Shaken Espresso vs. Latte: What’s The Difference

Difference between shaken espresso and latte

Shaken espresso and latte are two very popular drinks sold in coffee shops worldwide – and they’re often very easy to confuse. With all the different drinks, variants, and flavors popularized by chains like Starbucks, not everyone can tell them apart. 

If you are among those people, this article is for you.

In the next paragraphs, I’ll list all the differences between shaken espresso and latte, and I’ll show you how to make each of them at home.

two different coffee drinks on a table

What is shaken espresso?

Shaken espresso is Starbucks’ non-alcoholic version of caffè shakerato, a popular Italian coffee drink. It is also known as Iced Shaken Espresso. 

They’re actually two very different drinks, but they can easily be confused with each other, as caffè shakerato is often translated as Iced Shaken Coffee. I’ll keep its Italian name for clarity. 

Caffè shakerato is made with espresso, vanilla liqueur, and ice cubes. The shaken espresso that you see on every Starbucks menu, on the other hand, is made with 2 or more shots of espresso, ice cubes, about ½ cup milk, and syrup. 

It’s a delicious iced coffee drink, perfect for when you need a pick-me-up after work on hot summer days.

Latte & Iced Latte

A standard latte is made with 1 shot of espresso, hot milk, and milk foam. You can add syrups to add many different flavors, but that is optional. 

It can be made with all kind of milk, be it oatmilk, soy, or almond milk.

There is also a popular iced version of latte, which has the same ingredients, but is served with ice cubes.


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The main differences between shaken espresso and latte

Milk content

Milk content is the first noticeable difference between shaken espresso and latte. 

Shaken espresso is made with more coffee. Latte, on the contrary, is composed mainly of milk. 

Some variations are exceptions. For example, some lattes sold at Starbucks have coffee contents equal to a standard shaken espresso, and some shaken coffees have more milk than usual. But this is the general rule of thumb. 

This gives the two drinks very different taste, caffeine levels, and nutritional values. 

Caffeine levels

Having more coffee content than latte, shaken espresso also has higher caffeine levels

On average, a grande shaken espresso at Starbucks (16 oz) has about 225 milligrams of caffeine. A grande Starbucks latte, on the other hand, usually has around 135 to 175 mg of caffeine. 

The caffeine levels may vary depending on the blend you use, the size of the serving, and on the specific recipe. For example, at, I found recipes with up to 6 oz of coffee, which brings the caffeine to 360 mgs. 

That’s quite a lot, if you think that the maximum recommended daily dose of caffeine is 400 mgs. However, you can use decaffeinated coffee beans. It’s a great option to reduce your caffeine intake without giving up on your favorite coffee drinks.

On the other hand, if you’re not worried about taking too much caffeine, you can try using Starbucks Blonde Espresso Roast. I recommend using it for smaller drinks, though.

a coffee maker making two shots of espresso


Typically, an iced shaken espresso has a stronger, more intense taste due to the higher coffee content. However, it can be sweetened with syrups or a little whipped cream on top of the cup. 

An iced latte, on the other hand, has a milder and sweeter flavor thanks to its higher milk content. 


As you already know, an iced shaken espresso has higher levels of caffeine, but also more antioxidants than latte. 

Latte, on the other hand, has more sugar content because of the milk and syrups used. However, it also has more calcium and proteins. 

To summarize the last 4 paragraphs, iced shaken espresso is a great choice if you want a strong caffeine boost and want to avoid too much sugar. If, on the other hand, you prefer to treat yourself to something milder and sweeter, latte is the way to go. 

Now, let’s see how to make both of these drinks at home. 

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How to make them at home

Here in Italy, we don’t have Starbucks. Also, I live in a country area where coffee bars only serve espresso, cappuccino, latte macchiato, and ginseng or barley coffee.

If you want something different, you have to travel to the coastal towns. Or, you can learn to make your own coffee drinks

Here are some recipes you can try if you want to enjoy a good shaken espresso or latte at home. 

Iced Shaken espresso recipe

If you want to enjoy a good shaken espresso without going all the way to the coffee shop, I have a super simple recipe for you. I adapted it from the official recipe for Starbucks’ Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso. It has a little less milk, syrup, and ice – but I think it tastes great.

