In Starbucks terminology, an affogato shot refers to the addition of an espresso shot to a Frappuccino. To create an espresso shot, hot water is forced through finely-ground coffee beans under high pressure, resulting in a strongly concentrated coffee shot. An affogato, on the other hand, involves pouring hot espresso over ice cream or gelato.

The term affogato shot can be quite perplexing, and it hasn’t gained widespread recognition or usage in coffee establishments worldwide. Starbucks introduced this term in the summer of 2016 as a way to offer customers a unique option for enhancing their Frappuccino orders. Interestingly, an affogato-style shot is closer in resemblance to an espresso shot than the conventional affogato dessert.

What is An Affogato Shot?

The affogato shot is Starbucks’ take on the classic Italian dessert known as an affogato, which involves pouring a shot of hot espresso over a scoop of vanilla gelato or vanilla ice cream. In Italian, affogato loosely translates to drowned. Starbucks uses the term affogato shot or affogato style to describe the act of drowning a Frappuccino with a shot of espresso by essentially pouring the espresso on top of your Frappuccino order.

In essence, it turns a regular Frappuccino into a stronger version with an extra espresso kick. The heat from the espresso melts the blended ice in the Frappuccino, similar to how it interacts with gelato in the traditional affogato, resulting in an added kick of caffeine and bold coffee flavor.

Beyond Starbucks, the term affogato shot can also be used to describe the addition of an espresso shot on top of any blended frozen coffee drink.

What Is An Espresso Shot?

Morning coffee on the terrace in cafe, Cup of espresso on the table in sun light, Breakfast outside.

An espresso shot, or espresso, is a highly concentrated coffee made by forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans using an espresso machine. It’s known for its strong flavor, small serving size, and the creamy foam called crema.

Espresso is typically served in small cups and has a rich, bold taste with a balance of bitterness, acidity, and sweetness. Espresso is enjoyed as a standalone shot or used as the base for various coffee drinks and is a fundamental element of Italian coffee culture.

What Is The Difference Between An Affogato Shot And An Espresso Shot?

An affogato shot and an espresso shot share the same fundamental nature: both are 1-ounce servings of concentrated coffee created by pushing hot water through finely ground coffee beans using high pressure. 

An espresso shot can be consumed on its own or serve as a base for various coffee beverages like cappuccinos and lattes. On the other hand, an affogato shot is essentially a hot espresso shot poured on top of a Frappuccino or a frozen blended coffee drink. This action replicates how espresso drowns and melts the frozen components, akin to what occurs in a traditional Italian dessert.

How Much Caffeine Content Is In An Affogato Shot or Espresso Shot?

A single affogato shot or espresso shot typically contains approximately 70-80mg of caffeine. However, opting for a double shot can increase the caffeine content to around 140-160mg. If you prefer a lower-caffeine alternative, decaffeinated espresso options contain caffeine levels ranging from 3-16mg.

Why Do People Drink Affogatos?

Because they are fantastic! People enjoy drinking affogatos because they combine espresso’s rich and balanced flavors with the sweetness and creaminess of ice cream or gelato. This dessert provides a pleasant contrast in texture and temperature, offers a caffeine boost, and can be enjoyed as a dessert or snack. Affogato’s simplicity, customization options, cultural appeal, and refreshing nature make it a delightful and versatile treat for coffee and dessert lovers.

Check out our recipes for some scrumptious affogatos: How to Make AffogatoCaramel AffogatoHot Chocolate Affogato.

Are You Supposed To Eat Or Drink An Affogato?

An affogato is designed to be a combination of eating and drinking. It involves enjoying a spoonful of ice cream or gelato while also sipping hot espresso. This dual experience allows for a contrast in flavors, temperatures, and textures, making it a delightful treat for those who appreciate the fusion of coffee and dessert.

Can I Order An Affogato At Starbucks?

At Starbucks, you won’t find a conventional affogato, but they do provide their own unique take called the affogato-style shot. This option allows you to include a hot espresso shot atop your Frappuccino of choice, whether it’s Vanilla Bean, Caramel, Mocha, or any other flavor in their lineup.

How Do I Order An Affogato From Starbucks?

Ask your local Starbucks barista for an affogato style shot on your Frappuccino order. It won’t be your traditional affogato, it is Starbucks’ version of affogato, where your Frappuccino order will have hot espresso poured on top.

What Do Affogato Style Shots Mean?

Affogato style shot means a shot of hot espresso is poured on top of your Frappuccino Starbucks drink, creating an interesting marbling effect.