Affogato Dessert Bar

Affogato Dessert Bar (via you ever had an Affogato before? In the part of the world where I live, it’s not something you see on dessert menus all that often. In fact, I hadn’t really heard of it until a couple years ago. The details are a bit hazy, like I can’t remember the name of the restaurant I was at, but I do remember thinking something along the lines of: WHOA, THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!!

My brain thinks in all caps and uses too much punctuation sometimes.

It’s a simple dessert, usually just vanilla gelato or ice cream with a hot shot of espresso poured over. I love the blend of hot and cold elements and I also sort of love how it’s a very adult dessert with the addition of espresso. Sort of a grownup sundae, in a way.

Nespresso Pretty Nespresso podsBeing only two ingredients, you really want those ingredients to be top quality. That’s why I was so excited to get to work with Nespresso and the “Experience a cup above” campaign, which is all about highest quality coffee. Their VertuoLine Evoluo machine is so easy to use (no bean grinding or grounds tamping required), and it makes both large cups of coffee and shots of espresso that taste fantastic. Also, check out the box of Grand Cru capsules (in the photo above) that comes with a new machine. So pretty, right?! It seriously looks like an uber fancy box of chocolates. And what’s nice is they’re all made from recycled materials, so it’s not so wasteful.

Even though a traditional Affogato is made with only two ingredients, I thought it would fun to put together a few ideas for a dessert bar centered around this fantastic dessert. This would be the absolutely perfect end to a dinner party or holiday meal you might be hosting this season. Of course you could also use one of the following ideas to just make a little weekend treat for you and a friend and skip the whole bar thing too. Whatever works for you. Now let’s talk flavor combinations!

Affogato Dessert Bar (via If you are hosting and want to set up a dessert bar, all you need are plenty of little bowls or juice cups (I used ramekins too) to fill with your toppings. Here’s a few ideas:

-Caramel & sea salt
-Peanut butter cups, chopped
-Crushed hard candies
-Cookies or cookie crumbs
-Fresh fruit
-Maraschino cherries

But you don’t have to stop at just the toppings. You could also have a few different ice cream or gelato flavors on hand.

Orange sherbert Affogato Chocolate peanutbutter AffogatoA couple that I tried and LOVED were orange sherbet and chocolate ice cream. Orange and espresso pair really nicely together, sort of like orange and chocolate. And of course, if you or your guests are chocolate lovers, then you could switch out the vanilla ice cream or gelato for chocolate or really any other flavor you love.

Peppermint AffogatoA fun seasonal variation is vanilla ice cream with crushed peppermint—just the right amount of holiday cheer and caffeine. 🙂

How to make the best AffogatoSo, there you go. If you’ve never had an Affogato before, you must try one soon. This is one of the easiest desserts to make and it’s so very delicious. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Janae Hardy. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • Oh wow I really love coffee and I’ve never heard of combining both espresso and ice cream. Believe me or not but I’m going to try this at home tommorow – my boyfriend would love it 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  • I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of “individual cups” espresso machines. Don’t get me wrong, Nespresso’s coffee is amazing tastewise and yeah, it’s super easy but gosh is it expensive in the long run. My mother has a Nespresso machine while I have a regular Espresso machine which I need to fill with espresso I ground myself. It’s a one cup machine and I have to clean it up after each use but ultimately, at the end of the year I would have spent maybe 80-100 dollars on espresso while my mom would spend around 800 dollars a year. And she’s not using the more expensive virtuo line you’re showing here. Now granted, this is a sponsored post and this is great coffee and you’re also posting a yummy looking recipe but I just wanted to point out how much more expensive it is in the long run so that people can make a smart decision in line with their budget if they are thinking of getting an espresso machine. Cheers.

  • Hey guys, I really love your blog and all your fun cooking ideas, but please, *please* don’t promote Nestle – they are one of the most unethical companies out there! I don’t know if it’s the same in the US, but here in the UK there have been campaigns against them for decades because of some of their practices.

  • I feel a little spoilt right now. We used to get these in college all the time. We were lucky enough to have a tiny coffee dock in one of our buildings that also served ice cream and would pop in for an affogato after particularly stressful lectures.

  • Oh I love this! The last time I had an affogato was in Santa Fe where I had it made with amaretto gelato – YUM.

  • Yes go Aussies! You can find Affogatos on almost every cafe menu 🙂 Seriously good with a shot of Baileys!

    The trick with vegemite is to have tons of butter and just a scraping of vegemite – my husband makes vegemite sandwiches with a layer as thick as peanut butter and it’s so foul.

    J x

  • This post served it’s purpose perfectly. I now want to go buy that machine and have a dessert party!!! {party of 1 of course}


  • Absolutely love this idea! A bit more sophisticated than a typical ice cream sundae bar, but every bit as fun. 🙂

  • Absolutely love this idea! A bit more sophisticated than a typical ice cream sundae bar, but every bit as fun. 🙂

  • Somehow you’ve made one of the most classic Italian desserts look like American candy! 😉
    It’s a great idea that I’m so going to try!

  • There’s a place close to where I live that makes coffee but also hot chocolate affogatos (with relaly strong, bitter, dark hot chocolate, which would be good if someone was toning down their caffeine intake) – absolutely delicious with cardamom or ginger gelato or ice-cream… but LOVE the Chai idea! Spice with the hot/cold and Sweet sounds incredible!

  • We have a restaurant that used to have affogato on the dessert menu. But it was affogato taken to a whole new level: three scoops of gelato- vanilla, chocolate, & coffee. Served with two little pitchers, one espresso and one warm hazelnut liquor, and a homemade biscotti. Put all of it together- amazing.

