Coffee Ice Cream: How It's Made


Coffee and ice cream go way back

The pairing of gelato or ice cream with espresso in the decadent Italian drink/dessert known as an affogato is a prime example. The fact that an increasing number of boutique cafe menus feature affogatos speaks to the increasing popularity of this bitter + sweet flavor combination. Coffee is a fairly traditional ice cream and gelato flavor, though its popularity has certainly increased in recent years. With the ongoing growth and expansion of the coffee industry- after all, we love (and need!) our caffeine- it is no wonder that ever more creative coffee-based ice cream recipes continue to pop up!

The almost year-round heat of Florida makes drinking hot coffee an impractical endeavor for most. Iced coffee is one solution, until the ice melts as you nurse your drink. At FYI Delray, located blocks from Delray Beach on A1A, the desire for a cool but caffeinated macchiato alternative can be satisfied. Our ice cream, gelato, vegan ice cream, frozen yogurt and dairy free ice cream options each feature a coffee flavor.



There are many ways to make coffee ice cream, each with a varying results. Flavor intensity, bitterness, the presence of coffee grounds in the final product, the use of whole beans- these are some options which impact the spectrum of possible coffee ice creams. The deep and rich flavor of coffee is usually added to a desired frozen treat by virtue of combining coffee beans or grounds with the dairy base. In the case of dairy free and vegan options, the beans or instant coffee are added to the milk alternative or primary base ingredient.

Fresh ingredients matter. Stale coffee makes for stale-tasting coffee ice cream. Choose your favorite medium-roast coffee for a milder result or a dark roast for a more bitter flavor profile. A popular recipe from Driftaway Coffee calls for an ice cream maker and:

  • 5 tablespoons medium-ground coffee

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream

  • 1 ⅔ cups whole milk

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • 6 egg yolks

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, follow these steps:

  1. Combine the heavy cream, coffee, sugar and milk in a saucepan.

  2. Using a low setting, heat the mixture on the stove taking care to stir regularly to avoid scalding of the mixture. Check the temperature with a thermometer, and bring it up to 150°F.

  3. Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl, then add 1 cup of the cream to the yolks.

  4. Whisk the egg and cream mixture into the saucepan containing the rest of the milk, cream, coffee and sugar. Take this step slowly.

  5. Continue to stir regularly and bring the temperature up to 170°F.

  6. You now have your custard! Salt to taste.

  7. Pour the custard into your chosen container using a fine mesh strainer.

  8. Cover with plastic wrap being careful to press the plastic wrap against the surface of the custard- this keeps a skin from forming.

  9. Let it chill! Use the refrigerator, not the freezer- your temperature goal is 41°F or colder, which can take around 2 hours.

  10. Use an ice cream maker to churn the mixture, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

  11. Freezer time. Freeze for at least 4 hours in an airtight container prior to serving.




Of course, if you don’t have an ice cream maker, or you want to save yourself the time and effort (understandable!) you can come to FYI Delray where the work has been done for you! We have a number of coffee flavor options, in our frozen yogurt, vegan ice cream, gelato, dairy free ice cream and regular ice cream varieties. We are located in Pineapple Grove on Atlantic Avenue, west of Delray Beach in the heart of Downtown Delray! Call us with any questions (561) 450-7402 or come chill with us today!