Espresso Affogato (Gelato Ice Cream and Coffee, A Perfect Pair)

by Scott Deans | Last Updated: November 16, 2020

It might sound like a sweet treat of dreams to some, or a strange concoction to others. The Affogato is an Italian classic, loved worldwide for both it’s simplicity and deliciousness alike.

The classic Affogato is simply a combination of espresso coffee and gelato ice cream. This pair are wonderful combination. If you have not already tried an affogato then you are missing out!

The first time I had an affogato, I tried to dunk the scoop of gelato into the espresso shot and not the other way around. That was one unnecessary mess, and I certainly got some strange looks.

Not a clue why I didn’t pour the espresso over the gelato in that massive bowl. One of my finer moments.

Espresso Affogato (Gelato Ice Cream and Coffee, A Perfect Pair)

What is an Affogato?

The name even sounds distinctly Italian. Naturally, it’s made with two things that couldn’t be more typically Italian; espresso and gelato.

Of course, Italy figured out how to make two delicious foods even better.

If you type “affogato” into Google Translate, it says that it means “drowned”. That certainly makes sense; the gelato is without a doubt drowning in coffee.

It is such a simple combination, but it amounts to so much more than the sum of its parts. A simple scoop of gelato ice cream in a shot of espresso, and you’re in for something special.

Just vanilla gelato and coffee combine to make the most amazing chocolatey, nutty, caramelly masterpiece. If you haven’t noticed, I really like an affogato.

How do you make an Affogato?

While the humble affogato can seem like a practiced barista’s precious creation, there is nothing difficult about making yourself an amazing affogato in the comfort of your own home.

While it’s often an espresso that’s lapped over that frosty friend, it doesnt have to be. You can brew your coffee any way you like. As long as that ice cream is downing in coffee, you’ve got yourself an affogato.

espresso shots

Espresso Affogato

Let’s start with the original and classic.

To make an espresso Affogato, you need an espresso machine. It’s that thick, syrupy, espresso richness that pairs so well with the thick creaminess of the gelato.

While gelato is the standard, you can use regular ice cream. Still, if you’re looking for the best affogato you can make, I recommend finding the best quality gelato you can get your hands on.

For best results, plan ahead a little. Prepare a scoop of gelato in a bowl, and pop it in your freezer for at least half an hour so that both the bowl and ice cream are as cold as possible. They are going to be meeting hot coffee after all.

When you just can’t take waiting any more, brew up an espresso with the freshest coffee beans you can get your hands on.

Take that frosty bowl out of the freezer and lavish it with espresso.

Serving your home specialty affogato to guests? Serve the espresso and gelato separately and let them do the drowning themselves. It’s fun and keeps it from melting too soon.

Affogato Variations

Affogato doesn’t have to be the plain old original of vanilla gelato and espresso coffee. It can be any ice cream with any kind of coffee!

Cold Brew Affogato

Do you think affogato should stay frosty for as long as possible?

Let me introduce you to the chilled out cold brew affogato. It’s the perfect dessert treat, especially for hot afternoons.

This one takes a fair bit of forward planning. Cold-brew coffee usually needs to be prepared the day before.

Simply douse your affogato with some strong cold brew and savor that satisfaction.

Affogato Made With Other Coffee Brewing Methods

You don’t need an espresso machine to make an amazing affogato at home. You can use your favorite home-brewing method.

Whether you opt for a moka pot, drip machine, French press, pour over, AeroPress, or even Turkish pot, you name it; you can make an affogato with it. I promise it’ll turn out brilliant.

Recommended Combinations and Toppings

Chocolate

I am a coffee-lover first, and a chocoholic second.

Try garnishing your affogato with little chocolate flakes. Just take a regular lump of chocolate and shave little bits off with a potato peeler. The flakes melt in and pair wonderfully with the chocolatey flavors that naturally develop in an affogato.

I like to use 60% or 70% dark chocolate, but it that’s too rich for you then milk chocolate is always a winner. For a completely different chocolate experience, white chocolate flakes turns out great too.

Caramel

Alright. Yes. I just have a sweet tooth. A drizzle of caramel goes perfectly on your affogato.

If the combination of coffee and gelato wasn’t enough already, the caramel turns it into a sweet sticky mess that will leave you wired to the moon on both sugar and caffeine alike.

Nuts

Really, there’s no bad choice here. My only particular recommendation is, which ever nuts you choose to garnish over your affogato, make sure you crush them up into little bits. That’ll make sure you get a nutty chunk in every spoonful.

Pecans are my favorite for an affogato garnish, but a mix of nuts is even better.

Peanut Butter

The only topping that can rival both nuts and caramel at the same time is of course, peanut butter.

While it’s amazing in lumps, I like to quickly heat it up in the microwave and drizzle it over like caramel.

Now it’s not just peanut butter that gets stuck to the roof of your mouth, but coffee too.

Maltesers

Yes. Maltesers.

Of all of the particular chocolatey treats you could put over an affogato, I wholly recommend sprinkling some smashed up maltesers over your coffee and gelato.

Match made in heaven.

Top Affogato Tips

Anyone can make an affogato. And anyone can make an amazing affogato with these top affogato tips.

Final Thoughts

If you have not tried an affogato, then you are certainly missing out.

Even if you don’t feel like whipping one up yourself, you wouldn’t be going wrong to try one at your favorite coffee shop.

Related Reading

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Can you guess what keeps me up at night? You guessed it! Copious amounts of coffee beans. What? I brew them first.