A Spicy Perspective

Affogato al Cafe

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Affogato al Cafe (Affogato Shot) – Once you taste Affogato al Cafe, you will most certainly feel a buckle in your knees, and pull out your best faux Italian accent while muttering aff-o-gaaaato, gel-aaaa-to, es-preeeeess-o… Merda Santa! (Holy Crud!)

affogato al cafe Italian dessert - gelato and espresso

Affogato Recipe

Such a simple treat to cause a dramatic response; that is the Italian way.

You may have heard the old story about Julia Child snubbing Italian food because she didn’t believe it was real cooking. Well, no disrespect to Julia but, the simplicity of most Italian dishes is what draws me to them.

Italian food, as a whole, is about celebrating the ingredients, not the chef.

In theory, a tomato-based dish should uphold the integrity of the tomato, straight off the vine. Not muck it up with dozens of other flavors. Italians honor their food by preparing simple meals.

In making this Italian dessert, I did get a tad “stravagante”… Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I combined the gelato and espresso with a nip of Kahlua (mocha liquor) and dark chocolate shavings. Shameful. *wink*

Such a simple yet “stravagante” treat can: save a dinner party, spur on a love connection, mend a broken heart, keep you up at night to finish a project, or get you in trouble. Be careful with this one. Affogato al Cafe is POWERFUL.

easy affogato recipe in glass cups with stems - gelato and espresso

What Ingredients You Will Need

Affogato al Cafe, meaning “drowned in coffee”, is a sweet little treat that packs a punch! It’s an adult ice cream float, of sorts.

The two crucial ingredients are 

  • Vanilla Gelato 
  • Espresso

But all the ingredients used to make this recipe are 

  • Few Scoops of Vanilla Gelato – or the GOOD ice cream
  • Espresso – just a few ounces of your favorite hot espresso
  • Kahlua liqueur
  • Dark Chocolate Shavings

All other variations with espresso beans, chocolate, or amaretto are considered Strav-a-gan-te! (extravagant)

Spoon scooping into Italian gelato and espresso

How To Make The Best Affogato Gelato

Grab your favorite glassware and your ingredients. 

Place two large scoops of vanilla gelato in a glass.

Make a shot of espresso with your espresso machine. (You can make it ahead and allow it to cool to room temperature if you like.)

Pour the one shot of espresso and half a shot of Kahlua liqueur over the gelato.

Use a veggie peeler to shave chocolate curls over the top.

Perfetto! You have made a perfect Italian dessert.

affogato shot in spoon - gelato with espresso

Get the Complete (Printable) Affogato Gelato  Recipe (Affogato Shot) Below. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Toppings Can I Add Other Than Chocolate Shavings?

Other toppings that would make a fabulous garnish for this recipe include biscotti, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, chocolate sauce, and caramel sauce

Is Affogato Gluten-Free?

Most gelatos tend to be gluten-free, so yes, this recipe is as well.

What Is The Difference Between Espresso and an Affogato coffee?

These are both coffee-based beverages from Italy, but they are in fact not the same. Espresso is a strong brewed coffee drink made by forcing hot water through ground coffee beans under pressure. Affogato is an Italian dessert made by mixing espresso with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato. So what’s the difference? Gelato!

Affogato with Kahlua and chocolate

Other Favorite Italian Treats:

Affogato Recipe
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5 from 1 vote
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Affogato Al Cafe Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Affogato al Cafe, Italian for "drowned in coffee," is a sweet little treat that packs a punch!
Servings: 1


  • 2 scoops vanilla gelato or GOOD ice cream
  • 1 ounce espresso
  • 1/2 ounce Kahlua
  • 1 teaspoon dark chocolate shavings


  • Place two large scoops of vanilla gelato in a glass.
  • Pour one shot of espresso and half a shot of Kahlua over the gelato.
  • Use a veggie peeler to shave chocolate curls over the top. Perfetto!


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 353kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 58mg, Sodium: 111mg, Potassium: 263mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 36g, Vitamin A: 555IU, Calcium: 169mg, Iron: 0.3mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Sommer Collier

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74 comments on “Affogato al Cafe”

  1. Pingback: 12 Boozy Ice Cream Float Recipes For The Most Chill Summer Ever – YumYumMenu

  2. Pingback: 12 Boozy Ice Cream Float Recipes For The Most Chill Summer Ever – Sante.pw

  3. Loved this.

  4. Pingback: Lemon Blueberry Icebox Cake - A Spicy Perspective

  5. hubby doesn’t like coffee, but loves Kahlua (go figure). will make this w/just the Kahlua and know he will love it!

