Brewing Coffee Manually

Better coffee. One cup at a time.

What is an Affogato? (and How to make one at home)

Before I took a month break to work on my kitchen renovation project (wow that was a quick month) I wrote about the benefits of drinking coffee black and why you should give it a try. Ironically, I would now like to travel to the complete opposite side of the spectrum talk about the virtues of the Affogato; which is essentially adding lots of cream and sugar to your coffee (in the form of ice cream).

What is an Affogato?

Affogato is a simple dessert that can be easily assembled and served with a few minutes of prep (in the form of making some coffee). The two ingredients, ice cream and coffee, can be kept on hand and used to easily deploy the coffee communities (and arguably a much larger scope) most perfect dessert at a moment’s notice.

Affogato is the Italian word for drowned. The imagery being that a scoop of ice cream is drowned in coffee to make an unforgettable dessert drink. Traditionally an Affogato is made by pulling a double shot of espresso over a scoop of gelato but you will find there is a fair amount of deviations from this standard.

In an affogato, the sweet and creamy ice cream is cut by the acidity and bitterness of the coffee creating a perfect pairing. It is delicious (how could it not be) and quite simply, if you are not adding coffee to your ice cream, you are doing it wrong.

Tips for making an affogato at home

Let’s be honest, the recipe for the standard affogato is not rocket science. Take a scoop of ice cream or gelato, add coffee and enjoy. Here are a few pointers to get you started.

  • Use a coffee concentrate- If you have an espresso machine at home, then by all means go ahead and use espresso to make your affogato. Otherwise, I would recommend using a brewing style or recipe that results in a stronger (more concentrated) cup of coffee. Do not use instant coffee. My personal favorite is the Moka Pot. Moka pot coffee is strong and has espresso-like flavors. I have found my 6 cup Bialetti Moka Express to be the perfect size for two affogatos.
  • Experiment with your ice cream choices- A traditional affogato features plain Jane vanilla ice cream (my mother makes a particularly amazing vanilla ice cream that makes a great affogato) but you can get creative with your choice of ice cream flavor. My personal favorite is an affogato made with salted caramel ice cream. Experiment with different ice cream flavors, coffees and brewing methods until you find your sweet spot (the experimentation process with be long and grueling).
  • Don’t forget the decaf- Make sure you have some decaf on hand to accommodate those who would like to abstain from a strongly caffeinated dessert. A decaf affogato is just as delicious as a regular one and I will often make them with decaffeinated coffee (mostly so I can drink a caffeinated coffee later).

Decaf Salted Caramel Affogato: My Recipe (Affauxgato)

The affogato really is a pretty fool-proof dessert. It is simple and delicious, yet most people are not familiar with the practice of combining hot coffee and cold ice cream. I would stack the recipe below up against any of the five dollar sugary, desserty latte/mocha drinks served at the common coffee shop.

Ingredients
Recipe

For this recipe you will need a 6 cup Moka Pot. If you do not have a Moka Pot, try making 150 mL strong coffee concentrate with one of the brewing methods you have available. Try using a full immersion method (like French Press or Aeropress) for optimal extraction and use a 1:9 ratio or so.

  1. Brew a fresh batch of coffee using the 30 grams and the Moka Pot (you can find my Moka Pot tutorial here).
  2. While you are waiting for the coffee to brew, put each scoop of ice cream into a mug.
  3. Immediately when the coffee is done brewing, pour half (about 75-100mL) of the coffee on each scoop of ice cream.
  4. Serve with a spoon. This recipe is a little more coffee forward than some other affogato recipes and you will probably end up drinking the majority of this delicious beverage.
  5. Share and enjoy.

Do you have a favorite dessert where coffee is a major player? Have you ever made affogato? Discuss your recipes, opinions and questions below. Thanks!

2 Comments

  1. I can’t believe that I haven’t thought about putting ice cream in coffee before now. It’s obviously a pretty paradoxical way of preparing a hot drink, but the taste is something I’m excited to experience. Thanks for sharing your recipe! I’m super excited to show it to my wife.

    • Tobias,

      I’m glad I could bring the practice of combining ice cream and coffee to your attention. Let me know what you think!

      Thanks,
      John

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