What's an Affogato?

By DeathWishCoffee — / Coffee Talk

Don’t Drown Sorrows in Ice Cream When You Can Drown Ice Cream in Coffee 

Coffee with cream might get a lot of heat from coffee connoisseurs, but ice cream and coffee? Now, that’s a bold—and intriguing idea. Introducing affogato al caffe. So when you want a little something sweet and reasonably caffeinated, this Italian treat may just hit the spot.  

That’s right. As is the case with many coffee-and espresso-based indulgences, affogato al caffe comes from Italy. While Italian coffee drinkers see American-style coffee as muddy water, you can’t hate on them for being coffee snobs. Okay, you can, but you’ve got to appreciate their tenacity. 

Affogato al caffe dessert in a mug sitting on a table.

What Exactly is an Affogato al Caffe? 

Italians have introduced the world to many delicious things like Neapolitan pizza, cannoli and authentic macaroni. They also produce world-class wines, cheeses and olive oils. Despite all that, the universally- loved Italian exports may be espresso and gelato. A melding of the two? Bellisima. 

Affogato al caffe—or affogato for us uncultured Americans—translates to “drowned in coffee.” Honestly, though, what else did you expect from the birthplace of Vito Corleone, aka the Don (aka The Godfather)? The dish is a scoop of sweet, innocent gelato “drowned” in a shot of bitter, darkly addictive espresso (espresso shouldn’t taste bitter, but it made for great imagery). Capisce?  

If you “non capisce” the reference, you don’t deserve coffee or ice cream. 

What Happened When It Arrived in America? 

When the caffeinated treat made its way to America, affogato received a warm welcome and was appropriately appropriated (as expected). That doesn’t mean it tastes bad per se—just different. Unless you’ve been to Italy for affogato, gelato affogato al caffe Americana is going to be pretty darn good. 

Just like a story from the twisted mind of an author, affogato is now commonly enjoyed with strong coffee as a popular adaptation of the original. In fact, if you’re going the coffee route, strong coffee is a requirement. 

How Can You Live the Sweet Life? 

Once you’ve thought about pouring some smooth, dark or medium roast coffee over a chilly scoop of ice cream, you can start living the sweet life. And while Italian espresso bars are all about efficiency, you don’t have to rush the process when making a version of affogato al caffe Americana. You can use coffee with high caffeine instead of espresso, then brew it with a Moka pot, AeroPress or French press to make really strong coffee. 

Another way to transform an affogato in true Americana fashion is by using different ice cream flavors like chocolate, pistachio or coffee. (What? That one should be a no-brainer.) Top with an extra shot of espresso or one more splash of a bold roast, and you’re good to go. Italians might see it as an abomination, but what do you care? 

If you’re looking for a caffeine kick with an indulgent side, skip the coffee with cream—pick cream and coffee instead. No matter how you make it, it’s going to taste delicious—unless you use lousy coffee, which by Italian standards is pretty easy to do. So only add the most caffeine coffee  to your affogato al caffe Americana to ensure the beans and the brewing method for your pour of choice will be delizioso—and give those Italians something better to talk about! 

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