Brewhaha: Live the Cream

A somewhat unconventional and indulgent way of drinking coffee is to use cream. Just like using water or steamed milk, as discussed in the previous two blog posts, there are many ways of making interesting coffees with cream. In this weeks edition of “Brewhaha,” we will be exploring these drinks and how they’re made. Though probably not the healthiest, these delicious beverages will be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.



First up, we have the straightforward espresso con panna. This drink is perfect for those who enjoy a simple coffee with a twist. All that is involved is a single or double shot of espresso, topped with a generous serving of whipped cream. This simple coffee predates the cappuccino and is served in a demitasse, which only has the capacity to hold about 3oz of liquid. The Vienna coffee is essentially the same thing. Cream is used as a replacement for milk and sugar. It is poured on top of the single or double shot of espresso, so that a layering effect is produced. An optional addition is a sprinkle of chocolate on top. A third variation of the espresso con panna is the demi crème. It is served in a larger cup, with much more cream, but they are essentially the same.

Chocolate is probably a bit too popular in our house and rarely lasts long. A sprinkle of cocoa powder on top of a cappuccino or latte is wonderful, but coffees with chocolate as a main component make for a delicious beverage. Perfect for a little bit of indulgence and a great combination of the unique and distinct flavours of both coffee and chocolate. The caffè mocha is probably the best known chocolate-y coffee here in Ireland and is readily available. Similar to the origins of the name for a Moka Pot, this coffee‘s name comes from the city of Mocha in Yemen, one of the earliest centers of coffee trading from the 15th-18th century. Mochas are made in the same way as a caffè latte: hot milk is added to espresso. It differs, in that chocolate flavoring, in the form of cocoa powder, is added. They also tend to be stronger than lattes, as two shots of espresso are generally used. The caffè mocha is often served with both a layer of frothed milk and whipped cream on top.

A coffee similar to the beloved mocha is the caffè bicerin. The word bicerin comes from the Piedmontese for small glass. Piedmontese is spoken in the Piedmont region of north-western Italy. This coffee originated in Turin during the 18th century and is said to have been invented in the Caffe al Bicerin, located in piazza della Consolata in Turin. This coffee is quite similar to the mocha but there are some distinct differences between them. It’s three main components are espresso, hot chocolate and whipped cream. Instead of mixing the chocolate and espresso together, as is the case with the mocha, the ingredients are allowed to sit separately, creating an interesting layered appearance. Of course the difference in size is significant, hence the name “small glass.” In some variations of this beverage both dark and white chocolate are used, adding extra layers.

A prominent beverage nowadays that requires the use of cream, is Starbucks’ trademarked Frappuccino. Though it’s not strictly an authentic Italian coffee, it cannot be denied that it’s very delicious. Its sweet and creamy taste makes it very popular among teens. You can also choose a cream base, meaning it contains no coffee at all! We will, of course, be focusing on the caffeinated version. According to the Starbucks website, it’s possible to make over 36,000 different versions of the Frappuccino. You can choose decaffeinated espresso, dairy-alternatives and a huge variety of flavourings, such as pistachio, peppermint and even chestnut praline. The Frappuccino is a kind of hybrid of several other coffee types. Its name comes from the fusion of the words frappe, stemming from the French word frappé meaning chilled or iced, and cappuccino. It is quite similar to the frappe, made popular in Boston, which is a milkshake with ice-cream. They are made by combining brewed coffee, ice and other ingredients, like milk, syrups, sugar and, in keeping with this week’s theme, a generous helping of whipped cream on top! They are served in plastic containers and drunk through a straw. They differ from a standard iced coffee because the ice, along with all the other ingredients, are blended rather than simply sitting on top of the ice.

As you can see, there are many ways through which you can incorporate cream into your favourite coffee. These types of beverages are definitely more luxurious than your standard cup of Joe, but are still simple enough to whip up at home. Some of these coffees are not 100% Italian made but are definitely worth a try and you might even spice up your post-dinner party treats by serving one to your guests!

Our la Brasilera coffees are the perfect place to start:

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