quick grab-and-go, Italy’s iced coffee will help you beat the heat. Now you know what to order so you can sit back, refresh yourself, and enjoy the view.