Italians are talented baristas and passionate coffee lovers. The French are quite fond of the dark brew as well, but actually, it was the cool people in Greece who took coffee to the next level.
We can basically say it was the Greeks who invented cold coffee as we know it. They started with the frappé in the 1950s, and they came up with the freddo cappuccino soon after. Then, in the early 90s, they created the espresso freddo — one of the most refreshing and sophisticated drinks around.
One of the very first cold coffee is more complex than you think. Yes, it’s just espresso, but it’s more than that. There are many myths involved, though, and the drink has evolved through time.
For starters, there’s no milk in an authentic espresso freddo, unless, of course, you want to add some.
Another common misconception is that you need a blender to make one. In fact, there’s no place for the appliance in an authentic Greek espresso freddo.
So, what do you need to make a refreshing espresso? Just good coffee and fresh ice.
As for the coffee, I recommend finding a fruity, medium-roasted coffee, also labeled as full city, regular or breakfast roasts. This is a summer drink, after all, so we want something light and tasty. Leave robust coffee roasts for your mocha.
If you’ve seen an espresso freddo before, you’ve noticed a thick, frothy crown on top. That’s why some people think there’s milk involved, but you’ll be surprised to know you only need a little elbow grease to end up with that lovely foam. Shake, shake, shake, and you’ll make it work.
We should consider the sweetener too because most cold espressos are quite sweet. To be honest, there’s no right or wrong answer for this one. Use your favorite sweetener, from cane sugar to monk fruit extract. Some people even like to add a splash of simple syrup to the coffee before shaking. Try it; it might be the right method for you. For today’s recipe, I’m leaving out the sweetener; that’s a personal choice.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m usually not a purist; I’m more of a creative type. There are many ways of putting together an espresso freddo. Some people use an electric blender, while others use a cocktail shaker. Some folks will even use instant coffee! It’s no rocket science. The most important thing is that you enjoy your coffee.
Brew two espresso shots.
Pour the espresso over one cup of ice in a cocktail shaker or a bottle with a lid.
Shake until the coffee foams.
Strain over a glass filled with fresh ice.