Espresso Tonic – Everything You Need To Know

Espresso Tonic is a drink of Norwegian and Swedish origin. It’s a very simple beverage composed of two main ingredients, tonic water and espresso–a reflection of true Scandinavian minimalism.

Who wouldn’t want a refreshing twist on your usual iced coffee, right? How about the coffee lovers’ take on a mocktail–combining the dark, intense qualities of espresso coffee and the fun, effervescent vibe of tonic water?

In this article, we are going to talk about this creative coffee innovation–the espresso tonic. Let’s learn all about the basics, its history, and even some tips on how to handcraft this beverage at home!

What Is Espresso Tonic?

Espresso tonic is a delicious and refreshing innovation on iced coffee. This coffee drink combines the straightforward intensity of the espresso and the herbal-floral essence of tonic water. Typically contained in a tall glass of ice, the coffee is as visually appealing as it tastes, with the espresso poured on top of the bubbling tonic water, and gracefully creating this trickling effect as it incorporates.

What Is An Espresso Tonic Made Of?

The espresso tonic has two main ingredients–tonic water and espresso. However, this refreshing coffee beverage can go in different versions. In fact, some coffee drinkers love to be creative when making this simple drink and would include ingredients such as sugar syrup and a lemon or lime wheel for garnish. Other unique innovations include the addition of alcohol or flavored ice.

What kind of beans are used for a good espresso tonic?

Choosing single-origin coffee grounds from the Latin American region is a great way to start if you ever decide to make an espresso tonic yourself. Colombian coffee beans will let their sweet and fruity undertones shine through when combined with tonic water. Plus, the combination may also produce this cherry cola flavor. Using Brazilian coffee grounds is also a great alternative to bring out some nutty and chocolatey notes.

The History Of Espresso Tonic

History Of Espresso Tonic

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The espresso tonic is a result of coffee passion and creativity. It’s among the other thousand coffee drink innovations created all around the world. While coffee drinkers can easily tell why this beverage is beloved with the flavors alone, you may still want to know how the story of espresso tonic began in the first place. Let’s learn more about the person behind this amazing coffee invention.

Who invented the espresso tonic?

Swedish baristas Charles Nystrand and Anne Lunell are actually the two names behind the discovery of espresso tonic. While at a staff party, the duo first created the popular coffee drink with some leftover tonic, a little sugar syrup, and shots of espresso. Since then, this simple discovery has become a craze in Scandinavian cafes and, soon enough, the entire world.

Where is the espresso tonic from?

Nystrand and Lunell were actually in Oslo, Norway, when they handcrafted the first-ever espresso tonic in 2007. However, they first introduced it to the rest of the coffee industry when they opened their very own coffee shop–the Koppi Roasters Cafe in Helsingborg, Sweden. And for the next couple of years, the “Kaffe and Tonic” became one of their most popular cold drink.

How Much Caffeine Is In An Espresso Tonic?

Just like other espresso-based beverages, the caffeine content of espresso tonic heavily depends on how much espresso you put in your recipe. In general, one shot of espresso has about 65 grams of caffeine–and since the usual recipe for a regular-sized espresso tonic has two espresso shots, the amount of caffeine will be around 130 mg.

How Many Calories Are In An Espresso Tonic?

Espresso tonic is a known low-calorie drink and most calories come from the tonic water and sugar added to the recipe. Without the sweeteners, a regular-sized espresso tonic will easily be around 50 calories only.

How To Make Espresso Tonic?

The espresso tonic originally only comprises espresso, and tonic water. However, several coffee shops continually offer the drink in endless variations–with different sweeteners, garnish, and even liquor. And while the espresso is the usual up-front component in the coffee flavor of most drinks, the tonic water is able to counter it providing just the perfect balance.

There is no standard recipe for the proportions for the espresso and tonic water. However, most coffee shops use the optimum ratio of 1:3–one part espresso to three parts tonic water. Here is a thorough guide on how to make a delicious espresso tonic.

Queue the espresso shots.

Using the standard recipe, begin brewing two shots of espresso on your espresso machine.

Fill your vessel with ice.

