Many years ago, I went to Europe with a good friend. We traveled through France, Italy and Greece and made memories I will never forget. But, as a couple of college graduates from the U.S. that had made it through finals weeks on sugary espresso drinks, we were pretty surprised to learn how Europeans drink their espresso (spoiler alert: straight up or with a tiny bit of cream and sugar).
While we did find one Starbucks and brutally overpaid for a coffee drink we were more accustomed to, the rest of the time we tried our best to adapt to the European way of drinking coffee and espresso. One way we found that was more palatable for us was to drink Espresso Con Panna, or espresso with whipped cream. Sure, the baristas abroad are not quite as generous with the whip as their American counterparts, but this dollop of fresh, sweetened whipped cream was delicious when mixed in with the espresso.
So, although it’s been almost a lifetime ago that I was abroad sipping Espresso Con Pannas, I’ve never forgotten the drink and decided to try a fun way to making my own at home.
Turns out, it’s extremely easy and quite fun to make.
Espresso Con Panna Recipe: Ingredients
You only need two ingredients to make an Espresso Con Panna.
- Espresso Shots: I used two espresso shots, or a double. I like the Chiaro double espresso pod best, but I’ve also used and like many other pods. I use my Nespresso Vertuoline machine to make espresso and it makes it so easy. If you’re looking for a great list of the best Nespresso pods, check out this post here. Use any espresso machine that you have. If you don’t have one, brew very strong coffee.
- Whipped Cream: You can make it fresh at home in just minutes using heavy whipping cream and a sweetener, such as powdered sugar, sugar or even honey. To learn how to make a honey whipped cream that’ll blow your mind, head to this post here. For dramatic effect, I used Rediwhip whipped cream, the best tasting store bought whipped cream, in my opinion. In the video I shared on Instagram, I certainly overdid it on the whipped cream for dramatic effect, but also, it was quite tasty, so I can’t say I regret it. In Europe, you get a dollop of whipped cream on top of your espresso. If you’re nice to the barista, you might get two.
That’s it, folks. Grab your two ingredients and let’s get started.
How To Make Espresso Con Panna:
I shared a fun video on my Instagram of how I made this. It’s so easy and looks cool if you pour the espresso over your whipped cream. Of course, a proper Espresso Con Panna is made with espresso first and whipped cream on top. The heat of the espresso begins to melt the whipped cream and creates a lovely sweetened coffee drink. But, I’m all about a little extra whip and having fun with my coffee, so here’s the video I shared on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
- To make it my way, start brewing your espresso shots.
- Then, add your favorite whipped cream to a small glass or a demitasse cup.
- Pour the espresso on top of the whipped cream.
- Stir it to combine or drink it with a spoon so you can get little bits of whip and espresso together.
To make it the correct way, brew your espresso and pour into a glass (or brew into a slightly larger glass than you’d use for espresso shots). Add a generous dollop of whipped cream to the top. Enjoy!
How To Make Whipped Cream:
Are you going to make your own? It’s super easy and you won’t need very much for an espresso con panna or two.
- Add 1/4 cold heavy whipping cream to a glass or small mixing bowl.
- Add 1 tsp to 1 tbsp sweetener of choice, such as powdered sugar, sugar or honey. I use 1 tbsp because I like it sweeter. Use an electric mixer or hand mixer to mix it.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract if you’d like a vanilla flavor.
- Mix until stiff peaks form.
- Add your sweet cream to your coffee!
Answering Your Questions About Espresso Con Panna:
There’s plenty of questions about this classic espresso drink. I’ve tried my best to answer them all below, but if you have a question I didn’t answer – let me know!
Do you stir espresso con panna?
You can if you like! Stirring it will add creaminess and sweetness throughout the espresso, so it’s more drinkable. If you don’t stir it, you can sip it so you get little bits of cream and espresso together or sip it using a spoon.
Is espresso con panna good?
It depends on how you like your coffee. This is not sweetened like most American coffee drinks. The espresso is strong and the flavor is noticeable. The cream does help soften it, so if you can’t drink espresso shots straight like me, you’ll like the addition of the cream. If you add more cream, like I did, it does make it creamier and sweeter. Espresso con panna is also a great dessert coffee that can be served after meals, because of the sweetness.
What does espresso con panna mean?
Espresso Con Panna is Italian for “espresso with cream”.
How many shots of espresso are in espresso con panna?
Typically, there is one or two shots of espresso in a traditional Espresso Con Panna drink. I added two using a double espresso Nespresso pod.
What is in a Starbucks con panna?
Just like the traditional drink, Starbucks will serve you straight espresso shots with a dollop of their delicious fresh sweetened whipped cream.
What is the difference between espresso con panna and con panna?
There is no difference, it is the same drink. One way is simply the shortcut way that you would say at a coffee house that knows what you’re ordering. If you tried to order “con panna” at a restaurant that didn’t serve espresso, they may not know what you are talking about. To play it safe, order an espresso con panna. To play it even safer, specify how many espresso shots you’d like. Caffe con panna is another way that this drink is sometimes ordered.
Can you add syrups to espresso con panna?
The classic drink does not have flavors or syrups, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add them! Starbucks would certainly be accommodating if you asked to add some vanilla syrup to your coffee. If you’re making it at home, you can add any flavors that you like in your coffee. A vanilla syrup or even a cinnamon syrup would work beautifully here. Caramel sauce would also give it a bit of a caramel macchiato flavor.
What’s the difference between a cappuccino and an espresso con panna?
The difference is a cappuccino has milk and milk foam and an espresso con panna is straight espresso shots and whipped cream.
How much caffeine is in an espresso con panna?
This would depend on how many espresso shots you include. One espresso shot usually has around 75mg of caffeine. You could do a double, triple or quad espresso with cream depending on how strong you’d like the espresso and how much caffeine you’d like.
Have you ever had an Espresso Con Panna? Would you try it?