Best Espresso for Affogato

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.

#1: Post by Vitanex »

Hey there, everyone, first-time poster here! I was wondering if anyone has experimented with different roast levels/ origins for espresso affogato. I've found that lighter roasts, especially coffees with more floral and citrus notes like some Ethiopian beans taste great by themselves, but are way too acidic for affogato even when fresh and dialed in. Their acidity just makes the ice cream taste almost like curdled or sour milk. I prefer lighter roast espressos, but I've tried affogato with a few different types of lighter roasted beans, and I've seen these results every time. James Hoffmann did a great video creating an ice cream recipe fine-tuned for espresso affogato, but I haven't found anyone who's tried to pair the espresso to the ice cream. I'm interested if any of you have any thoughts or have wondered about this yourselves! Perhaps espresso affogato is just a bit irrelevant to coffee geeks, but I'm interested in what you all have to say!
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#2: Post by TomC »

Welcome to HB Mackenzie!

Generalized recommendations may not be what you're looking for, but it does just come down to simply trying different things. For the most part, darker roasts can punch thru all that fat and sugar better. The bitter distillate notes are a pleasant counterpoints to the sweetness in the ice cream.

I also think that the textural and visual component of the darker roasted espresso shots add to the appeal of affogoto. It just looks more appealing when you see a thick gooey dark melted chocolate "sauce" of espresso running down the ice cream/gelato.

This is an area that would be fun to explore where folks try different types of ice cream too, not just stick to vanilla. What would a espresso blend with some Indonesian coffee in it, pair with something like a strawberry ice cream? Or a dark roasted natural processed Ethiopian rich with it's berry flavors, over a berry based ice cream?

I see some images in my head of chefs like Grant Achatz of Alina plotting combinations like this.

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#3: Post by Nunas »

I second Tom's suggestion about darker roasts. I usually only make affogatos when we have company (which isn't happening anymore :(). I've noticed that the FC to FC+ roasts come out the best to my taste. But perhaps this is due to conditioning, as this is our usual roast level for espresso. I did have one roast get away from me, which we drank anyway. It was a very dark and somewhat oily Santos, so it was a French or Italian roast. It made reasonable espresso, but I found the smoky flavour didn't work well in an affogato for my spouse or me. So, like so many things in life, perhaps the extremes are to be avoided :lol:

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#4: Post by LBIespresso »

I recall recently-ish there being a thread about the best ice cream for an affogato on here and a debate about gelato vs ice cream and eggs or no eggs.

Since it is more than half of the ingredients by weight it is worth looking into what ice cream to use. A quick search here will find it if you are interested.
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#5: Post by yakster »

I enjoy darker roasted chocolaty espresso with ice cream and do enjoy making an occasional affogato at home.

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#6: Post by CoffeeIsJoy »

Also, James has spoken on this topic, and created a suitable ice cream for his 'perfect' affogato: