Brewhaha: The Inimitable Duo

During the summer in the Val di Comino, temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees. There is no better way to cool off than a lovely Italian ice-cream. Though it doesn’t quite get as hot here in Ireland, who wouldn’t want a refreshing scoop?! It’s especially delicious when paired with strong espresso. So, today’s blog will be focussing on desserts, more so than caffeinated beverages, that use both ice-cream and coffee. These are perfect for a light dessert and a must-try when in Italy.


The caffè affogato is a widely known dessert that is available in any Italian restaurant around the world. Its name is a good indicator for its make-up. Affogato literally translates to drowned in English. It’s not clear exactly when and where this coffee first came on the scene, but it is likely that it was created around the time the espresso machine was invented. It’s not hard to believe that there would be experimentation with two of Italy’s most famous delicacies. The caffè affogato is made with just two ingredients: espresso and fior di latte ice-cream. The coffee is generally added on top of the ice-cream, hence the name “drowned” coffee. In days gone by a firmer style ice-cream was used. However, nowadays softer ice-cream is used for a creamier taste.

There are many possible variations of the caffè affogato, though they are almost always served in a tall, narrow glass. A double shot of espresso is used to achieve a more intense coffee taste. Though the most common flavour of ice-cream used is fior di latte, it’s possible to use other flavours. A classic caffè affogato is simply coffee and ice-cream, however some restaurants add their own flair to it. Toppings, such as berries, honeycomb and coconut, or a biscotti can be added on top too. A more fiery option would be the affogato corretto, which is served with grappa. The two vastly different tastes of ice-cream and coffee, as well as the difference in temperature, make for a rich and creamy dessert!

A relatively similar dessert to the caffè affogato would be the glace. Instead of the coffee being added to the ice-cream, the coffee goes in first. What’s different about the glace is that the espresso is generally chilled. This makes for a different taste experience to the affogato. The intensity of the different flavours remains but the jarring contrast in temperature is gone. The ice-cream is also usually softened slightly, so the two elements of the glace are better incorporated. It is probably closer to an iced coffee than an affogato. Again, different flavours of ice-cream can be used, but the classic fior di latte is our go-to for this dessert.

The final ice-cream based coffee is the frappé, which is closer to a beverage than the affogato and the glace. This is the perfect sweet and cooling drink for the summer. As discussed in the previous blog, the word frappé comes from the French for iced or chilled. As the name suggests, this drink is served cold. Different variations call for ice to be included in the recipe, in others, ice is left out. In the versions where ice is used, it is blended with the other ingredients to a milkshake-esque consistency. The other ingredients that are used are chilled espresso, whole milk and ice-cream. As mentioned, they are combined together to create an extremely creamy and delicious beverage. This is one of the easiest coffees to make at home, so make sure to try it out this summer!

The caffè affogato and glace are probably the easiest dessert recipe you’ll ever come across. Using just two ingredients you can enjoy a timeless and fairly lightweight little bit of indulgence. They’re perfect for when you have a few friends over or even just as a little treat for yourself. Likewise with the frappé. They are so simple to make, but they really are a delicious combination of Italy’s finest things!

Our La Brasilera coffees are the perfect place to start:

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