Affogato Coffee (An Informative Read)

Italians are well-known for creating delectable coffee-based drinks and desserts, such as affogato. Do you want to learn what an affogato is?

Short Answer: An affogato is a hot and cold coffee-based beverage or dessert – hot because it contains an espresso shot and cold because there’s ice cream in it! It’s considered a specialty coffee.

Well, my fellow coffee lovers, let’s learn as we understand the nuances and intricacies of affogato and what makes it different from our rich, classic espresso. I will also share some easy recipes that I found during my research that you can try at home to enjoy this delicacy whenever you want.

Let’s start!

What is an Affogato?

An espresso shot being poured over vanilla ice cream.

An affogato is both a beverage and dessert. A single or double shot of espresso is poured over a scoop of ice cream or gelato served in a small glass or cup.

Affogato is a delectable treat that originated in Italy but has since spread to many other countries around the world. Its name is also derived from “affogare”, an Italian word that translates to “drowned” in English.

The name depicts what the drink is like – a scoop of ice cream “drowned” in an espresso shot.

You can eat your affogato with a spoon, or mix it all together and wait until the ice cream melts before drinking it.

Is an affogato a drink or a dessert?

A girl in lavender jacket deep in thought.

While some people enjoy affogato as a dessert, others say it’s a drink or beverage! It’s a topic of endless debate among coffee lovers.

I don’t mind if it’s supposed to be called a beverage, drink, or dessert as long as you and I get to enjoy a luscious scoop of ice cream combined with the robust coffee flavor in an espresso shot.

For me, it’s more appropriate to classify this delicacy as a dessert because of the scoop of ice cream. Anyway, I believe we all agree on one thing: how to eat it.

The usual method is to pour the espresso on top of the ice cream just before serving it and you have to dig in before it melts!

What’s the difference between an espresso and an affogato?

An espresso shot with its crema on top in a clear mug.

Although both of the drinks are coffee-based and share a similar origin (Italy), they aren’t the same at all.

An espresso is a strong and concentrated coffee that is made by forcing hot water through finely-ground coffee under high pressure. You can check out my post right here if you want to know more about espresso.

An affogato contains a scoop of ice cream poured over with espresso, and sometimes an add-on of caramel or chocolate sauce.

How much caffeine does have affogato have?

All of the caffeine content in a serving of affogato is from the espresso coffee poured on top of it. So, it holds roughly the same amount of caffeine that you would get in an espresso drink.

Though this will vary based on the kind of coffee and the number of shots you use, you can expect between 65 to 85 mg of caffeine in each serving of affogato.

How do you drink an affogato?

An affogato can be enjoyed by sipping it slowly or eating it with a spoon. It’s a great way to get your coffee, dessert, and after-dinner drink all in one.

To get the most out of your affogato, here are some tips you can try:

  1. Pour a shot or 2 of hot espresso on the top of your ice cream or vanilla-flavored gelato
  2. Grab your spoon and try a bit of that luscious ice cream as is or with the espresso
  3. Mix the ice cream and espresso or wait till the ice cream melts and blends with the espresso – it’s all up to you.

How to make an affogato?

There are several recipes I found during my affogato research and I’m sharing the best ones here that you can try.

Recipe 1 – Classic Version

This classic affogato features creamy vanilla ice cream topped with a double shot of hot espresso. It’s a simple 2-ingredient recipe with a decadent and rich flavor!

To make this creamy dessert you just need about 2 minutes and 2 ingredients:

  1. Prepare two shots of espresso
  2. Scoop out the vanilla ice cream into two serving cups.
  3. Pour the hot espresso over the ice cream (and liqueur if desired)
  4. Serve immediately

Recipe 2 – Decorated Version

The initial process of this recipe is the same as the previous one. After adding the espresso, decorate it with:

  • Biscotti or cantuccini
  • Caramel sauce or syrup
  • Chocolate syrup or sauce
  • Chantilly cream or regular whipped cream
  • Nuts (toasted, chopped, or candied)
  • Espresso beans covered in chocolate
  • Chocolate shavings

Recipe 3 – Homemade Version

To make this wondrous tasting affogato at home, you’ll also need 2 ingredients: high-quality coffee and ice cream.

  1. First, make the espresso. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you can make do with a Moka pot or filter coffee (just try to make it very concentrated). You can also use any coffee variant you want like instant coffee or capsules as long as it’s concentrated.
  2. Scoop out ice cream in your serving bowl.
  3. Pour the hot coffee over it and enjoy your affogato.

A few expert tips

  • Pour the hot espresso into the bowl of ice cream or gelato just before serving.
  • Freshly pulled espresso is preferred, but strong, double-strength hot coffee or even instant coffee can be used.
  • Typically, vanilla or fior di latte gelato is used to make an affogato, but you can use any ice cream or gelato of your choice.

You can also take a look at this video showing how to make affogato ice cream if you’re interested in another affogato recipe.

Can you get an affogato from Starbucks?

An affogato at Starbucks is a little different. Instead of pouring hot espresso over ice cream, a shot of espresso is poured directly on top of any other drink, typically a frappuccino.

Starbucks’ affogato-style coffee prices range from $6 to $8.50, with the Classic Affogato costing $6. The Cold Brew Malt costs around $8.50 and is made with a small-batch cold brew coffee, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and chocolate bitters.

Starbucks is also testing a less expensive affogato menu in its 100 Orange County, California locations. The product doesn’t contain the usual small-batch cold brew coffee and the most expensive one is at $6.40.

Does an affogato have any health benefits?

Since an affogato contains espresso, it technically contains the benefits of espresso too. The scoop of ice cream, on the other hand, adds calories and fat to the drink. The benefit of an affogato is that you get to have an energy and mood boost coming from the dopamine in coffee and sugar from the ice cream.

An espresso contains the many health benefits of coffee all packed in a bold, caffeine-rich shot. Its benefits include:

  • rich in antioxidants
  • contains nutrients like B2, B3 and B5
  • boosts energy, memory and mood
  • reduces the effect of liver damage
  • aids weight loss
  • zero calorie

If you’d like to read more on the many healthful benefits of coffee, you can check out my post right here.

A single serving of affogato (162 g) with one scoop of ice cream has the following nutritional content:

Nutritional ContentAmount per serving
Calories240
Total Fats15 g
Cholesterol152 mg
Sodium118 mg
Potassium166 mg
Carbohydrates22 g
Proteins4.2 g
Nutritional content of an affogato

To sum it all up

An affogato is a hot and cold coffee-based beverage or dessert, containing an espresso shot and ice cream. You can either eat it by savoring the ice cream and espresso slowly. Or if you’re a little bit impatient, you can just mix them all together and then drink it!

It’s a delectably simple and one-of-a-kind dessert that you can try or serve to your guests. It’s a great way to combine coffee, dessert, and an after-dinner drink.

Since an affogato contains espresso, it also has the healthy benefits of coffee but the ice cream adds fat and sugar to the drink. If you’re watching your calories, you can enjoy this guilt-free treat by using sugar-free ice cream.

The recipes I’ve included in this post range from the classic affogato to that with add-ons like chocolate bitters, caramel, and more to something you can make at home even without an espresso machine.

You can try them all, and who knows, the affogato might become your go-to dessert or beverage. Enjoy!

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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