  • Verything with coffee is perfect, we love it for desserts!

  • My father, when I was a child, slowly introduced to me to coffee: “Arianna, you are Italian, so you have to drink coffee the right way” – the right way being an espresso . We started with the affogato, because there was ice cream inside. After this one, there were other steps, but i still love affogato and prefer it to the espresso, even now that I´m 23. You can imagine how proud my father is =)

  • Looking amazing <3 ..I love coffee. I thin I am a bit addict.. But just a bit..
    And you made so nice pictures of that!

  • I had never heard of affogato until I moved to Ireland, and here most of the fancy restaurants have it on the dessert menu in the colder months. However, theirs is always boozy! Generally topped with a shot of nice amaretto after the espresso. Gives it a slightly smoother, sweeter taste and texture with a punch– SO GOOD.

  • Aha! I was in Prague last weekend and had this at Café Savoy! I didn’t actually know what it was when I ordered it, but espresso and salted caramel ice cream sounded too good to pass up haha. And it was delicious! The coffee we were served was cold though!

  • This is an amazing idea! I totally love espresso, and a combination with vanilla ice cream and other ingredients would be a perfect dessert for me!

  • Ankara ve İstanbul gibi büyük kentlere yakın olan, her geçen yıl gelişen ve büyüyen Kartepe Kayak Merkezi’nde hem kayak yapacak hem yüzecek hem aktivitelere katılacak hem de tarihi yerleri göreceksiniz.
    Daha Fazla Bilgi İçin Lütfen İnternet Sitemizi Ziyaret Ediniz. #kartepe #kartepeotel #kartepeoteller

  • One of our favourite restaurants serves the ice cream with a seperate shot of coffee and another of frangellico. So yummy.

  • Sounds amazing! You don’t see these very often in the UK, but definitely going to try soon. I have just started to like coffee this summer after 28 years of hating(weird I know!) so very excited to use it in desserts. Need to make up for lost time! 🙂

  • my mum makes this sometimes… usually with the addition of just about any liqueur you’d normally add to coffee (brandy, whiskey, baileys, tia maria…) and it is delicious (and even more adult!)

  • Ohh this looks so yummy!! I just can’t wait to prepare and taste it!!
    Love from {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

  • This is FANTASTIC and I need this in my life!! Haha actually though. I know what I am making this weekend 🙂

  • ugh, I hate that coffee pods are becoming so popular. so much plastic going into the landfill.

  • I can’t believe I still haven’t had an affogato. These look amazing!!


  • Always respect hearing your honest thoughts about companies we work with.


  • I have tried your Vegemite and… yeah, I guess it grows on you? I thought I read that some countries had banned it for some reason too but I thought it was suppose to be healthy.

    I would LOVE to visit your country one day though, looks pretty in pictures.


  • UNREAL!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh! Im going to the grocery store so i can make this RIGHT NOW!!! wow!
    Thank you for sharing! Adffogato is my favorite way to make espresso!
    xoxo, Kate
    Sam and Kate Design

  • This looks like a perfect ladies night in treat! I have to say though, that this post bums me out. I understand that you guys are a business, and the bills have to be paid, but, Nestle? This company is notorious for so many human rights violations. I’m a bit disappointed that you are doing a post sponsored by their company, endorsing their products when you could easily write the same post without including the Nespresso plug.

  • This looks so amazing and a great addition to a holiday party! ♡♡

    xoxoBella |

  • I remember my first affogato, at a cafe in Dubai, where I lived at the time. I was a teenager (but loved coffee) and it made me feel so grown up 🙂 I’ve made them once but need to do it again because we do have an espresso maker! I’ve had nespresso at several friends’ houses and it was amazing. One idea I saw on pinterest was a chai affogato too – it would have to be SUPER strong authentic chai though, not this chai teabag nonsense popular in the states 🙂 Also peppermint ice cream with dark hot chocolate or something. I’d love to try that version though! Or the peanut butter one you pictured….yum.
    Also, I wanted to say I love the photography in this post!

  • This is a totally awesome idea! I’m a big fan of the Italian Moka pot so I can see myself making a giant pot of espresso and having my guests go wild.

  • Yessssssssss!!! Usually you guys are making me jealous of American food but it’s finally happened – this is something awesome that being an Aussie I knew about first 😉 (seeing as I don’t see you doing a post on how awesome Vegemite is anytime soon). Affogatos are super good with a shot of good coffee liquor as well. xAndrea

  • That looks so delicious, love it. I have to try it, great post. Your photos look amazing 🙂

    Valentina from

  • Oh man, now you got me thinking about visiting NOLA again. 🙂 Trey and I loved that town! Will have to try Creole Creamery next time we go.


  • This looks super yummy, being from North Mississippi, I’d never had a Affogato until I moved to New Orleans. Next time you are in NOLA, go to Creole Creamery and get one over their made-in-house ice creams or sorbets. Honestly, one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. My sister and her husband are vegans and they had a coconut sorbet affogato and they still talk about anytime ice cream or sorbets are mentioned.

    Seriously, some of the best ice cream I have ever had!!! With super unique and local flavors.

  • Affogatos are my go-to dinner party dessert as after making a big meal, making dessert is not on my priority list. But these guys are so easy (I also use my nespresso) and taste like heaven. I like to heat up two bite brownies, put the ice cream on top, then pour the espresso over. So, so good.

  • Oh my sweet goodness! This is such a genius idea! Ice cream bars and dessert tables are so cliche, what a great way to spice up a party or a get together. Definitely doing this sometime soon!

  • YUM! This looks amazing. At Starbucks I always order a vanilla bean frapucinno with a caramel affogato, super delicious.

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