How to Make an Affogato

Winter is just around the corner as we watch the last few days of autumn begin to grow colder and colder. Most coffee lovers don’t really mind the cold weather most of the time, but when the snow is starting to pile up to the window, and your three comforters still aren’t quite enough to keep the chill out of the air, don’t you just wish you could go back to the summer? 

On some of the coldest winter nights, many people love to dream about the warmer times that come with summer.  Some people dream of soaking up the summer sun along a beach, while others recall traveling to sun-lit plazas and outdoor cafes in the midday heat. Whatever your winter escape fantasy is, there’s a good chance that the sun and summer are involved somehow. 

Like many of you, here at Amora, we have our own dreams of summer and what that means to us! Perfectly brewed cold brew coffee is a popular dream, and we sometimes even have cravings for iced coffee! However, there’s one summer treat that all of us can agree we miss when wintertime rolls around; the Affogato.

You could probably guess from the name that this particular delicacy is originally Italian, and when you learn about what it is, you’ll realize just how Italian it really is! The Affogato is a type of coffee-based dessert, which mixes two quintessential Italian delicacies in gelato and espresso. When we think of summer, this delicious Italian dessert is always the first thing that comes to mind. 

The best news is, thanks to its widespread popularity, you can probably find a high-quality Affogato at a coffee shop or Italian restaurant in your area. Plus, on the off chance that you can’t find one locally, we’ll teach you the basics of making your very own, at-home Affogato. Trust us; you don’t want to go through life without trying it at least once! 

Affogato Basics

The exact origin of the Affogato is still a mystery, but we do know that it comes from Italy! In Italian, the word “affogato” directly translates to “drowned,” which is an appropriate description of the treat. In its simplest and most traditional form, an Affogato is simply a shot of hot espresso that “drowns” a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream.

The dessert likely began around the same time the espresso machine was invented, placing its origins in the early 1900s. After roughly 100 years, not much about the Affogato has changed, except perhaps the different types of gelato (or ice cream) used.

Affogato has also become a term to describe a particular style of espresso-drink creation, where the espresso is the last ingredient added to a drink. You might hear these referred to as “affogato-style shots,” so don’t get confused if you’re trying to order a proper Affogato! Affogato shots are a tasty way to create a hot coffee drink, but they’re nothing like the classic Italian dessert.       

A Classic Affogato 

The Affogato recipe is barely a recipe at all, as you only require two ingredients. The first, a shot of espresso, is pretty familiar to the majority of the world.  As long as you can find someone who makes a relatively good quality shot of espresso, you’ll have this first part down easy. 

The second part of a classic Affogato, however, is a little more niche. Most places that serve Affogato will probably use a scoop of vanilla gelato or vanilla ice cream, but to stick true to the original Affogato recipe, you should look for Fior Di Latte gelato. Literally translated to “flower of milk,” this gelato might seem like vanilla at first glance, but it is actually just milk, cream, and sugar, no vanilla flavoring in sight! 

The resulting gelato is milky, smoother than most others, and tastes strongly of rich cream, which offsets the espresso’s bitterness magnificently. Fior Di Latte gelato will genuinely separate the classic Italian Affogatos from the variations. 

The Variations

That being said, an Affogato is delicious in almost any style you make it. The most common variations are the ones we’ve already mentioned, such as vanilla gelato and ice cream in place of Fior Di Latte gelato. However, when you break it down, the idea behind an Affogato is easily applied to pretty much any type of ice cream. 

If you’re looking for a particularly strong dessert, you could try coffee ice cream in place of the gelato! The same goes for any flavor of ice cream, with many popular variations turning to vanilla bean, caramel, and mocha-flavored ice creams.

On the other side of things, you could also explore different flavors within the espresso. Various beans and roast levels will produce different tasting notes and flavor combinations, and for the truly experimental, simple syrups can add practically any flavor you desire to your dessert! Even without access to a proper espresso, you could create an approximation of an Affogato with some strong brewed coffee. 

Though the traditional recipe will always be our favorite, as long as hot espresso is poured over ice cream, it has a pretty good chance to be delicious! 

Amora’s Contribution: Coffee!

While we can’t get some authentic Fior Di Latte gelato shipped out to you, Amora can ship you high-quality, specialty coffee beans that have been freshly roasted just for you! Our coffee subscription service brings fresh and delicious coffee straight to your front door, no hassle or middle man required.

Check out our wide range of roast types and teas at our store, or learn more about different coffee drinks and desserts on our blog!


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