Coffee - a must-have flavour for hand-made gelato

Coffee - a must-have flavour for hand-made gelato

Combining strong flavour and ancient Italian tradition, hand-made coffee gelato is one product that no gelato parlour can do without. 

Coffee is the traditional Italian beverage made by roasting and grinding the seeds, known as coffee beans, of tropical plants from the genus Coffea. There are more than a hundred different plant species in this genus, but just a handful of them are widely known and commercially significant, including Coffea arabica, native to Africa and Arabia, Coffea canephora known as “robusta” from tropical Africa, and Coffea liberica grown mainly in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Although the history of coffee is rather uncertain, often being accompanied by a whole series of legends, its origin dates back to ancient times – 900/1000 AD – while its stimulant properties were discovered in around 1454 in what is now Yemen, where people used to make an energy drink from this plant. However, today the flavour of coffee is not restricted to the traditional Yemeni beverage, but can now be found in myriad recipes that use coffee as an ingredient for making pastries and desserts, including of course recipes for hand-made gelato.

With its dense aroma and deep colour, recalling the qualities of the famous traditional Italian beverage, hand-made coffee gelato is always in demand in gelato parlours, both in summer and in autumn. Hand-made coffee gelato is perfect either just on its own, or else combined with other ingredients or used in making delicious alternative recipes, such as affogatos, granitas or frozen desserts.

As for combinations using coffee gelato, acid flavours should be avoided, for example fruit gelatos such as orange, lemon or kiwi. But coffee is a perfect match for delicate creamy hand-made gelato flavours, such as coconut or vanilla, but also combines well with the rich taste of chocolate and the slightly more bitter liqueur and nut flavours. 

Coffee - a must-have flavour for hand-made gelato
Brioche with gelato
Brioche with gelato

Sliced open and filled with gelato, with cream, or even with both, the brioche with gelato is a typical Sicilian speciality which has recently been exported to the rest of Italy; it is becoming increasingly common to see gelato shops offering this delicacy, with regional variations such as croissants and buns or the truly Sicilian “tuppo” brioche.

Vegan gelato, the new trend of Italian gelato-making.
Vegan gelato, the new trend of Italian gelato-making.

The last SIGEP, the International Homemade Gelato, Pastry, and Bakery Fair, in Rimini, saw a trend among all of the major companies in the industry to offer products – and in some cases an entire product line – for vegans. 

Part 2 - Pasteurization and homogenization of italian gelato
Part 2 - Pasteurization and homogenization of italian gelato

After selecting, assaying and processing the raw materials with the other ingredients, the next stages in making hand-made gelato are pasteurization and homogenization.

How to select ingredients for your gelato
How to select ingredients for your gelato

Why do manufacturer of ingredients for gelato parlours offer such a wide range of different bases? As user requirements differ so widely, the products are designed to help the gelato-maker to get consistently balanced mixtures, for creamier, more scoopable gelato.

Part 3 -Maturation and Batch freezing of Italian gelato
Part 3 -Maturation and Batch freezing of Italian gelato

After pasteurization and homogenization, it is time for the mixture to undergo maturation and batch-freezing, which are crucial stages for a good hand-made gelato.

Investments, costs and revenues in opening a gelato shop
Investments, costs and revenues in opening a gelato shop

Over the course of time, Italian gelato has earned itself a reputation for continuous innovation in production methods, technologies and ingredients, often dictated by the needs of both practising and would-be gelato-makers.

Differences between artisan Italian gelato, industrial ice cream and soft ice cream
Differences between artisan Italian gelato, industrial ice cream and soft ice cream

Often the differences between italian gelato, industrial ice cream and soft ice cream are not clear to everyone, even though in Italy the fact that there are so many gelato parlours as well as a history of hand-made gelato making would seem to facilitate this distinction.

How to make a good hand-made gelato
How to make a good hand-made gelato

Making gelato used to involve a machine known as a sorbetière, refrigerated using ice and salt, with the mix being batch frozen by hand using a long spatula-shaped stick. Luckily, things have changed quite a bit since then! 

The role of semi-finished products in gelato-making
The role of semi-finished products in gelato-making

Compound ingredients for gelato or semi-finished products are mixtures of ingredients in powder or paste that the gelato-maker keeps by his side when preparing mixtures (stabilization) and giving them flavor.

Selecting the gelato ingredients
Selecting the gelato ingredients

Choosing the right raw materials is a fundamental part of making outstanding hand-made gelato: the finest milk, eggs and sugar, and the best semi-finished ingredients and semi-finished products are a key component in the creativity of every craftsman.

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