The Coffee Wiki

Bicerin: espresso, chocolate, milk

Bicerin is a traditional warm coffee concoction native to Turin, Italy, made of espresso, drinking chocolate and whole milk served layered in a small rounded glass. The word bicerin is Piedmontese for “small glass”. The beverage has been known since the 18th-century and was famously praised by Alexandre Dumas in 1852. It is believed to be based on the 17th-century drink "Bavareisa": the key distinction being that in a bicerin the three components are carefully layered in the glass rather than being mixed together.

The Caffè Al Bicerin has been serving the drink in Torino's Piazza della Consolata since the 18th century, and some authorities believe that it was invented there. Others believe that it originated around 1704 in the Caffè Fiorio which still stands on what is now Via Po.

In 2001 bicerin was recognized as a “traditional Piedmontese product” in the official bulletin of the Piedmont region.


  • Hot Chocolate (thick and creamy)
  • Espresso Coffee, sweetened to taste
  • Hot milk whipped to a creamy froth
  • A thick-sided glass, ideally stemmed, whose volume is about a cup (per person)


Begin by filling the glass 1/4 full with espresso. Follow the espresso with hot chocolate, again a quarter, and finish up with hot frothy milk (if you have an espresso machine, heat it with the steam jet) -- also a quarter, making for a glass about 3/4 full. You will have a thick dark layer surmounted by a creamy layer (don't stir), and you shouldn't be at all surprised if people clamor for more.