Affogato: What It is, Recipe, and How to Order It at Starbucks

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An affogato is a delicious dessert that’s quick and easy to make at home, using just 2 ingredients. Make this tasty treat tonight!

Pouring espresso into a cup with ice cream.

What is an Affogato?

  • An affogato is a simple yet delicious Italian coffee dessert. Hot espresso is poured onto a scoop of gelato or ice cream. It’s eaten with a spoon as the gelato gently melts in the hot espresso.
  • “Affogato al caffe” translates to “drowned,” in Italian, meaning the gelato is drowned in espresso.
  • Espresso for an affogato can be made using an espresso machine or a Nespresso. Strong brewed coffee can be used if you don’t have a way to make espresso at home.
  • Affogato is pronounced AH-FOH-GAH-TOE.

Affogato at Starbucks

An affogato means something a little different at Starbucks. Instead of espresso poured on top of gelato, an affogato is a shot of espresso poured on top of any drink, usually a Frappuccino.

To order a drink with an espresso shot on top, (not blended in), ask for it to be made with an affogato-style shot. After the drink is made, a shot of espresso will be poured on top. Try it on a Vanilla Bean, Caramel, or Mocha Frappuccino, but you can order it on any Frappuccino.

Note that there is some inconsistency on whether the espresso shot goes above or under the whipped cream of a Frappuccino. If you prefer it a certain way, make sure to let the barista know when you place your order.

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Ingredient Notes

Affogato ingredients.
  • Espresso
    Make espresso in an espresso machine or a Nespresso. Any kind of roast can be used.
  • Vanilla gelato or ice cream
    Classic affogato is either made with fior di latte (translates to “flower of milk” and it’s unflavored, tasting like slightly sweetened milk) or vanilla gelato. Since fior di latte is not easy to find, I always use vanilla. Use vanilla ice cream if you don’t have gelato.

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Step-by-Step Instructions

Pouring espresso into a small mug of ice cream to make an affogato.

For full ingredients and instructions, scroll down to the recipe.

  1. Scoop gelato or ice cream into a small cup or mug.
  2. Pour espresso into cup.

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Serving Suggestions

  • Serve affogato in a small glass cup that can hold a scoop of ice cream or in a small mug. Don’t use too big of a cup or mug otherwise the espresso won’t be able to mix with the ice cream.
  • To add a decadent touch, shave a little chocolate on top of the ice cream.
  • This dessert is to be eaten with a spoon, scooping up the espresso and melting gelato together.

Expert Tips

  • Pour the espresso into the cup of gelato or ice cream right when it’s to be eaten.
  • Freshly pulled espresso is best but you can use strong, double-strength hot coffee or even instant coffee.
  • Traditionally, vanilla or fior di latte gelato is what’s used to make an affogato but you can use any kind of gelato or ice cream you like.

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Questions You May Have

Is an affogato a dessert or a drink?

It’s a little bit of both but I consider more of a dessert since it’s served after a meal and best when eaten with a spoon.

What’s the difference between gelato and ice cream?

The word gelato is Italian for ice cream and it’s made slightly different than American ice cream, using less cream and whipped slower, resulting in less air. Gelato is denser than ice cream and has a creamier texture.

Can I drink this instead of spooning it?

Yes! The reason it’s served in a cup or a mug instead of bowl is so that it can be sipped. I prefer the spoon though since it’s easier to get both gelato and espresso in each bite.

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Easy Affogato Recipe

Author: Jee Choe
An affogato is a delicious dessert that's quick and easy to make at home, using just 2 ingredients.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 3 mins
Total Time 3 mins
Course Dessert
Yield1 serving (16 ounces)

INGREDIENTS
 

  • 1 scoop vanilla gelato or ice cream
  • 1-2 espresso shots

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Scoop gelato or ice cream into a small cup or mug.
  • Pour espresso on top of gelato or ice cream.

EQUIPMENT

NOTES

  • Serve affogato in a small glass cup that can hold a scoop of ice cream or in a small mug. Don’t use too big of a cup or mug otherwise the espresso won’t be able to mix with the ice cream.
  • To add a decadent touch, shave a little chocolate on top of the ice cream.
  • This dessert is to be eaten with a spoon, scooping up the espresso and melting gelato together.
  • Pour the espresso into the cup of gelato or ice cream right when it’s to be eaten.
  • Freshly pulled espresso is best but you can use strong, double-strength hot coffee or even instant coffee.
  • Traditionally, vanilla or fior di latte gelato is what’s used to make an affogato but you can use any kind of gelato or ice cream you like.
  • An affogato means something a little different at Starbucks. Instead of espresso poured on top of gelato, an affogato is a shot of espresso poured on top of any drink, usually a Frappuccino.

NUTRITION

Calories: 139 | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 57mg | Potassium: 166mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 278IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 1mg
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