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Difference Between Shaken Espresso and Latte: All You Need to Know

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If you’ve been to Starbucks or another coffee shop recently, you might have seen two increasingly popular espresso drinks on the menu: the shaken espresso (reminiscent of a classic Italian ‘Shakerato’) and a classic, creamy latte. Today, we’re diving into all the similarities and differences between a shaken espresso and latte, so you’ll never be confused when ordering at a coffee shop (ahem, Starbucks) again!

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What Is A Shaken Espresso?

A shaken espresso is a newer addition to the espresso drinks family, with Starbucks being one of the first major coffee shops to add this exciting variant to its menu. The Starbucks baristas, and many others worldwide, create this drink by pulling shots of espresso and then vigorously shaking them in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and a splash of milk or simple syrup. In its simplest form, a shaken espresso is just what its name implies – espresso that is shaken, not stirred.

This drink may be particularly appealing to those who enjoy iced espresso beverages and are looking for something with a new twist. The shaking technique not only cools the espresso quickly but also adds a frothy, aerated texture to the final product, not unlike what you’d find on a well-made cold brew coffee or iced macchiato.

P.S: If you’re at Starbucks and want to try shaken espresso, try the Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso!

How is a Latte Made?

A latte, a classic among espresso drinks, is a hot beverage at its core, although iced latte versions are now very popular too. It’s made with one or more shots of espresso, steamed milk (which can be whole milk, almond milk, oat milk, or any type of milk of your choice), and a cap of milk foam on top.

The main difference between a latte and many other espresso-based beverages is the ratio of milk to coffee. A latte typically has much more milk than an espresso or a cappuccino. This makes it a less strong coffee option, and it can be a better choice for those who prefer a less intense coffee flavor or a warmer, creamier drink. 

In recent times, Starbucks has introduced variations to their classic latte, like the “Oleato Caffè Latte,” made with olive oil and other natural flavors, and the festive honey almond milk latte, offering different flavors to cater to different tastes. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Oleato – but some of my friends really liked it!

Shaken Espresso vs. Latte: The Main Differences

The main difference between shaken espresso and latte lies in the preparation method, the serving temperature, and the ratio of added milk. 

Preparation Method

A latte requires an espresso machine to make the espresso and steam the milk, while a shaken espresso is made using a cocktail shaker, similar to the method used in cocktail preparation. The Starbucks shaken espresso is often served with a double shot of espresso, shaken with ice, classic syrup, and a choice of milk.

Serving Temperature

While a latte is traditionally a hot drink, it can be served iced for a refreshing twist on a hot summer day. Conversely, a shaken espresso is an iced drink and is typically served cold.

Milk Ratio

Another main difference between the two drinks is the amount of milk used. A latte contains more milk than a shaken espresso. A typical latte might contain a lot of steamed milk topped with a small amount of foam, whereas a shaken espresso typically only has a small splash of milk or simple syrup, resulting in a drink with a stronger coffee flavor.

Health and Nutrition Facts

When it comes to health and nutrition facts, both drinks can be relatively healthy depending on how they’re prepared. For example, using almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk can significantly reduce the calories and fat compared to using whole milk. 

A shaken espresso, as it contains less milk and more espresso shots, has more caffeine content. On average, a Starbucks shaken espresso with blonde espresso contains around 255 milligrams of caffeine. This is approximately half of the daily recommended limit for caffeine intake. 

In contrast, a Starbucks latte typically has around 150 mg of caffeine for a 16 fl oz serving. Be aware, the caffeine content can vary based on the type of coffee used (dark roast vs. blonde), the number of shots of espresso added, and the size of the drink.

As a reminder, an excessive amount of sugar, even from flavored syrup like vanilla syrup, can lead to health issues. So make sure to keep track of your sugar intake when ordering these drinks. Consider asking your barista for less syrup, or opt for sugar-free syrups if available.

Starbucks App and Customization

Coffee shops, particularly Starbucks, have made it easier than ever to customize your drinks. With the Starbucks app, you can choose from different types of milk, adjust the amount of syrup, or even add an extra shot of espresso. The app also provides nutrition facts for each drink and customization, so you can make informed decisions based on your dietary needs.

Experimenting with Shaken Espresso and Latte

Coffee lovers can have fun experimenting with the different combinations of these two espresso drinks. You can try a shaken espresso with a splash of oat milk and brown sugar syrup for a sweet and creamy twist. Or perhaps a latte with less milk, finely-ground coffee beans, and a dash of vanilla bean syrup.

