What is an Affogato?

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In the delightful realm of coffee, the affogato holds a special place as a delectable and indulgent treat that marries the intense flavours of espresso with the creamy sweetness of ice cream or gelato.

The affogato is the perfect choice for those seeking a decadent dessert or an afternoon pick-me-up that combines the best of both worlds.

In this Coffee Expert guide, we’ll explore the origins, characteristics, and variations of the affogato, helping you better understand and appreciate this heavenly coffee creation.

The Origins of the Affogato

An Italian Classic

The affogato, which translates to “drowned” in Italian, hails from Italy and is a beloved dessert that has been enjoyed for generations.

The affogato’s simple yet exquisite combination of espresso and ice cream or gelato showcases the best of Italian coffee culture and dessert traditions.

A Global Sensation

The affogato’s unique blend of flavours and textures has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world, making it a popular choice in cafes, gelaterias, and restaurants from Rome to Sydney.

The Components of an Affogato


The foundation of an affogato is a single or double shot of espresso, which provides the rich coffee flavour and aroma that characterises the dessert.

Ice Cream or Gelato

The key component that sets the affogato apart from other coffee-based desserts is the addition of a scoop of ice cream or gelato.

The creamy sweetness of the ice cream or gelato perfectly complements the bold intensity of the espresso, creating a luxurious and satisfying experience.

The Classic Affogato Ratio

Balance of Flavours

The traditional affogato is composed of a carefully balanced ratio of espresso and ice cream or gelato. This ratio creates a harmonious flavour profile that allows the coffee and ice cream components to shine without overpowering one another.


A classic affogato is typically served in a small glass or cup, ensuring that the espresso-to-ice cream ratio remains consistent and the dessert maintains its characteristic indulgence.

How to Make an Affogato

1. Pull Your Espresso Shot

Begin by pulling a single or double shot of espresso using freshly ground coffee beans. Aim for a rich and balanced extraction, as the espresso will provide the core coffee flavour in your affogato.

2. Scoop Your Ice Cream or Gelato

Choose a high-quality ice cream or gelato, preferably vanilla or a complementary flavour, and scoop one or two small scoops into your serving glass or cup.

3. Pour the Espresso

Gently pour the hot espresso over the ice cream or gelato, allowing the coffee to partially melt the frozen dessert and create a delightful mingling of flavours and textures.

Enjoying and Pairing Your Affogato

Sipping and Savouring

When enjoying an affogato, take your time to appreciate the rich aroma, bold flavour, and contrasting textures of the dessert.

Notice the interplay between the intense coffee and the sweet, creamy ice cream or gelato as they combine, creating a sumptuous and satisfying experience.

Pairing Suggestions

An affogato pairs beautifully with a variety of sweet treats, such as biscotti, almond cookies, or chocolate desserts. The rich and indulgent nature of the affogato can complement and enhance the taste of these accompaniments.

Variations of the Affogato

Flavoured Ice Cream or Gelato

Experiment with different ice cream or gelato flavours, such as hazelnut, chocolate, or caramel, to create a personalised and unique affogato experience.

Selecting a complementary flavour can elevate the dessert and showcase your favourite taste combinations.

Liqueur-Infused Affogato

For a spirited twist on the classic affogato – similar to the Irish coffee – consider adding a splash of your favourite liqueur, such as amaretto, coffee liqueur, or Irish cream.

This variation can add an extra layer of depth and complexity to the dessert, making it even more indulgent and satisfying.

Toppings and Garnishes

Enhance your affogato by adding toppings or garnishes, such as crushed nuts, chocolate shavings, or a drizzle of caramel sauce.

These embellishments can provide additional texture and flavour to the dessert, creating a visually appealing and deliciously decadent experience.

The Affogato in Modern Coffee Culture

Specialty Coffee Scene

As specialty coffee culture continues to flourish, the affogato remains a cherished and indulgent dessert for its unique combination of bold espresso flavours and the creamy sweetness of ice cream or gelato.

The affogato’s luxurious nature and contrasting textures make it a favourite among coffee enthusiasts and dessert lovers alike.

Affogato vs. Other Espresso-Based Desserts

The affogato is distinct from other espresso-based desserts, such as tiramisu or espresso granita, due to the addition of ice cream or gelato.

These components set the affogato apart by offering a richer, more indulgent dessert experience that is perfect for sipping and savouring on a warm day or after a satisfying meal.

Our Conclusion on the Affogato

The affogato is a heavenly coffee creation that expertly balances the intense flavours of espresso with the creamy sweetness of ice cream or gelato.

By understanding the origins, components, and variations of the affogato, you can better appreciate this delightful dessert and confidently create it at home.

Whether you’re a seasoned coffee connoisseur or a newcomer to the coffee scene, the affogato offers a rich and indulgent experience that is sure to captivate your taste buds and leave you craving more.