What it is and how to make a perfect Affogato coffee

With the arrival of good weather, the desire to enjoy cold drinks always increases. I already explained how to prepare 10 cold coffee drinks at home, and among them was the classic Affogato. But today, I’m going to delve deeper into this coffee with ice cream, which I love so much.

Since I have such a sweet tooth, now and then, in the evening, I enjoy a good dose of ice cream, and, overcome by greed, I “moisture” it with some coffee. Although to be realistic, I usually add this ingredient to almost every dessert to give it a unique touch.

Affogato is a dessert that originated in the 50s, when coffee and ice cream parlors began to spread in Italy, immediately becoming an icon to the point of soon being exported worldwide.

Tips for preparing a good Affogato at home

Affogato is made with only two ingredients: coffee and ice cream, so what’s the problem? In itself, it is very simple to prepare. However, you have to follow some little tricks to make it special. That’s why, before suggesting 2 super appetizing recipes, I thought I’d dwell on some basic tips.

Which ice cream is best for Affogato?

A good combination to prepare an affogato coffee is to choose vanilla or stracciatella ice cream, but chocolate can also go well with it. Some varieties of nuts such as hazelnut, pistachio, or almond should not be disdained either.

❌ Coffee ice cream, on the other hand, should be avoided, as it would give too redundant a flavor.

How to serve an Affogato

As you know, the eye also wants its share. For an impressive presentation, serve your affogato in transparent glass, preferably tall and narrow: the colors of the coffee and the layers of cream will show a nice visual effect through the glass.

Affogato coffee in tall crystal glasses
Affogato coffee in tall crystal glasses

In this case, do not forget to have long spoons. Another option is the classic ice cream glasses, but do not disdain the beautiful martini glasses.

How to decorate an Affogato?

A good Affogato is completed with the decoration: a dollop of cream, a few grains of hazelnut, almond, pistachio, or if you want to go over the top, a few small meringues.

The main thing to remember is that the hot component, i.e., the coffee, should be added last to prevent the ice cream from melting too much.

2 Incredible recipes for Affogato

Now that we have seen some tips on preparing a good affogato let’s get down to work and prepare two easy but delicious recipes.

  • First, I propose the traditional recipe with two flavors of ice cream washed down with hot coffee.
  • In the second version, the coffee is flavored with Amaretto and served over ice cream, decorated with Amaretti cookies.

The classic recipe of Affogato with two flavors of ice cream

The combination is made with vanilla and hazelnut flavors, adding some melted topping and boiling coffee to top it off.

Affogato Classic
Affogato Classic

Ingredients for four people

  • 4 cups of coffee
  • 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • 4 scoops of hazelnut ice cream
  • 50 g of dark chocolate
  • A few coffee beans.


Melt the dark chocolate in a bain-marie and pour a spoonful into each glass. Try to slide it around the edges to “dirty” them and create a nice effect with the transparency of the glass.

  • Prepare the coffee in an espresso or Italian coffee maker.
  • Put one scoop of vanilla and another hazelnut ice cream in each glass.
  • Pour the boiling coffee over the ice cream.
  • Finish the Affogato with a few coffee beans as decoration.

Recipe for Affogato with Amaretto and Amaretti biscuits

In this case, mix the liqueur with the coffee before adding it to the ice cream and complete it with Amaretti biscuits.

Ingredients for 4 people

  • 4 cups of coffee
  • 2 amaretto liqueur glasses
  • 4 scoops of cream ice cream
  • 4 scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • Pieces of Amaretti cookies


  • Prepare the coffee with an espresso machine or Moka pot.
  • Place the scoops of ice cream in cups.
  • Pour the hot coffee into a container and add the amaretto liqueur.
  • Stir well and pour hot over the ice cream.
  • Add the Amaretti cookies and serve immediately.

Is Affogato a type of coffee or a dessert?

If we look for the answer in the word Affogato itself, we will get the answer; it means “drowned” in Italian, which refers to the ice cream or “gelato” being drowned in espresso. In other words, the coffee is an addition to the ice cream, as if it were a topping.

If we think about when Affogato is usually taken, we see that it is usually served as a light dessert after lunch, although it is also taken as a snack in the afternoon. So it is considered more of a dessert than a coffee.

Although Affogato is primarily considered a dessert, it also contains a significant amount of caffeine from the espresso. The combination of sweet ice cream and bitter espresso creates a unique and delicious flavor profile that many love.

Frequently asked questions and answers

What is an Affogato?

An Affogato is an Italian dessert consisting of espresso served over a scoop of ice cream.

What type of coffee should be used in an Affogato?

The coffee should be espresso or from an Italian coffee maker, as the coffee’s strong flavor complements the ice cream flavor.

What type of ice cream should be used in an Affogato?

Vanilla ice cream is traditionally used in an Affogato, although other flavors, such as hazelnut, can also be used.

Can I use decaffeinated coffee in an Affogato?

Yes, decaffeinated coffee can be used in an Affogato. However, the flavor will not be as intense as with regular espresso.

Can I add other ingredients to the Affogato?

Yes, you can add other ingredients such as caramel, chocolate, fruits, almonds, or whipped cream to give an extra touch to the dessert.

Can an Affogato be made with cold coffee?

Yes, you can make an Affogato with cold coffee, although you will lose one of the most interesting factors of Affogato; the cold contrast of the ice cream with the warmth of the coffee.

Written by Pablo Barrantes Nevado
I am Pablo Barrantes, a coffee lover. I decided to start this website to solve all the doubts that arise every day when preparing our favorite drink: coffee. I am an industrial engineer by profession, but I have worked in coffee shops for many years, where I have learned all the secrets about coffee machines and coffee. My passion for coffee has led me to investigate and study beyond the obvious, and thanks to this, I can offer solutions and give news about coffee and coffee makers. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I research, document and write here.

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