Photo by Maurizio “OttO” De Togni

Barbajada was a popular Milanese hot drink in the 19th century, made with whipped chocolate, milk and coffee in equal parts, along with any amount of sugar, and topped with cream. It was served cold in summer and hot in winter, with a slice of Panettone (Christmas sweet bread).This special recipe was created by Domenico Barbaia, a waiter in a café. This drink was so successful that Barbaia become a theatrical manager and owner of the Caffe’ dei Virtuosi (Virtuous Cafe’) in the luxury venue of Piazza della Scala.

This recipe serves 4 people


4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, sifted
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
16 oz. whole milk
4 shots of espresso coffee
whipped cream, for garnish


In a medium saucepan put the sifted powdered cocoa and sugar. Combine well the two ingredients then add slowly the cold milk and the coffee. Cook at medium heat, beating constantly with a whisk, or with a hand blender, until the surface will form a strong foam. Pour into cups and serve hot with fresh whipped cream on top.

2 thoughts on “Barbajada (Hot Chocolate & Coffee Drink)

  1. This sounds like something I have been wishing for, as I am not fully diabetic, but on a sugar restrictive diet. I do not like using artificial sweeteners, and rather opt for trying to make recipes with as little sugar as is possible to still come out with an acceptable recipe. This seems to me to have very little sugar compared to other recipes I have seen that is purely sugar laden. Thanks so much for posting this recipe.
    I have looked at many of your recipes and found many that I can reduce the sugar in, so that I can enjoy some of your wonderful recipes, love your blog!

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