cup with a scoop of espresso gelato


No beans, no machines, no baristas were used in the making of Espresso Gelato. It’s so much easier than all of that. To get the intensity, the high octane kick and the creamy richness of a ristretto shot in gelato form all it takes is two things – powder and alcohol.


Espresso powder is not instant coffee. It is not espresso grounds. Primarily used by bakers, it is brewed espresso that is dehydrated. When added to a liquid (like milk) it completely dissolves. Sound a lot like instant coffee? The only difference is that espresso powder doesn’t taste like something found in a motel kitchenette on Highway 43.

Espresso grounds (beans) taste fantastic but they don’t dissolve so the gelato ends up gritty. Cooking the grounds with the milk then straining them out is one solution but quite frankly it’s just not worth the extra work. Espresso powder guarantees great results every time.


Yeah coffee liqueur. Seriously. Not that crusty, overly syrupy bottle from 2001 in the back of the closet. A really good one is pure magic – alcohol, and coffee together! Why shouldn’t it be delicious? Galliano’s Ristretto has a great balance of bitter and chocolate notes giving the gelato a slight tiramisu vibe. No sponsor influence here, just my personal preference. There are a lot decently priced options out there including some really amazing small batch liqueurs. Look for one without artificial flavors. Ultimately whatever tastes good to you is the right choice.

Caffeine, alcohol and gelato – the perfect shot.



A delicious caffeinated espresso gelato with a slight kick of alcohol. No fancy machines or baristas needed.  The combination of espresso powder, coffee liqueur and milk work together to create a rich creamy flavor that is a little like tiramisu 


  • 162g  sugar
  •   51g  non-fat milk powder
  •   12g  tapioca starch
  • 616g  whole milk
  • 173g   cream
  •   23g   light corn syrup
  •   12g    instant espresso powder
  •  35g    espresso or coffee liqueur



Make an ice bath and set aside. Have a clean bowl and a fine mesh strainer standing by. 


Combine sugar, non-fat milk powder, and tapioca starch. Mix milk and cream in a large bowl.  Whisk in the dry ingredients until there are no lumps. Thoroughly incorporate the corn syrup, being sure to scrape all of it into the bowl.  


Place the mixture in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes.  Heat until bubbles start forming around the edges but do not let it come to a full rolling boil.  Keep stirring the mixture while it cooks.  In the last few minutes mix a bit faster as the mixture begins to thicken. Once it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, pour it through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl that is standing by.   Stir in the espresso powder.   Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the gelato to prevent a skin from forming. Put the bowl of hot gelato into the ice bath.


After the gelato has cooled, remove from the ice bath and refrigerate for 5-12 hours.


Add in the liqueur and give the gelato a quick stir with an immersion blender or whisk.  Process in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  The gelato is finished when it is the consistency of soft serve ice cream (about 20-30 minutes in most machines) Scoop into a container, place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on the surface and freeze until firm (4 hours minimum)


After curing in the refrigerator be sure to thoroughly mix the gelato to make sure all the espresso powder has completely dissolved and the liqueur incorporated.  

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