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.