What is Espresso Con Panna and How to Make it

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Johny Morrisson

Espresso Con Panna is an Italian coffee drink that translates to “espresso with cream.” As the name suggests, it is a shot of espresso topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

This coffee drink is essentially a variation of the traditional Espresso Macchiato, which is an espresso shot with a small amount of milk foam.

The addition of whipped cream to espresso likely originated in the Italian or Viennese coffee houses, where coffee was often served with a simple cream or whipped cream.

You can easily make it at home with just a few simple ingredients, whether you have an espresso machine or not.

Espresso Con Panna

How to Make Espresso Con Panna

You can easily prepare Espresso Con Panna at home with the following simple ingredients.


1. The Coffee Beans

Traditionally, a Dark roasted blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans is used for Espresso Con Panna as it pairs well with the sweetness of whipped cream.

2. Whipped Cream

Heavy whipping cream, which contains at least 30-40% milk fat, is the best option for creating the thick, fluffy whipped cream that sits at the top of a shot.

You can buy canned whipped creams from the market but I always recommend whipping your own cream at home.

Canned whipped cream often contains added ingredients, such as preservatives, artificial flavors, and stabilizers, so it’s not as natural as homemade whipped cream. Worse yet, it can have a nasty, metallic taste if it is heavily stabilized and not very fresh.


3. Sugar or Syrups

For a slightly sweeter flavor, you can add a small amount of Sugar or Vanilla Extract to the Whipped cream before topping your Espresso. However, it’s important not to add too much sugar, as the whipped cream should complement the espresso without overpowering it.

Espresso Con Panna Recipe


1. Prepare Espresso: First prepare a double shot of Espresso using 14-18 finely ground coffee beans.

If you don’t have an Espresso machine, you can prepare a strong shot of coffee using Moka Pot or French Press.

2. Prepare whipped Cream: Add the Vanilla Extract, Sugar, and Cream to a bowl. And beat the mixture with a whisk until it becomes thick and frothy.

The best cream to use for Espresso Con Panna is heavy cream, which has a higher fat content that allows it to hold its shape when whipped. You have to whip at least 4-5 oz cream as it is very difficult to whip just 1 oz cream. You can store extra cream in the refrigerator for future use.

3. Pour the shot of espresso into a shot glass. And spoon dollops of the whipped cream onto the espresso shot. You can use a spoon to shape the cream into a peak for an elegant presentation.

4. You can sprinkle cocoa powder over whipped cream for a luxurious presentation and feel.

Read about 30 different varieties of Espresso drink

Topping Ideas for Espresso Con Panna

While a classic Espresso con Panna is simply a shot of espresso topped with whipped cream, there are several ways to get creative and add some extra flavor and flair to this rich coffee drink.

Here are some ideas for topping your Espresso con Panna:

Cocoa Powder – Add a sprinkle of cocoa powder on top of the whipped cream for a rich chocolaty flavor.

Cinnamon – Dust some cinnamon on top of the whipped cream for a warm and comforting flavor.

Nutmeg – Sprinkle some freshly grated nutmeg on top of the whipped cream for a fragrant and slightly sweet flavor.

Hazelnuts – Crush some hazelnuts and sprinkle them on top of the whipped cream for a nutty and crunchy texture.

Topping Ideas for Espresso Con Panna

The taste of Espresso con Panna

Espresso Con Panna is a delicious and creamy coffee drink that has a strong espresso flavor with a rich and velvety texture. The whipped cream adds a subtle sweetness to the drink, which perfectly balances out the bitterness of the espresso. The drink has a smooth and silky mouthfeel that leaves a pleasant aftertaste.

In my experience, Espresso Con Panna is a delightful coffee beverage with espresso being the star of the show. I avoid Sugars but love adding Vanilla extract to whipped cream as it gives a distinct sweeter taste.

How to drink Espresso Con Panna?

Traditionally, espresso con panna is served with the whipped cream gently resting on top of the espresso. You would drink the first few sips with the cream on top, allowing it to slowly melt into the coffee.

Another way is to use a spoon to gently fold and stir the whipped cream into the espresso before drinking. This mixes the flavors together and gives you a creamy espresso in each sip instead of just at the end.

Don’t have an Espresso machine? Make Coffee Con Panna

If you don’t have an Espresso machine, you can still enjoy this deliciously creamy coffee drink by making Coffee Con Panna. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Brew a cup of strong coffee using your preferred brewing method.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the whipping cream until it becomes thick and frothy.
  3. Add sugar to the whipped cream if you prefer a sweeter taste.
  4. Pour the brewed coffee into a mug.
  5. Spoon a dollop of the whipped cream onto the coffee.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy your homemade Coffee Con Panna.

One of my favorite brewing methods is using a French press, which creates a strong and full-bodied coffee that pairs perfectly with the creamy topping.

Another option is using a stove-top Moka pot to make espresso-style coffee without an Espresso machine. The key is to use a dark roast coffee that can stand up to the richness of the whipped cream.

Coffee Con Panna

Espresso Con Panna At Starbucks

At Starbucks, the Espresso Con Panna experience gets a personalized touch with customizable options to suit your taste buds.

For the espresso base, you can order any hot or iced espresso drink. Then, ask for whipped cream to be added on top. Starbucks offers both heavy whipping cream and a lighter whipped cream topping to choose from.

You can also customize your espresso con panna further with syrups and toppings mixed into the whipped cream:

  • Caramel, mocha, or other flavored syrups swirled into the whipped cream add extra sweetness and flavor.
  • Cinnamon powder or cocoa powder sprinkled on top provides a warm spice or chocolate accent.
Espresso Con Panna At Starbucks

Final Thoughts

And there you have it – everything you need to know to make espresso con panna at home like a pro!

Now that you’ve got the perfect creamy dollop of whipped cream to top your espresso, your after-dinner routine just got a whole lot tastier.

Let me know in the comments if you give this drink a try, and how your homemade espresso con panna compares to your favorite cafe’s version.

Related Espresso based drinks


What is the difference between Affogato Coffee and espresso con panna?

Affogato and Espresso con Panna are similar coffee-based desserts.
However there is a difference, Affogato is an Italian dessert that typically consists of a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream that is “drowned” in a shot of hot espresso.

How many Calories are in a serving of Espresso Con Panna?

A typical serving of Espresso Con Panna has around 50 calories.
The number of calories in a serving of Espresso con Panna can vary depending on the amount and type of Cream used or if you add sugar or creamers.
Espresso has almost zero calories, and 1 tbsp (15g) of heavy cream has around 50 calories.

Espresso Con Panna Recipe

In this recipe, I'll show you how to Whip up a perfect cup of Espresso Con Panna.
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • Espresso machine
  • Whisk
  • Bowl


  • 1 Espresso Shot
  • 2 tbsp Whipped Cream
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract


  • Start with brewing a shot of espresso using your espresso machine.
  • Add the Vanilla Extract, Sugar, and Cream in a bowl. And whisk the mixture until it becomes thick and frothy.
  • Pour the shot of espresso into a shot glass and Garnish with two tablespoons of whipped cream.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy your delicious creamy Espresso Con Panna.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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