Scoop out some ice cubes and fill your glass.

Add some sweetener.

If you prefer a sweeter beverage, you can add a little sugar syrup, honey, or agave.

Let the coffee cool down.

Once the espresso is ready, let it cool down for about a minute.

It is also a nice practice to transfer the espresso in a metal vessel and submerge it halfway in a shallow container filled with ice-cold water. This will quicken the cooling down of the espresso.

Pour the tonic water into the glass.

Pour tonic water into your glass with ice leaving ample space for the espresso.

Top the beverage with the espresso.

Slowly pour two shots of espresso on top of the drink. Ensuring a slow pouring will prevent the tonic water from over-fizzing.

Garnish the beverage.

As an option, you can garnish the coffee beverage with a lime or lemon wheel and some mint leaves.

Serve and enjoy.

Serve and consume the espresso tonic immediately.

Tips To Make The Best Espresso Tonic

How to Make The Best Espresso Tonic

Here are some tips to remember to make a perfect espresso tonic:

  • Make sure to add the tonic water first into the glass of ice before pouring the espresso to avoid excess fizzing.
  • Cool down the espresso before adding it to your beverage.
  • Use liquid sweeteners, such as simple syrup or honey, if you want to sweeten your espresso tonic. Nobody likes tasting granules of sugar from their cups.
  • Once opened, make sure to seal the tonic water tightly to avoid losing its fizz. Then, you can store it in the fridge for up to two days.
  • Only create as much as you can drink. Also, consume your espresso tonic immediately after serving, as the tonic water will lose its carbonation very quickly and may compromise the taste of the beverage.

How To Make Espresso Tonic Without Foam?

If you want less or no foam in your espresso tonic, all you have to do is make sure the shot of espresso is the last thing you put. Start with a glass of ice and then pour your tonic water leaving a little space for the espresso. When the espresso is ready, pour it slowly into the glass, creating some kind of ombre effect. Pouring it in a slower manner prevents the drink from bubbling too much.

Espresso Tonic

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Prep Time: 5 minutes


  • Measuring cup
  • serving vessel


  • 6 fl oz tonic water
  • 2 fl oz cold brew concentrate
  • simple syrup (optional)
  • lemon wheel or orange bitters (optional)


  • Brew your cold brew using the standard ingredients and procedure. Do this one night before.
  • Fill your serving glass with some ice cubes.
  • Pump some simple syrup into the glass.
  • Pour the tonic water into the glass about three-fourths full.
  • Measure 2 fl oz of cold brew concentrate.
  • Slowly pour the cold brew into the drink.
  • Garnish the beverage with a lemon wheel or orange bitters.
  • Serve and enjoy your delicious homemade espresso (cold brew) tonic.

What Is The Difference Between Tonic And Club Soda?

Tonic water and club soda are both kinds of carbonated water that are used to make drinks fizzy or bubbly. Club soda is simply water injected with carbon dioxide and infused with some minerals. While tonic water similarly underwent the same process, it also contains a special component called quinine that gives the liquid a bitter taste, which is then followed by the addition of a little sugar for balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is espresso tonic so good?

The combination of espresso and tonic results in a refreshing and citrusy drink. It’s a delicious iced coffee treat for the hot season.

Are espresso and tonic a thing?

We know that innovations in coffee have continually become more and more creative in the past few years. Espresso and tonic is a popular example and has ever since been a favorite by many coffee lovers.

What are some other names for espresso tonic?

The simple coffee recipe is also known as “Coffee Tonic” or “Kaffe and Tonic” in other coffee shops.

What flavor is espresso tonic?

The sweet nuances of quinine counter the intense, dark flavor of the espresso–and of course, the soft fizz that makes everything lighter!


inspiration or by accident. Some are purely a product of curiosity and boredom. However, we can say the most unique ones are derived from true creativity–just like how the Swiss baristas first created the espresso tonic.

If you ever want to try something with coffee and bring the hidden barista out of you, just go for it. Pour some of that leftover tonic (or whatever you have) from last night’s party, and top it with a shot of espresso. Who knows? It could be the next big thing!