Bicerin is a special coffee drink from Turin, Italy; the perfect indulgence for coffee lovers who enjoy the sweet flavors of chocolate combined with a strong kick of espresso.
Plus, it’s served in a clear glass, so you can Instagram the heck out of it and make all your friends jealous.
In this article, I’ll dive into the history and preparation of Bicerin coffee, and uncover a few secrets to making it at home.
What is Bicerin Coffee?
Bicerin coffee is a layered beverage made with three ingredients: espresso, hot chocolate, and milk foam. On the bottom, there is freshly brewed espresso, followed by a thick layer of hot chocolate milk, and on top, there is frothed milk foam.
It is a classic Italian coffee recipe that is believed to have originated in the 18th century from Caffe Al Bicerin in Turin, Italy.
There is good news here, the cafe is still there with all its glory and rich history. If you are in Turin and want to treat yourself classic Bicerin coffee you can go there.
The word “Bicerin” is derived from the Italian word “Bicchiere,” which means “glass.”
The name comes from the way the drink is served, in a glass with a narrow bottom and a wide top. The layers of espresso, hot chocolate, and whipped cream can be seen through the glass, creating a beautiful and inviting presentation.
Bicerin Coffee has a rich history and is still popular today, both in Italy and around the world.
The drink has even been mentioned in the literature, such as in the novel “The Leopard” by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, where it is described as a “perfect synthesis of the pleasures of the palate and of the spirit.”
How to Make Bicerin Coffee
You can easily make Bicerin Coffee at home. It requires only three ingredients that are easily available and a staple in households: Coffee beans, Chocolate, Milk, and whipped cream.
The Ingredients of Bicerin Coffee
- Coffee Beans: You can use any of your favorite coffee beans. I recommend using Fresh Medium-dark or dark roasted beans as they pair well with the sweetness of chocolate.
- Chocolate: A high-quality dark chocolate with a cacao content of at least 70% is a popular choice for Bicerin coffee. It has a rich, deep flavor that complements the coffee and milk foam.
- Milk: Foamed milk forms the top layer of Bicerin. Whole milk is a common choice as it has a rich, creamy texture that complements the other ingredients.
- Whipped Cream: Whipped cream is used for making hot chocolate. You can also use half and half milk instead of whipping cream.
The espresso is the base of the drink, providing a rich and bold flavor. The hot chocolate is made with melted chocolate and cream, adding a sweet and creamy texture to the drink. Finally, the whipped cream is the finishing touch, providing a light and airy topping.
Together, these three ingredients create a perfect harmony of flavors and textures in every sip of Bicerin Coffee.
Step 1: Making Hot Chocolate for Bicerin Coffee
Although you can use ready-made hot chocolate to prepare Bicerin Coffee, I always recommend preparing your own hot chocolate at home for the best flavors.
To prepare hot chocolate, Heat the mixture of Whipped cream and milk over medium heat in a small saucepan.
Add the chopped chocolate, Cornstarch, Vanilla Extract, Cocoa Powder, and a pinch of salt to the milk and constantly stir until the mixture becomes homogeneous.
- 2 oz Milk and Whipped Cream each
- 2 oz Chopped Dark Chocolate Bar
- 1 Teaspoon of Cornstarch, Vanilla Extract, and Cocoa Powder each
Step 2: Prepare Espresso Shot
Prepare a double shot of espresso using 14-18 grams of dark roasted beans in your espresso machine and pour it into a clear glass.
You can make strong Coffee shots using French Press or Moka Pot if you don’t have an Espresso machine.
Step 3: Whipped Cream or Milk Foam?
Some cafes serve Bicerin Coffee with whipped cream on the top while others serve it with thick milk foam on the top.
You can prepare Bicerin coffee with either cream or foamed milk, whatever you like, the traditional Cafe Al Bicerin recipe calls for foamed milk, though!
To prepare a milk foam, add the milk to the steaming pitcher and steam it with the steaming wand, as the milk heats up, move the wand in a circular motion to create a vortex, which will help to create a microfoam. Continue steaming until the milk reaches the desired temperature (around 140-160°F).