Even if you don’t have access to an espresso machine, you can still make these drinks at home with some special equipment. For a shaken espresso, all you need is a mason jar (if you don’t have a cocktail shaker) and some strong, finely-ground coffee or espresso coffee. 

You can also try making a latte using strong coffee brewed at a medium-low heat and frothing your choice of milk using a whisk or frother. Try out different flavors of syrup, add a cold foam on top, or even create a new menu item with your unique twist!

What’s the Best Choice?

Whether a shaken espresso or a latte is a better choice really comes down to a matter of preference. If you prefer a strong coffee flavor and an iced drink with a unique texture, a shaken espresso might be the perfect choice. If, however, you prefer a creamier drink with a balanced coffee and milk flavor, a latte might be the perfect pick.

For coffee lovers who enjoy trying new drinks, the launch of the shaken espresso was a great choice to add to the diverse Starbucks menu. Even though it only hit Starbucks stores last week, this drink has become a new favorite among Starbucks customers. 

On the other hand, a latte, whether iced or hot, remains a classic choice among many coffee lovers. Its versatility in flavor and type of milk used makes it an all-time favorite among both new and loyal Starbucks customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between espresso and latte?

The main difference between espresso and latte is the addition of milk. An espresso is a small, concentrated coffee beverage served hot, brewed under high pressure, with finely-ground coffee beans. It’s the base for many popular drinks at coffee shops like Starbucks.

 A latte, on the other hand, starts with a shot (or shots) of espresso, and then a larger amount of steamed milk is added, often with a cap of milk foam on top. The result is a creamier, more diluted coffee flavor compared to the robust and concentrated taste of an espresso.

What is the difference between shaken espresso and cold brew?

Shaken espresso and cold brew are two different types of iced coffee drinks. Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coarse-ground coffee in cold water for 12-24 hours. This results in a smooth, less acidic coffee that is often served cold over ice. 

Shaken espresso, however, is made by shaking shots of espresso with ice and a sweetener, such as classic syrup or brown sugar syrup, in a cocktail shaker. This creates a frothy, iced beverage with a stronger coffee flavor compared to cold brew.

Which has more caffeine espresso or latte?

The caffeine content in an espresso or latte largely depends on the number of shots of espresso used. A single shot of espresso typically contains around 63 mg of caffeine, while a standard Starbucks latte with two shots of espresso contains approximately 150 mg of caffeine. However, because a latte has more volume due to the added milk, the caffeine concentration (caffeine per fluid ounce) is less than in a straight shot of espresso.

Is espresso the strongest coffee?

In terms of flavor and caffeine content per fluid ounce, espresso is often considered the strongest coffee. However, if you’re measuring by total caffeine content in a full cup of coffee, a drip or brewed coffee might contain more caffeine because it’s usually served in larger quantities.

How many shots of espresso are in a latte?

A typical Starbucks latte contains two shots of espresso. However, this can be customized based on personal preference, with some coffee lovers opting for a double espresso or even more for a stronger coffee flavor.

Is a shaken espresso stronger than cold brew?

In terms of coffee flavor and caffeine content, a shaken espresso can be stronger than a cold brew. This is because a shaken espresso typically uses a concentrated shot or shots of espresso, which has a stronger flavor and higher caffeine content per ounce compared to cold brew coffee.

What’s the difference between iced coffee and shaken espresso?

Iced coffee and shaken espresso are both refreshing cold coffee drinks, but they’re prepared differently. Iced coffee is typically brewed coffee that’s been cooled and then poured over ice. A shaken espresso, on the other hand, involves shaking a shot or shots of espresso with ice and a sweetener to create a frothy, well-blended iced beverage.

What makes shaken espresso different?

The shaking technique used in preparing a shaken espresso gives it its distinctive characteristics. When espresso shots, a sweetener (like classic syrup or brown sugar syrup), and ice are shaken together, it creates a frothy, chilled espresso drink with a unique texture and flavor profile.

Why is shaken espresso better?

Whether a shaken espresso is “better” is subjective and depends on personal preferences. Some might prefer a shaken espresso for its stronger coffee flavor and unique frothy texture. It’s also a great choice for those who prefer their coffee cold, especially on a hot day.

How many shots are in a shaken espresso?

A Starbucks iced shaken espresso typically comes with two shots of espresso. However, this can be customized based on personal preference. Some might prefer a “doppio” or double espresso for a stronger coffee flavor.

Did you enjoy learning the difference between a latte and shaken iced coffee? Which one do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below!

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