  6. hubby doesn’t like coffee, but loves Kahlua (go figure), so will make this w/just the Kahlua. think he will love it!

  7. Pingback: Spiked Coffees to Cure Your Hangover | Yummly

  8. Wow – what a dessert. Espresso and gelato together sounds like a perfect combination. Great photos too!

  9. Nice site, and your cafe affogato looks delicious! I’ve never had one with Kahlua. Will have to try that.

    One little note – Merda Santa! (Holy Crud!) isn’t quite correct. The saying is santa merda, and it means “holy sh*t”. Merda is not a very pleasant word, just like sh*t….

  10. First time here and nice place with yummy recipes. This post looks so awesome..

  11. My husband and I discovered Affogato al Café when it was described in a recent issue of Bon Appétit magazine, and ever since, we have been OBSESSED! We are not big sweets people, and we rarely eat dessert, but ever since we discovered this little piece of heaven, we gleefully fire up the espresso machine and pull the ice cream out of the freezer after dinner several nights a week so that we can indulge.

    Kudos to you for introducing more souls to this delicious Italian dessert!

  12. I think it would pair nicely with the Kahlua and espresso..?

  13. i love the ingredients ….sinful dessert :D

  14. I’m swooning Sommer, SWOONING :D

  15. This is just dreamy. This post has me swooning over affogato, for sure.

  16. I love your Italian treat. Definitely a must make one of these hot days. Beautiful pics as usual Sommer.

  17. Heavenly, indeed. Those Italians know what they’re doing.

  18. Im not a huge fan of coffee like flavors, but with pictures like these, I know I wouldn’t be able to resist a bite either! These look wonderful :D

  19. ooh, all your posts make me swoon–always an eye-full here!

  20. I’m not a coffee person, but this is just beautiful. I’d try some. :)

  21. Yum this ice cream looks delicious and truly grown up! :)

  22. Those dreamlike affogato look so tempting and refreshing. What a divine treat!

    Congrats on making Foodbuzz’s Top 9!



  23. Coffee, chocolate and gelato…how can you go wrong? This looks just heavenly! Thank you for sharing with me tonight. I hope you have a beautiful Sunday full of laughter, love and more good food!

  24. Congratulations on making Food Buzz’s Top 9 – this is amazing! Simple and delicious – my favorite kind of recipe!

  25. Oh MY!! Love this! Actually, I didn’t know there was an actual name to it. I don’t eat ice cream very often, and I haven’t used Gelato, but when I do have ice cream it is just like this! Not always with the kahalua, but always with the espresso and chocolate. LOVE it! Anything “drowned in coffee” is ok by me!

  26. Simply delicious :) I recently made some vanilla ice cream spiced with green and black cardamom, clove, cinnamon, black pepper corns, star anise and nutmeg. I think it would pair nicely with the kahlua and espresso!

    Thanks for sharing.

  27. What a fabulous Italian dessert! mmm…kahula..I love it.

  28. I just heard that quote about Italian Cooking by Julia Child from Ina Garten. Although I adore Julia, I too have to disagree.

    This is a real picker-upper, cool dessert. You’ve presented it so beautifully in those glass dishes. I’m definitely giving these a try…so grown up and elegant! ;)

  29. Not sure I can properly pronounce it but pretty damn sure I can properly devour it!

  30. Wow, that is one decadent treat for sure!

  31. “Drowned in coffee” really? A coffee addict and I have never had one of these. Must. Have. One. Now. LOVE :)

  32. Pingback: Affogato al Cafe — Villeroy & Boch Blog

  33. Wish I could join you for one of these!! :) I’m not a big coffee fan, but found out that I LOVED tiramisu when I worked at that Italian restaurant last year. Hubby and wife were both Italian and from NY, and as a trained pastry chef her tiramisu was out of this world!!!

  34. Oh YUM! Love the addition of Kahlua!

  35. Bravo Sommer!! Yes, Italian food is really simple food based on fresh, quality ingredients…and not alot of them! Your Affogato looks delicious and is delicious…as I have one about 2x a week during the summer months (ok, if not more)! I’m always “correcting” my espresso with some type of liquor too. Gorgeous photos as always!! Have a wonderful weekend!

