Originating from Sicily, Italy, coffee granita is a refreshing frozen treat that is perfect for hot summer days. Think a sophisticated slushie! For the coffee lovers or coffee ice cream lovers – it’s a great pick me up and is super delicious!
Plus below is a list to have the best coffee (or espresso) granita in Italy!
What is Granita
Granita is a semi-frozen dessert that originated in Sicily. It is made by freezing a mixture of sugar, water, and flavorings, such as fruit juice, tea, or coffee. The mixture is stirred occasionally as it freezes, which creates its characteristic texture. Granita has a coarse, crystalline texture, and it is typically served in a cup or glass with a spoon.
Coffee granita is made by brewing strong black coffee and adding sugar and flavorings, such as vanilla extract or coffee liqueur. The result is a refreshing and caffeinated dessert that is perfect for hot summer days.
Sometimes you see it as espresso granita – but it’s the same thing. I make it with espresso coffee, but you can use regular coffee if you don’t like it so strong or don’t have it in the house.
One of the benefits of coffee granita is that it is a great way to use up leftover coffee. Additionally, coffee granita can be made with decaffeinated coffee for those who want to enjoy the flavor of coffee without the caffeine.
You don’t need an ice cream maker to make this easy dessert; just a blender or food processor and freezer would do.
It’s also vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, unless you want to add a splash of milk or whipped cream.
Making coffee granita requires a few simple ingredients that can be found in most kitchens. The main ingredients include:
Strong Brewed Coffee: Use freshly brewed hot coffee or espresso for the best results. The coffee should be strong and flavorful. I brewed it slightly lover than usually, but some might even recommend leaving it a half hour.
Sugar: I used granulated white sugar to make the granita, but you can use demerara sugar or brown sugar.
While the main ingredients are all that is needed to make a delicious coffee granita, there are a few optional add-ons that can be used to enhance the flavor. These include:
- Milk: Adding a splash of milk to the granita can create a creamier texture and add a touch of sweetness.
- Dark chocolate: Shaved or grated dark chocolate can be sprinkled on top of the granita for a decadent touch.
- Lemon or citrus zest: Adding a sprinkle of lemon or citrus zest to the granita can add a bright, refreshing flavor.
- Cinnamon stick: A cinnamon stick can be added to the coffee and sugar mixture while it is brewing for a warm, spicy flavor.
The optional add-ons can be used to customize the flavor and texture to your liking.
To make coffee granita at home, a few tools are needed, but no special equipment, to help create the perfect texture and flavor.
- Coffee maker: You can use any but I like the coffee made from a Bodum Plunger Coffee Maker which you can get on Amazon!
- Measuring cups: Any will do but Pyrex is the best.
- Whisk or fork: To scrape the granita, you need a fork or whisk. This will help you create the icy, flaky texture that makes granita so unique. A fork is the most common tool used for this process, but a whisk can also work well.
By having these tools on hand, making coffee granita at home becomes an easy and enjoyable process..
Making coffee granita is a simple and enjoyable process that can yield a refreshing and creamy dessert. The process consists of brewing strong coffee, creating a sugar syrup, freezing the mixture, scraping it to create ice crystals, and assembling the final product.
Brewing the Coffee
To begin, brew strong coffee using ground coffee and water. You can use the Bodum like I do, or you canuse a coffee filter or muslin to ensure no grounds get in The coffee should be brewed a little stronger than usual to ensure that the flavor is not diluted during the freezing process.
Adding in the sugar
Add the sugar to the hot or warm coffee in a pyrex. Stir until it is dissolved! If you forget then make a simple syrup – of 2 parts sugar to 1 part water and add it to the cold or iced coffee.
After all the sugar dissolves, pour the coffee mixture into a shallow dish or flat pan and place it in the freezer. Every 30 minutes, take it out and stir it with a fork to scrape the ice crystals. Repeat this process until the mixture is completely frozen, which should take about 2-3 hours.
