As someone with Italian heritage, I take things like espresso very seriously. But…one thing my Italian grandmother, Bobo, taught me is that it’s important to have fun and not take yourself too seriously. This pumpkin shaken espresso recipe is a seriously good espresso-based beverage, but it’s also very fun. The best of both worlds! 😉
This recipe is inspired by my iced double shot shaken espresso recipe and my pumpkin simple syrup recipe. When you add the two recipes together, you get a fun, festive, caffeine-packed beverage that’s perfect for getting into the spirit of the fall season!Jump to Recipe
💕 why you'll love this pumpkin shaken espresso recipe
🎃 seasonal flavors. This iced espresso beverage has the bold, strong taste of espresso with a festive autumn twist of pumpkin and spice! If you are a fan of pumpkin spice lattes, you're gonna love this!
🧊 icy cool. It seems like every year, pumpkin spice season starts earlier and earlier. This iced espresso beverage is perfect for enjoying when you’re craving fall flavors but the weather reminds you that it's still summer.
⏱️ quick & easy. This recipe is ready to enjoy in a matter of minutes, and the longest part is making the espresso!
- espresso - you will need to make a double shot of espresso for this recipe, but you don’t need to have a fancy espresso maker. Check out the equipment section of this post for recommendations of espresso makers at all price points.
- pumpkin simple syrup - This is the secret weapon of this iced coffee beverage. 🤫 This pumpkin simple syrup is packed with pumpkin and spice, so it’s perfect for giving this drink a big dose of fall flavor.
- milk- Starbucks uses 2% milk in their standard recipe, but you can use whatever kind of milk you prefer. You can also either shake the milk with the espresso and simple syrup or turn it into a cold foam to layer on top.
- ice - you’ll need a full cup of ice, to the brim! Because the espresso will be a little warm, you can expect some ice to melt. You will also need ice in a cocktail shaker. Use larger ice cubes so that the espresso doesn’t get watered down while you’re shaking it. If you want to make sure your coffee doesn’t get too diluted, use these espresso ice cubes to keep your iced espresso beverages extra strong!
Step 1: Brew a double espresso according to your espresso machine’s manufacturer’s instructions. Allow it to cool slightly while you prepare the other ingredients.
Step 2: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
Step 3: Slowly pour in the espresso to the cocktail shaker.
Step 4: Add 1 ounce of pumpkin simple syrup to the cocktail shaker. Check the chart below for the amounts that Starbucks uses in each size.
Step 5: Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously for 30-60 seconds, then pour the contents into your preferred glass. I like to fill the glass I’m using halfway with ice so there’s enough to fill the glass.
Step 6: Top with 2 ounces of the milk of your choice, adding more ice if needed. Serve immediately.
Hint: Use larger ice cubes if you are able to. Smaller ice like pebble ice will dilute faster when shaking the drink, watering your beverage down more.
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🍽️ serving tips
Breakfast or brunch
- Serve your pumpkin shaken espressos for breakfast or brunch!
- This beverage pairs great with seasonal pumpkin pancakes or waffles!
DIY Coffee Bar
- Set up a coffee bar to allow guests to customize their shaken espresso beverages!
- Make pumpkin simple syrup and a classic brown sugar simple syrup to allow guests to choose their favorite flavoring!
- Garnish with a dusting of pumpkin pie spice for a special touch!
- Use larger ice cubes to keep the drinks from getting diluted.
- Throw in a few espresso ice cubes to keep your beverages cool and caffeinated.
- Make special ice spheres, cubes, or shapes for an extra-festive twist.
ℹ️ troubleshooting tips
- too bitter - Pouring piping hot espresso over ice can lead it to tasting bitter, so make sure to allow your espresso to cool before pouring it into the cocktail shaker. Additionally, you may need to troubleshoot how you are brewing your espresso. There are several contributing factors, like the coffee being ground too finely, or the water flowing through too quickly. The good news is, once you figure out how to use your machine, it’s smooth sailing from there! ⛵️
- too sweet - add milk, water, or more espresso to balance out a drink that is a bit too sweet.
- not sweet enough - beverages made in coffee houses tend to have a lot of sugar. So, if you are wanting a sweeter drink, add more pumpkin syrup to your beverage!
⚖️ Scaling Tips
- This recipe can easily be scaled up if you need a bigger caffeine fix! Check out the standard barista sizes below for more information.
🔆 top tip
The frothiness of this drink is created from shaking the espresso, not from foaming the milk like with a latte! Because of this, you can use whatever milk you like, dairy or non-dairy.
Missing an ingredient? No problem. Check out these tried-and-true substitutions, or comment below with your question. I’m here to help you troubleshoot!
- milk - while Starbucks uses 2% milk to make this beverage, you can use whole milk, skim milk, or the nondairy milk of your choice.
