Looking for a way to treat yourself with the perfect dose of caffeine and some creamy sweetness? You’ll be amazed at how easy Espresso con Panna is to make – and even more impressed by just how delicious it tastes.
Join me as we delve into this simple but oh-so-satisfying recipe, and even learn to make homemade whipped cream in the process.
What is an Espresso con Panna?
Espresso con Panna is an Italian drink made with a double shot of espresso topped with whipped cream.
As to its origins, there are debates about whether it first started in Vienna, Germany, or Turkey. It even has different names depending on the country:
- Cafe Vienne for the US
- Cafe Viennois for both UK and France
- Franziskaner for Vienna
What makes this drink a crowd favorite is its “sweet” simplicity. The contrast between the bitterness of a shot of espresso and the sweetness of the cream on top creates an irresistible balance that will have you craving more.
How you consume it is interesting as well. You can choose to:
- Eat the whipped cream first, and drink the espresso after, or
- Stir the whipped cream into the espresso and drink it like that.
In terms of difficulty level, there are 2 ways to make this drink. The easy way is with store-bought whipped cream, and the more time-consuming way is with homemade whipped cream. Either way, this recipe should be no problem, even for those new to crafting espressos. It only requires a few essential tools. The preparation time is also minimal; from start to finish, it shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.
Personally, I sometimes have this drink after dinner as a dessert alternative, since the touch of sweetness helps curb my cravings without being too heavy or filling. Plus, it sometimes feels like a fancy treat compared to just regular coffee, which is perfect we have guests over.
Equipment and Ingredients for an Espresso con Panna
Here’s everything you’ll need to create this addictive espresso with cream.
For the basic espresso con panna:
- Espresso machine – For making your espresso, or you can use any other espresso style method.
- 18 g of freshly roasted coffee beans – Fresh beans are always better than old ones, but wait at least 1 week after the roast date.
- Filtered water – to make the espresso.
- Whipped cream – Buying from a grocery store is convenient, but you can make better whipped cream yourself 🙂
If you’re making homemade whipped cream, you’ll need these ingredients as well:
- Electric whisk – You can whisk by hand as well, but that takes longer and is more effort than you probably want to put into a single drink.
- Large bowl
- 200 ml of whipping cream – Mixed with sour cream at a 4:1 ratio.
- 50 g of sour cream – Might be an unusual ingredient to add but trust me, it works wonders by adding a tangy flavor that balances out the bitterness.
- Sugar or sweetener (optional) – 1 tablespoon works for my family, but you can add more or less.
- Vanilla extract (optional)
- Piping Bag with a Wilton 1M Tip (optional) – For beautifully serving your freshly made whipped cream, otherwise you’ll just scoop it onto the espresso with a spoon.
Step-by-step Guide to Making an Espresso con Panna
1. Prepare your homemade whipped cream
If you’re going the extra mile, make whipped cream yourself instead of buying it from the store. I never understand why the store ones have so many unnecessary ingredients, when making it at home is so easy and much healthier. Here is how:
- Add your heavy cream and any sweeteners you are using into a large bowl, and whisk with a manual whisk or an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form. Remember to start slow and gradually increase the speed with an electric beater, otherwise it will splatter.
- At the soft peak stage, when peaks hold their shape but gently slump over, add 1 part sour cream for every 4 parts heavy cream.
- Gently whisk the sour cream into the mixture until fully incorporated, being careful not to over-whip and cause stiffness.
You’ll probably make way more whipped cream than what you actually need at the moment, so refrigerate the rest and use within a few days.
2. Prepare your piping bag
Fit your piping/pastry bag with a Wilton 1M tip. I use a cup or a glass to support the bag and make it stand upright to keep my hands free while spooning in the cream.
Once it’s ready, place it in the fridge while you prep the coffee.
3. Brew your double shot of espresso
Espresso con panna calls for a doppio, not a single espresso. The exact volume of it will be based on how strong you like it, but it should be between 50-60g of espresso.
As I mentioned, you can use an espresso machine, moka pot, or even an Aeropress to make espresso.
The grind size of your coffee beans will depend on the method you use, here is a visual guide size chart on this.
4. Add the cream
It’s time for the signature topping. Stick the tip into the side of your cup, and pipe the cream in a spiral pattern onto your espresso to get the pattern right.
What kind of cup should an Espresso con Panna be served in?
An Espresso con Panna is served in a small espresso cup called a demitasse. Click here for my 9 picks of the best demitasse cups this 2024.
When it comes to making the espresso con panna, there’s not much that can go wrong, but to be safe, here’s what I learned:
- It pairs perfectly with a range of sweet treats like cakes, cookies, and pastries. It’s also great for breakfast dishes like croissants or fruit bowls.
- Adding too much cream ends up overpowering the taste of the espresso itself. So remember: less is more. Stick to a light dollop, just enough to add that touch of sweetness without overpowering the drink. Going overboard also brings your calorie count higher.
As you can see, making espresso con panna is simple and quick. I urge you to try making the whipped cream yourself, it is much more satisfying than anything you’ll find at a grocery store.
So go ahead – try this delicious espresso drink today, and let me know how it turns out in the comments below.