The Blend

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Blog

an affogato (a bowl of ice cream with espresso poured on top) on a kitchen counter, garnished with a sprig of mint

How to Make Affogato Coffee Dessert


Today there are hundreds of frozen, blended, or iced coffee drinks that include syrups, sugars, and added flavors to deliver what is essentially a blend of creamy coffee goodness for a dessert-style drink. All of these drinks have their origins in the Italian coffee dessert affogato, and in just a few minutes you’ll be an affogato expert who can treat family or guests alike to this magical fusion of gelato and espresso.


What Is Affogato?


The name “affogato” comes from the Italian word “affogare,” which is the Italian verb for “to drown.” It’s an appropriate name, as affogato is just gelato or ice cream “drowned” in rich, warm espresso. 


Affogatos have been popular in Italy for many years, and are served in cafes after lunch and dinner. Using instant coffee for affogato would be considered sacrilege — only the highest-quality beans should be used for this delightful dessert. 


Affogato Recipe


Affogato is a basic dessert that does not require many materials or steps, other than brewing your favorite shot of espresso and buying gelato or ice cream from the supermarket. The basic ingredients, per serving:

  • 1 shot of espresso or three tablespoons of strong coffee

  • 2 small scoops of vanilla gelato or ice cream

  • Shaved almonds, chocolate curls, or mint for garnish

  • Stemmed dessert glasses for that fancy touch


How to Make Affogato


  • To prolong the lifespan of your affogato before the gelato or ice cream melts, we recommend you chill the dessert glasses in the freezer before serving. Cold glasses are a staple of classy chilled treats.

  • Brew your espresso or coffee directly before serving. If you don’t have an espresso machine at home, never fear — our Lieto Single Serve Machine makes a great espresso. Use our signature blend of Espresso Roast Coffee to yield an assertive and expressive coffee at home that is a perfect fit for your affogato.

  • As a follow-up, the gelato or ice cream you use should be extremely cold. Remove from the freezer and scoop into dessert glasses only when you’re ready to serve your affogato.

  • Once the espresso or coffee is ready you have two options for serving. Add two scoops of gelato or ice cream into each glass for guests, and then serve the espresso on the side for them to pour at their leisure. Alternatively, pour one shot of espresso or three tablespoons of brewed coffee over the gelato or ice cream and serve immediately.

  • Sprinkle sliced almonds or chocolate curls atop your concoction to garnish. For an alcoholic dessert add a shot of your favorite coffee liqueur.

Do You Eat or Drink Affogato?


Affogato is intended to be enjoyed with a spoon. Of course, if your dessert melts as you dive into heated conversation you can always sip from your stemmed dessert glass — it still makes a refreshing “drink.” In fact, the rise in popularity of affogato stateside is due to many cafes creating drink versions of the Italian dessert, much like our legendary Ice Blended® drinks


How Much Caffeine Is in Affogato?


All of the caffeine content in a serving of affogato comes from the espresso or brewed coffee poured on top. So, it contains roughly the same amount of caffeine you’d find in an espresso drink. This will vary based on the coffee you use but expect between 65 to 85 milligrams of caffeine per dessert. Decaffeinated coffee/espresso is also a suitable replacement. 


Espresso Roast Coffee from The Coffee Bean® is sourced from the top 1% of Arabica beans in the entire world. Why would you use anything else to craft your next sweet treat topped with espresso? Explore all of our signature coffee blends to discover your next java obsession.