- espresso ice cubes - use espresso ice cubes if you don’t want your drink watered down by regular ice.
- cold brew - you can use cold brew if you don’t have espresso on hand! You can also brew a double strength coffee in your drip coffee maker or french press.
Feeling like a rebel?! 😈 Feel free to stray from the recipe card using these variations, or leave me a comment with your own!
- mix all ingredients at once - while this recipe calls for you to shake the espresso and syrup over ice, then layer in the milk, you can also shake all the ingredients at once if you like! The result is an ultra creamy coffee beverage!
- oat milk - use oat milk to make a non dairy version of this coffee beverage!
- boozy - add in a shot of Khalua or vanilla vodka for a spiked shaken espresso.
🧰 equipment needed
- espresso maker - check out the information below for all the ways you can make espresso at home, ranging from $25 to $1,000+, depending on your budget!
- beverage glass of choice - Use whatever glasses you have on hand, I love using these Picardie glasses from Duralex! In the photos, I used this bubble glass from Amazon.
- cocktail shaker - you'll need a cocktail shaker to make this beverage. I love using this one from Elevated Craft. But if you don't have a cocktail shaker, you can use a mason jar or other container with a lid!
- straw - while this is optional, I enjoy drinking my iced coffees with a straw. My favorite straws are made by GIR. They are silicone so they are reusable, dishwasher safe, and they don’t stain.
🛠️ espresso tools
Espresso is different than coffee because it is highly concentrated and has a foam, or crema, on top. This gives espresso it’s smooth, almost velvety mouthfeel.
- espresso machine - espresso machines are the best way to get a coffeehouse-quality espresso at home. While some machines can top out at over $5,000 (seriously 😳), you can get a great at-home machine for under $1,000. I have and love the Breville Barista Pro espresso machine. It goes on sale about two or three times a year and is totally worth the indulgence if you have coffee every day. As an alternative, I have several friends who have and love their Nespresso machines!
- moka pot - Bialetti is the preferred brand straight from Italy, and they have pots that are traditional aluminum and stainless steel. While the stainless steel version is not made in Italy, I prefer it because I can use it on my induction cooktop. Also, stainless steel is non-reactive, so you don’t need to worry about any metallic flavors developing in my coffee or the metal oxidizing in any way!
🛠️ alternative tools
You can still enjoy this double shot iced shaken espresso using these variations on equipment! Your coffee may not foam as much when shaken, but the flavor will be similar.
- coffee pot - while it’s not traditional (you won’t get the crema top that espresso has from brewing this way) brewing a double or triple strength coffee in your standard drip coffee maker will suffice for this recipe! If you have a coffee maker that has a “concentrate” button on it, use that when brewing espresso-style coffee in your drip machine.
- french press - a french press is another easy and cost-effective way to brew espresso strength coffee at home. Like with the standard drip coffee maker, you don’t get the crema top of an espresso. But, the strength of the coffee is similar! You can push the plunger halfway down, then lift it back up to create a sort of vacuum, then push it down all the way. This mimics the crema of an espresso to a degree.
This beverage is best enjoyed immediately after making, but if you have to store it you can store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
A shaken espresso has equal parts espresso and milk (two ounces each) while a latte usually has a 1:4 ratio of espresso to milk. That means for every one ounce of espresso, or every shot, there are four ounces of milk.
A pumpkin shaken espresso contains two ounces of espresso, two ounces of milk, and one-half to one ounce of pumpkin simple syrup for a 16 ounce serving. This homemade version is much less sweet than the store-bought version at Starbucks!
Dairy milk froths the best. The amount of foam you get depends on the protein and fat content of the milk you use. At Starbucks, they use 2% milk standard, but you can use whole milk or nonfat milk. You can also use non-dairy milk, but certain ones (like almond milk) don't foam as well.
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Pumpkin Shaken Espresso
- 2 ounces espresso slightly cooled, one double shot
- 2 ounces milk whole milk, 2%, or non-dairy milk of choice
- 1 ounce pumpkin simple syrup
- Prepare a double shot of espresso according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the shot to cool for a few minutes.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Use large ice for best results.
- Slowly pour the espresso over the ice.
- Pour one ounce of pumpkin simple syrup over the ice. Use more syrup if you want a sweeter beverage.
- Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Fill your preferred glass halfway with ice.
- Pour the shaken espresso and syrup mix over the ice.
- Top with preferred milk and serve immediately.
🧯food safety & other information
Food safety is an important ingredient in any recipe for success! Here are some tips to keep you safe in the kitchen!
- While we often think more is better, too much caffeine in a day can pose a health risk. The recommended daily value of caffeine is 400 mg for healthy adults. You can read more about daily caffeine intake recommendations here.
- Espresso can reach temperatures exceeding 200ºF. Use caution when handling hot liquids.