For preparing whipped cream, add sugar or Vanilla extract to the cream and beat it with a whisk until it becomes thick and velvety.
Step 4: Layer the Drink
Begin by pouring a freshly brewed espresso shot into a 10-12 ounce clear glass. Next, gently layer hot chocolate on top of the espresso, ensuring a smooth transition between the two liquids. Finally, carefully spoon in a generous layer of milk foam, creating a visually appealing and delectable beverage.
You can sprinkle cocoa powder, nutmeg, or cinnamon powder on top for a visually appealing experience
I have personally prepared Bicerin Coffee at home using this recipe many times, and I can attest to how easy and delicious it is. The key to a perfect Bicerin is quality ingredients and making sure each layer is poured gently and separately to create distinct layers of flavor and texture.
Also read: 30 different varieties of Espresso drinks
The Taste and Flavors of Bicerin
The taste of Bicerin Coffee can be described in three words: Rich, Chocolaty, and Creamy.
The layers of espresso, hot chocolate, and whipped cream blend together to create a heavenly taste. The flavors of Bicerin Coffee are well balanced, and none of the ingredients overpower the other.
The espresso adds a bold and strong flavor to the drink, while the hot chocolate and milk add a sweet and creamy taste.
In addition to the traditional recipe, there are also variations of Bicerin Coffee that you can try. Some people add a splash of liqueur, such as Amaretto or Baileys, to give it a Corretto twist.
Others use different types of chocolate, such as white chocolate or dark chocolate, to change the flavor of the drink. The possibilities are endless when it comes to Bicerin Coffee, and you can experiment with different ingredients to create your own version of this delicious drink.
If you prefer a sweeter drink, you can add more hot chocolate or whipped cream. If you want a stronger coffee flavor, you can add an extra shot of espresso.
To sum up, Bicerin Coffee is a classic Italian coffee recipe that has stood the test of time. Its simple yet delicious combination of espresso, hot chocolate, and whipped cream has made it a favorite among coffee lovers around the world.
Have you tried Bicerin Coffee before? Share your thoughts below
Related Espresso based drinks
Does Bicerin have alcohol in it?
No, traditionally Bicerin Coffee is prepared without any alcohol in it.
However, some cafes in Italy serve Alcoholic variations of Bicerin with a shot of liqueur-like Amaretto or Baileys.
Is Bicerin Coffee Healthy?
Bicerin Coffee is not considered a healthy drink due to its high calorie and sugar content.
A typical Bicerin drink contains around 300-400 calories, which is about the same as a small meal or snack.
However, it can be enjoyed in moderation as an indulgent treat.
- Espresso machine
- Coffee beans (Dark Roasted Preferred)
- Vanilla Syrup (Optional)
- Dark Chocolate
- Cocoa Powder
- Corn Starch (Optional)
- Prepare Hot Chocolate: Add Whipped Cream, Milk, and chopped milk into a saucepan and heat the mixture over medium heat. Also add a teaspoon of Cocoa Powder, Cornstarch, and Vanilla Syrup to the mixture.Keep mixing it with a ladle or whisk until it forms a thick and homogenous mixture.
- Prepare Espresso: Prepare a double shot of espresso using an espresso machine and pour it into a clear glass.
- Prepare Foamed milk: Prepare foamed milk in an automatic milk frother or a steaming pitcher.You can also froth milk manually in a mason jar or with a whisk. Just make sure to make a very thick consistency.
- Create Layers: Pour Hot Chocolate in the glass over a freshly brewed Espresso shot and add a layer of whipped cream or milk foam on top.Use a piping bag or spoon to create a smooth and even layer of whipped cream.
- Garnish with chocolate shavings: Sprinkle some chocolate shavings on top of the whipped cream layer. You can use a chocolate bar and a vegetable peeler to create thin shavings. Make sure the shavings are thin and delicate. They will add a nice crunch and texture to your Bicerin.
- Serve and enjoy: Serve your Bicerin coffee immediately and enjoy it while it's still hot and creamy.