Instant Coffee Creates A Simplified Shaken Espresso Drink Without The Fuss

With all the attention on shaken coffee drinks, it's easy to assume that they're pro-level custom concoctions only attainable from trained baristas. While it's fun to get a perfectly crafted shaken espresso drink handed over the counter with buzzy aplomb, that indulgence isn't always practical. When pressed by time or budget restrictions, take heart: There's a simplified way to make your own at home. It doesn't even involve an espresso machine, and you'll have that icy-cold shaken espresso in hand within minutes. 

The secret ingredient for making fuss-free shaken espresso drinks is instant coffee. Before rolling your eyes and imagining the lackluster instant coffees of yesteryear, refresh your knowledge of what's available today. Rather than earlier mass-produced soluble coffee powders, today's freeze-dried and other production methods allow for higher quality and more diverse bean selections. You can even purchase dedicated espresso-style instant coffees or ones made with darker Italian roasts for extra flavor depth. 

The process for making shaken espresso beverages with instant coffee follows a similar path as true espresso-based ones, with a major exception for time and effort. Instead of grinding whole beans and using an espresso machine, you'll be creating your iced masterpiece with a stainless steel cocktail shaker and about a teaspoon of instant coffee. With some hot water, ice, and a bit of shaking, you'll have a tasty, simplified shaken espresso drink with very little effort. It's also possible to mimic a genuine Starbucks Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso. Here's how to take that icy plunge.

Making shaken espresso drinks in your own kitchen

Creating a basic shaken espresso drink with instant coffee starts by choosing a full-bodied instant coffee blend, preferably a dark roast, and placing at least a teaspoon of it into a cocktail shaker. If you love the flavor depth of a genuine espresso shot, use 2 teaspoons or even more. Add your preferred sweetener, pour in about 2 teaspoons of hot water, and stir slightly to dissolve and blend the coffee and sugar. Then, add ice and any desired flavorings, secure the lid, and shake well to froth it up a bit. Top it off with your choice of milk, and there you have it — a very quick, simple shaken espresso drink. But why stop at a basic version?

Starbucks, which released a new line of Brown Sugar Cinnamon products inspired by its popular shaken espresso for spring 2024, freely gives customers its recipe for making its wildly popular Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso. Now, you can easily adapt it using instant coffee. Just follow the basic procedure above, using 2 teaspoons of instant coffee and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. After stirring and dissolving the two in hot water equaling roughly 2 shots of espresso, add 6 ounces of unsweetened oat milk and 1.5 cups of ice. Shake well for about 20 seconds, pour it into a glass, and top it off with a dash of cinnamon. You'll want to admire this impressive creation, so choose a see-through glass and an earth-friendly sipping straw.