The warm months in the south are a little extra-warm for us in the studio, so we are always looking for an excuse to cool down- even when having our afternoon coffee.  What better way to cool down your afternoon coffee than with ice cream?

The first time I had an affogato was at a friend’s home during one of her “fancy” dinner parties. She always had a knack for making me feel special, pulling out her best dishes, even when it was just the two of us.

She would take her stark white espresso cups, paired with the matching plate and tiny demitasse spoon, and carefully fill each with a serving of vanilla bean gelato before pouring fresh espresso over the top.  We would enjoy this while sitting at her kitchen, talking about what we would make for the next fancy dinner party.

I often recreate this moment with my thrift store dishes and antique store spoons.  My friend also taught me the magic of the stove top espresso maker.  They are incredibly simple – my go-to at home when I need a quick shot of espresso.



Freshly brewed espresso (1 or 2 shots per serving)
Vanilla Gelato or Ice Cream (optional recipe below)
Unsweetened cocoa powder, as needed for garnish (optional)
Whipped Cream (optional)

Brew espresso coffee. I use my standard stove top maker, but you may use whatever you may have available. Scoop the frozen gelato into a glass and pour the espresso over the gelato. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve with some cocoa powder sprinkled on top.  Serve with a spoon and straw.

If you happen to have your own ice cream maker, you might consider making your own vanilla gelato.


Makes 1 quart

2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the milk and cream in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the sugar and honey and stir to dissolve. Add the vanilla extract. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass or metal container. Cool the gelato base over an ice water bath or in the refrigerator, stirring from time to time. When completely chilled, pour into an ice cream maker. Process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a container and freeze for about 2 hours before serving.

Make this for someone special, or just for yourself. It certainly acts as a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up.  What are some variations on this simple recipe that you’ve had in the past or would like to try?

P.S.: My fellow barista friends recommended these brands as their favorite roasters: Velo Coffee Roasters, Counter Culture Coffee, Ristretto Roasters, and Ritual Roasters. We’re looking forward to sampling coffee flights in the studio, and adding them to the list of coffee we already love, which includes Higher Grounds Coffee. Natalie likes to mix and match the beans from a variety of roasters to experiment with flavor.


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