Decades before Starbucks and imitators launched cold coffee and frappuccino beverages, Italians have been enjoying cool and refreshing granita al caffè, the great-granddaddy of cold coffee drinks.
A cross between a slushy and sorbet, granita al caffè originated in Sicily. It is made from lightly sweetened espresso that is frozen and then crushed, prepared like a sorbet. Enjoy it with a generous dollop of “panna”, whipped cream. In Italy, whipped cream is typically unsweetened; it is a nice counterpoint to the sweet espresso.
Two of Rome’s most famous establishments for Granita al Caffè are Sant’Eustachio and Tazza d’Oro.