Like Coffee? Like Ice Cream? You're Gonna Love The Affogato.
Welcome to Unfiltered, our weekly feature that explores the Dallas coffee scene — and how it often manages to thrive in the most unusual places. Given that we live in a time when Starbucks locations are about as prevalent as the golden McDonald's arches, when new coffee shops seem to open every other week and when almost everyone uses a ChemEx to brew their coffee, we're here to show you some alternatives — for when your coffee shop routine becomes monotonous or when you're just looking for something different in your caffeine endeavors.
One of the easiest ways to classify coffee consumers is to ask one simple question: Do you take it with or without cream?
Black coffee drinkers can be pretty straightforward, with the only dividing factors being which forms of coffee extraction they prefer and whether or not to add sweetener. The creamer crowd, on the other hand, is a little more diversified considering all the different options for taking one's coffee down (or up) a notch or two.
These days, in addition to all of the standard dairy products at our disposal, you can barely walk into a grocery store without seeing coffee creamers coming in flavors that could give Baskin Robbins a run for its money. Basically, at this point, if it's a dairy product, you can put it in your coffee — and to sometimes surprising results.
My point is that the coffee experience is evolving from just a morning pick-me-up into something that places it in a category that's almost dessert-like. Innovations like the frappuccino and drinks of its ilk have managed to carve out a market of people looking to combine their caffeine and sweet fixes (even if it's a bastardization of a milkshake with barely any real coffee inside) toward getting a shit ton of dairy and sugar with just enough of a fake coffee taste included to fake the funk.
But here's the thing: It doesn't have to be this way.
Enter the affogato, which, put simply, is just a scoop of ice cream topped with a shot of espresso. Italians have been serving up this mixture of bold and sweet and hot and cold for years. But, until very recently, it remained a hard-to-find treat in the Dallas coffee scene. As everyone focused on cortados and cold brews, the affogato largely remained under the radar.
Then a few area shops decided to shine light on the sweet treat.
Take Serj Books, for instance.
The newly-opened Downtown bookstore and cafe serves affogatos made with Henry's Homemade Ice Cream and coffee from Noble Coyote Coffee. Non-electrically-pulled espresso is then poured on your choice of more than a dozen ice cream flavors. Need a little more flair? You can also order it topped with a cookie.
Also made with Noble Coyote Coffee, the affogato here is more like a float made with freshly brewed coffee — not to mention ice cream that's made on site.
Not into coffee at all? Here, they can also do their affogatos with hot chocolate, making it a more kid-friendly option for those hoping to prevent inevitable caffeine addictions in their offspring.
Then, out in the suburbs, Trio Craft Coffee in Flower Mound does a seasonal take on the treat, substituting the traditional vanilla ice cream with a pumpkin spice flavor for the fall.
The shop is known for featuring multiple roasters, but you can currently see Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters' Hidden City on the espresso bar.
No matter the season, though, ice cream is a great compliment for coffee, since it provides you with both a cooling and sweetening element.
So, next time you;re in need of your caffeine fix, you might want to consider changing up your routine and ordering an affogato. That, or maybe you can just take a waltz down the ice cream aisle instead of buying sweetener.
Either way, you'll see: It's the best of both worlds.
Cover photo and photos 1, 2 and 5 by Kathy Tran. Photos 3 and 4 by Lauren Kuehmeier.