What is an Affogato?

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The affogato is a dessert from Italy that will drown your sorrows (or at least your vanilla ice cream). It’s just a scoop of vanilla ice cream covered with an espresso shot. Talk about a caffeine kick! The name “affogato” literally means “drowned” in Italian, which makes sense because that’s exactly what happens to the ice cream.

Key Takeaways:

  • An affogato is a dessert from Italy.
  • It is made with two main ingredients: vanilla ice cream and espresso.
  • The word "affogato" means "drowned" in Italian.
  • The dessert is served immediately after the espresso is poured over the ice cream.
  • It is typically served in a tall, narrow glass.

Understanding the Affogato

While the affogato is generally considered a dessert, there is debate over whether it should be classified as a beverage.

Some restaurants and cafes in Italy still list it as a drink on their menus. Regardless of where it falls on the dessert-beverage spectrum, there is a general consensus on how to eat it.

The traditional way to make an Affogato is with a moka pot, a type of stovetop espresso maker commonly used in Italy.

The moka pot produces a strong, concentrated shot of espresso that is poured over the gelato.

Some people like adding a splash of liqueur, such as Bailey's or Kahlua, to the affogato for added flavor.

In recent years, the affogato has gained popularity in coffee shops worldwide, and it is often served under the name "gelato affogato."

Pouring Espresso Over Ice Cream For Affogato
Pouring Espresso over Ice Cream | Photo by Rich Gascho on Unsplash

Many coffee shops offer variations on the traditional recipe, such as vanilla gelato (or ice cream) and topping it with caramel sauce or whipped cream.

Despite its popularity in coffee shops, the Affogato remains a classic Italian dessert enjoyed by people of all ages.

Its simple yet satisfying combination of hot coffee and cold gelato makes it a perfect treat on a hot summer day.

Taste & Flavor

The flavor of affogato is a rich, creamy sweetness from the vanilla ice cream and bold bitterness from the espresso.

The ice cream is velvety, and the espresso is sharp and acidic. It's a complex and indulgent dessert that's both satisfying and refreshing.

Basically, it's the dessert equivalent of a power suit.

Pouring Espresso Over Vanilla Gelato For An Affogato
Affogato | Photo by Ieva Kisunaite on Unsplash

How It’s Served

A classic affogato is typically served in a tall, narrow glass or cup. The vanilla ice cream is scooped into the bottom of the glass, and hot espresso is poured over the top.

The dessert is served immediately while the espresso is hot and the ice cream is cold and firm.

Some people like to add a drizzle of chocolate sauce or a sprinkle of cocoa powder on top for added flavor and visual appeal.

An affogato is typically eaten with a spoon, and the combination of cold ice cream and hot espresso is meant to be enjoyed together in each bite.

how to make an affogato

To make an affogato at home, follow these steps:

  1. Brew a shot of espresso using your preferred method (such as a stovetop espresso maker or a home espresso machine).
  2. Scoop a single serving of vanilla ice cream into a tall, narrow glass or cup.
  3. Pour the hot espresso over the ice cream, allowing it to "drown" in coffee.
  4. Serve immediately while the espresso is hot and the ice cream is cold and firm.
  5. Optional: top with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, or other desired toppings. Enjoy!


How do you pronounce affogato?

To pronounce affogato, say "a-foh-GAH-toh," emphasizing the second syllable. The "a" at the beginning is like the "a" in "father," the "foh" is like the "foe" in "toe," and the "gah" is like the "gah" in "gasp." It has a rolling, fluid sound. The word comes from the Italian verb "affogare," meaning "to drown."

What Does Affogato Mean?

The word affogato means "drowned" in Italian and is derived from the past participle of affogare. The English translation of affogare means "to drown." An affogato is a dessert of hot espresso poured over a scoop of ice cream.

How Many Calories Are in an affogato?

It is difficult to determine the exact number of calories in an affogato because ingredients and proportions can vary. Typically, a serving contains 150-200 calories, but this can vary depending on the ingredients and toppings. It is best to check the nutritional information of a specific recipe or serving for an accurate calorie count.

How Much Caffeine Is in an affogato?

The amount of caffeine in an affogato depends on the espresso and serving size. A single shot of espresso has 64-100mg of caffeine, but a double shot has 128-200mg. The type of coffee, roast level, and brewing method can also affect caffeine content.

Can I order an affogato at Starbucks?

To order an affogato at Starbucks, ask for a dessert of vanilla ice cream topped with a shot of hot espresso. Starbucks does not offer affogato on its menu, but some locations may make one upon request. You can call ahead or ask the barista when placing your order.

Is Affogato Keto?

Sorry keto-fans, affogato isn't for you! The vanilla ice cream packs in the carbs, and even the espresso has a few. Stick to your bacon and butter coffee instead.

Is an Affogato Healthy?

Is an affogato healthy? Well, it's not poison if that's what you're asking. But it's not exactly a salad, either. It's a dessert, so enjoy in moderation.

How do Italians eat affogato?

In Italy, affogato is typically served as a dessert after a meal. It is often enjoyed with a small spoon or a demitasse spoon. Italians enjoy it on its own, but it can also be served with biscotti or other cookies for dipping.

The End

In conclusion, an affogato is a dessert of vanilla ice cream topped with hot espresso. It's indulgent, invigorating, and a must-try for coffee and dessert lovers alike.

If you want to try an affogato, ask your barista to make your espresso "affogato style" next time you're at a coffee shop. You'll be begging for seconds!

Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
With over two decades in the coffee industry, Kelsey is a seasoned professional barista with roots in Seattle and Santa Barbara. Accredited by The Coffee Association of America and a member of The Baristas Guild, he combines practical expertise with a profound understanding of coffee's history and cultural significance. Kelsey tries his best to balance family time with blogging time and fails miserably.