  36. I love italian food, they have sooo many diferent pasta recipes and risottos and their desserts made with coffee just make me crazy!! I made a tiramisu lately, i just looooved it! Can’t wait to make that Affogato al cafe!

  37. For me, Italian and French desserts are simply the best, give me a Canoli or a Macaron and I’m totally salivating… pignoli (sp) cookies.. a plus.

  38. What a simple and delicious ‘adult ice cream soda’! Your photography is stunning! : )

  39. This is so pretty and looks delicious!! :)

  40. Pictures are amazing! Simple, delicious and Italian….what else is there?

  41. What a perfect summer treat!

  42. beautiful treat looks wonderful

  43. I had a wonderful affogato al cafe at the Museum of Modern Art in New York recently. No kaluha, unfortunately, though otherwise quite similar to this one. I totally agree with you about Italian food: it’s simplicity, refined. Julia Child is great and her recipes can be a lot of fun to make and eat, but she was no friend of time-saving measures, at least in her first book.

  44. I love affogato! The first time I had it was surprisingly in Sydney, Australia. I had no idea it existed, but I was happy I found it. Thanks for the post and recipe! Is perfect way to get my espresso kick in the summer!

  45. hi Sommer
    what an outstanding dessert! I love Julia, but you can make me anything Italian any day of the week, that is my food of choice, and your delicious dessert is no exception! Those glasses are magnificent and in this world where most of the dinnerware is made in third world countries its nice to see quality is still available to put on the table. I need a new set of china, I’m going to have to look into Villeroy and Boch!

    See you soon!

  46. That looks so delicious. I cannot wait to make it. All the ingredients are at home right now just waiting for me. Come over and visit us today. We have a really wonderful sorbet recipe.

  47. What a delicious dessert- I love each and every ingredient. That tells me that it is totally a winner. Yum-buzz

  48. It has been a long, long time since I enjoyed a good affogato! I think I need to correct that asap.

  49. Hi Sommer, my 6 year old grandson just looked at the last photo and said, that looks delicious and I think that says it all;-)

  50. That sounds way too easy! Looks like I’ll invite people over just so I can make this! Thanks – it is beautiful.

  51. I love Affogota but I have never added the Kahlua…looks amazing I can’t wait to try it! Cheers!

  52. What a pretty and delicious dessert!

  53. Oh my! This sounds so decadent and like a dessert-dream-come-true. Julia Child was missing out!

  54. If I order one now will it be ready by the time I get there? YUM!

  55. It’s all my favorite things – ice cream, espresso and kahlua! Yum!

  56. Swoon is right! That sounds amazing! We’re both slightly addicted to coffee…so anything that’s ‘drowned in it’ is fully supported by us :)

  57. “Drowned in coffee.” What a perfect name.

    That’s the one thing missing from the American foodie movement: visually descriptive names. We need something like, well, off the top of my head, Summer Sidewalk Sizzling Fajitas. Or Baby’s Bottom Banana Bread. Okay, I’ll work on those, but you get the idea.

    Hawaiians come close. I love the expression “broke da mouth.” Or huli huli chicken — “huli” meaning flipped, so chicken that’s flipped twice.

  58. Wish I could slurp up those photos…I love that stuff! I drown myself in it!

  59. I don’t even know what to say! That looks wonderful!

  60. Yum – beautiful photos!!

  61. you got me at Kahlua!! always feel it lends a beautiful flavor to many recipes I’ve added it to – Coffe looks like a decadent desert :))

  62. Nice use of Kahlua. It was Nigella Lawson that first got me hooked on this double whammy uber treat (caffeine AND sugar…zing). Your photos look magnificent!

  63. So simple and delicious! Your pictures are so enticing!

  64. Goodness but that looks incredible! Pictures are terrific!

  65. Genius idea to add kahula! ;) You reminded me how much I adore affogato… And just loving your photos – especially the second one!

  66. That’s why I love Italian cooking as well, it’s unfussy but so full of flavor. I used to be obsessed with affogato’s when I was younger, my friend worked at a cafe where they had the best ones. I haven’t had one in such a long time but you’ve brought back the craving. :-)

  67. Gelato..espresso..chocolate…Mmmm..what more could I ask for in a heavenly indulgence! Lovely clicks, Sommer.

  68. You had me at Mocha. :) Affogato…..oh yes please. Love this post and will be making pronto! Well not tonight, but for sure manana.

    Great post!
    Heather :)

  69. Sounds wonderful…. gelato with espresso all over it and chocolate and liquor. What else does one need for dessert.