To assemble the final product, scoop the ice crystals into serving dishes and garnish with whipped cream or chocolate shavings. The coffee granita can be stored in the freezer for up to a week, but it is recommended to serve it fresh for the best texture and flavor.
Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Coffee Granita
Making coffee granita is a simple process, but there are a few tips and tricks that can help ensure the perfect texture and flavor. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Patience is Key
One of the most important things to remember when making coffee granita is to be patient. The freezing process takes time, and it’s important to resist the urge to stir the mixture too often. Stirring too much can result in a slushy texture rather than the light and fluffy texture that makes granita so unique. It’s recommended to stir the mixture only once every 30 minutes.
Experiment with Flavor
While traditional coffee granita is made with ground espresso, there’s no reason you can’t experiment with different flavors. Adding a splash of lemon juice can give the granita a refreshing twist, while a bit of vanilla or caramel can add a touch of sweetness. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try out different flavor combinations.
Coffee granita is perfect on its own or paired with a variety of toppings and accompaniments. Here are a few serving suggestions to elevate your coffee granita experience:
Whipped Cream and Vanilla:
Adding a dollop of whipped cream and a hint of vanilla to your coffee granita can enhance its flavor and texture. The creaminess of the whipped cream complements the icy texture of the granita, while the vanilla adds a sweet and aromatic note to the coffee flavor.
Brioche or Mascarpone
For a more indulgent serving suggestion, pair your coffee granita with a slice of buttery brioche or a dollop of rich mascarpone cheese. The sweetness and richness of these accompaniments balance the bitterness of the coffee and create a decadent dessert experience.
Sorbet or Whipping Cream
If you want to experiment with different textures and flavors, try pairing your coffee granita with a scoop of fruit sorbet or a spoonful of whipping or heavy cream. The sorbet adds a fruity and refreshing note to the coffee flavor, while the whipping cream creates a rich and velvety contrast to the icy granita.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between granita and sorbet?
The main difference between granita and sorbet is the texture. Granita has a coarser texture than sorbet, which is smoother and creamier. Additionally, sorbet is made with a sorbet maker, while granita is made by freezing the mixture and scraping it with a fork to create the granita texture.
Is granita gluten-free?
Yes, granita is gluten-free as it does not contain any wheat or gluten-containing ingredients.
How long does granita last in the freezer?
If you store your granita in an airtight container or a properly covered container, it can last for up to a week in the freezer. And while it’s still safe to eat the granita beyond that, it starts becoming overly icy. With each scoop, you’re bound to get more ice crystals in your mouth. Before serving, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly.
Is granita vegan?
Yes, granita is vegan as it does not contain any animal products.
The cherry on top
You can find coffee granita all over Italy – especially the south. Here are a few of my favorites!
- Tazza d’Oro (Rome): Located near the Pantheon, Tazza d’Oro is one of the most famous spots for granita di caffe in Rome. They offer a variety of flavors, including coffee, lemon, and almond. Totally iconic!
- Caffè Sicilia (Noto): This iconic café in Noto is famous for its traditional almond and coffee granita. It’s a must-visit for granita enthusiasts.
- Gran Caffè Gambrinus (Naples): A historic café in Naples, Gran Caffè Gambrinus is renowned for its excellent coffee and traditional coffee granita.
Try a few of these other recipes
You can also try different sorbet recipes. Strawberry, mango, and lime make great sorbets with or without an ice cream maker. Take it up a notch and try fruit combinations!
Here’s the Coffee Granita recipe!
- 2 cups espresso or other very strong coffee
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp coffee liqueur (optional)
- Stir together coffee and sugar in a bowl until sugar is dissolved, then stir in vanilla.
- Pour the mixture into a 9 × 13-inch pan or you can use any container. I use a plastic container.
- Put in the freezer.
- After 30 minutes, take it out and stir with a fork, breaking up the ice crystals.
- Repeat this step about every 30 minutes for about 2 hours.
- Serve immediately or wait a few more hours.
- If it freezes up completely, then you can let it thaw slightly and put in a blender.