The ingredients are: 

  • 2 oz espresso 
  • 1 oz brown sugar syrup
  • ½ cup ice
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • a dash of cinnamon powder


  1. Make espresso, then pour into a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add syrup, mix well, then add half of the ice. 
  3. Close the shaker, and shake for at least 20 seconds. 
  4. Strain into a tall glass with the rest of the ice. Add milk and a dash of cinnamon. 
  5. Enjoy.

With the amounts above, you can fill a 12 oz cup. 

You can customize the ingredients to your liking, changing syrup and the type of milk to suit your preferences. For instance, are you craving an Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso? Just replace the ingredients above with chocolate syrup and unsweetened almond milk!

Iced coffee in mason jar

Iced Latte Recipe 

As I mentioned above, a normal latte is made by simply combining 1 shot of espresso with hot milk in a 12 oz cup.

At least, that’s the standard version.

You can add many syrups and sweeteners to give it the flavor you want, and of course you can also make it into a cold drink.

To make a grande iced latte at home, you will need:

  • ½ cup ice
  • 1 shot of espresso (approx. 1 oz)
  • ¾  cup whole milk
  • 2 oz sweetener or syrup of choice to taste (optional)
  • a dash of chocolate malt powder (optional)


  1. Fill a tall glass with ice, and pour in the freshly brewed espresso.
  2. Pour the milk and optional sweetener or chocolate powder into a mason jar until it’s ¾ full.
  3. Seal the jar tightly, and shake for at least 20 seconds. This way, the milk will become nice and foamy.
  4. Pour the milk and cold foam into the glass with the ice and espresso.

Simple and delicious!

Iced matcha latte & iced chocolate

How to make homemade syrup

Homemade syrup is super simple to make, and usually tastes better than store-bought alternatives. You simply dissolve some sugar in hot water (along with any other ingredients), bring to a boil, and then simmer.

Simple syrups are made with a 1 : 1 sugar to water ratio. This means that to make a classic syrup with brown sugar, you will only need 1 cup of each. Richer syrups, on the other hand, are made with a 2 : 1 ratio. 

Let’s make some practical examples!

Brown sugar syrup

For the brown sugar syrup I mentioned above, you will need:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water


  1. Mix the ingredients in a saucepan. 
  2. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Take the syrup away from the heat, let it cool down, and store in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

brown sugar

Toasted vanilla syrup

You can add more ingredients to get a specific flavor, like vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, unsweetened cocoa powder, and more. Or you can simply use extracts.

For instance, let’s make toasted vanilla syrup. The ingredients will be:

  • 1 cup brown sugar (again)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean or extract


  1. This time, start by cutting the vanilla bean in half and toasting it in a preheated skillet for five minutes. Then, add it to a saucepan together with the water and sugar. If you’re using vanilla extract, just mix it with the other ingredients.
  2. As for the simple syrup I described earlier, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring well.
  3. Take the saucepan away from the heat, remove the vanilla beans, let cool and enjoy!

There are lots of similar recipes online! Find the one that’s right for you and use it to make your favorite coffee drinks at home!

How to make espresso coffee at home

To make espresso coffee, you need an espresso or nespresso machine. Only they can produce enough pressure to form the typical espresso cream.

However, if you don’t have them, you can get similar results with a moka pot. Your coffee will still have a strong taste and intense natural flavors.


In conclusion, the difference between shaken espresso and latte boils down to milk/caffeine content, personal taste, and preferences.

Shaken espresso is a stronger, bolder option for those who crave a more potent caffeine kick and a rich, complex flavor. On the other hand, latte is a milder, creamier choice for those who prefer a smoother, more balanced taste and a frothy, velvety texture. And if you add some ice, it becomes a perfect summer drink.

However, both drinks have their unique perks and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

Whether you like to sip them sweet or unsweetened, plain or flavored, now you have some great recipes to try. And if you want to take your coffee game to the next level, you can always experiment with making your own syrups and espresso shots at home. With a little practice and patience, you might just discover your new favorite cold brew.

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