Caffee Ospitale: A Must Try Recipe for Espresso Lovers

With various events that happened/still happening throughout the world on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s without question that 2020 is a year for the history books. Somewhere in the very thick book of 2020, I’m sure that Dalgona and the Shakerato would at least receive a sentence or two, if not for thoroughness then at least to provide some respite from the onslaught of dark and heavy topics.

I have to admit that seeing recipes for both the Dalgona and Shakerato made me recoil in horror. The amount of sugar/sweetener (at least a tablespoon) used in both recipes, screamed sugar drink flavored with coffee than coffee drink balanced out with sugar. Since I’m not a fan of overly sweet drinks, I wondered if I could make a similar drink that was more coffee forward with balanced flavors.

espresso maker

After some research and much trial and error, I created a recipe (at least I haven’t found anything similar) that preserves the theatrics of the shakerato, the visual impact of a completed Dalgona, and produces a much more balanced drink that is easily modifiable. Because the recipe can be tailored to suit a drinker’s tastes, lets call this drink Caffee Ospitale (Italian for hospitable); the name’s not too cheesy right?

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Shakeratos are known for their sweetness and velvety mouth feel. With the goal of making a less sweet drink, I was worried that cutting 2/3’s of the sugar (1 tablespoon down to 1 teaspoon), would affect the flavor, look and velvetiness.

As you can see from the pictures, the look of the drink wasn’t affected at all, however, the Shakeretto with a full tablespoon of sugar did have a smoother feel to it. For sweetness, the 1 teaspoon of sugar worked the best in comparison to the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 teaspoons.

espresso shotsThe 2nd glass from the left has a table spoon of sugar in it.

Other sweeteners I tried included brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and flavored syrups. Of the 4, the only sweetener I won’t recommend is honey. Not sure if it was the quality of the honey, but the drink tasted off. For the remaining options, adjustments are listed below.

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With the 1 teaspoon of sugar locked in, the next goal was to add back the mouth feel and some complexity to boot. I tried whole milk, flavored dairy creamers (vanilla and caramel) and half/half. Of the three, half/half was the best. Whole milk was too thin and the flavored dairy creamers in addition to being too thin, imparted a bad after taste.

You’ll need 2 pieces of special equipment to make this drink: an espresso machine or moka pot and a cocktail shaker.  Note:  espresso produced from a moka pot will make a milder drink both in flavor and viscosity.  So, here’s my recipe for 1 drink!

  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (1.5 tsp with brown sugar, 1-1.5 tsp with maple syrup, or 3/4 tsp of sugar + 1/4 tsp of flavored syrup)
  • a 2oz shot of espresso (stronger the flavor, the better.  I used Bustello!
  • 3 to 4oz ice cubes
  • tablespoon of half/half
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Step 1: Brew the espresso.

espresso brewing methods

Step 2:  Add ice and sugar to your cocktail shaker.

flavored syrup

Step 3:  Add your brewed espresso.

espresso drink

Step 4:  Shake for about 30 to 40 seconds.

Step 5: Pour into your glass.

espresso recipe

Step 6:  Add your half and half.  You’re probably wondering why not add the half/half in to the shaker? Doing so doesn’t affect the flavor of the drink from what I can discern, however the look of the drink is less pleasing.

half and half drink

Step 7:  Enjoy!

espresso drink with cookies

Alright Nomsters, we hope you enjoyed Sung Shin’s latest recipe post.  If you want to read more from our resident coffee expert, make sure you check out the following as well:  One of the Best Coffee Roasters in DC, A Beginner’s Guide to Coffee, and Rako Coffee Roasters: Thoughts & Brewing Methods.  And for those of you interested, we also have a drink tab so definitely make sure to take a look see.  Until next time!


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