Sea Salt Affogato, inspired by 85°C

Sea Salt Affogato | bettysliu.comA few years ago in college, I spent a few months in Shanghai completing an architecture internship with a small international architecture firm. The days were hot and humid, but I’d leave pretty early in the morning from my apartment to commute to work, and luckily for me, there was a branch of the ubiquitous 85C Bakery cafe right below my apartment. Needless to say, I had a lot of coffee, milk tea, and pastries to accompany my commute. One of my favorites was their sea salt coffee, a delicious iced coffee drink topped with decadently whipped sea salt cream. The combination was amazing – the right balance of necessary coffee, creaminess, and the touch of sea salt. Fast forward to when my passion for food really started, and I began to discover that sea salt atop sweets was just a magical combination. This affogato recipe is entirely inspired by this drink, by those seemingly mundane but sweet walks to work, relishing in the relatively cool and sort-of empty streets of Shanghai, sipping on coffee/cream/sea-salt-ness.

vitamixx| bettysliu-69

sea salt affogato | bettysliu.comAffogato is espresso over ice cream – and my favorite way to eat it is simply: vanilla ice cream and strong hot espresso. The espresso partly melts the ice cream and the combination is truly delicious. This sea salt affogato contains plain vanilla ice cream, espresso, and sea salt whipped cream, with a tiny bit of pistachios on top for crunch. Everything sort of melds together and it’s a delicious mouthful of cold vanilla ice cream, soft and pillow-y whipped cream, and warm, rich espresso.

sea salt affogato |

This post is kindly sponsored by Vitamix, and I’m so excited to try out their Dry Grains Container to grind my coffee beans. It’s a grinder like I’ve never used before – differentiating percolator, pourover, and french press grinds is the amount of time. I made espresso using a percolator on the stove top, and for that you grind for 7-8 seconds. However, for very fine grind such as for espresso machine, you can grind for 20 seconds.

sea salt affogato | bettysliu.comsea salt affogato |

sea salt affogato | bettysliu.comsea salt affogato |

I’m currently in Valentina’s gorgeous kitchen. Last night we said goodbye to our 9 attendees after a gorgeous meal during sunset in the Italian countryside. Produce fresh from her garden, cooked to perfection for piadinis by her mother the chef, it was the perfect evening. These past few days have been a blur (as always with workshops), and I’m so so happy to be here. It’s seriously been a dream. A full, comprehensive recap post soon, I promise!

sea salt affogato sea salt affogato | bettysliu.comsea salt affogato |
For a video of putting this sea salt affogato together, see my Instagram, where I post most of my longer stop-motion videos :).

This post is sponsored by Vitamix. All opinions expressed are purely my own, as always. Thank you so much for supporting the companies that support this blog. Their dry goods container is intriguing to use, and I’m excited to try using it to grind flours from grains!!! The possibilities are endless. Again, they’re offering this container for $50 with the purchase of a new full size Vitamix (available at Sur la Table and Vitamix) 

linen + glass cups – shop fog linen / mortar and pestle – boston general store  / dessert spoons – simon pearce


  • For sea salt, you can use any kind you want. I’m in love with flaky malden sea salt, so I took it and pinched it so it crumbled some more and added it in. The flavor came out really nicely – the salt flavor should not be hidden but should be embraced. You can use regular sea salt or even fancy salts such as pink salt!

RECIPE: Sea Salt Affogato

Sea Salt Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream, cold
1 tsp malden sea salt

Whip cream until soft peaks JUST begins to form (but do not form). It will stay soft and cloud-liked. Gently stir in sea salt.

Sea Salt Affogato
vanilla ice cream
sea salt whipped cream
optional toppings: pistachios, nuts, caramel

Place 2 small scoops vanilla ice cream in bowls. Pour 1 shot espresso over, or three tablespoons of strongly brewed coffee. Top with pistachios and generous dollops of sea salt whipped cream.


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  • i finally tried an affogato last week, and it was delicious!! so naturally, i’ve been thinking about affogatos too much. and i like the 85 in irvine better than the san jose one (usually near the former, currently near the latter), aka i need my sea salt coffee fix and this sounds perfect to do that with (:ReplyCancel

    • Oh really! I had no idea there are so many in CA. Theres one near Fremont, where my hometown is, and we go there to get our sea salt coffee fix too :). Go go go! And then eat all the pastries!ReplyCancel

  • I’m so in love with this! I fell hard for affogatos in college, but I’ve never made them at home for some reason. The sea salt whipped cream idea is a stunner.ReplyCancel

    • Aw thank you Sara!!!! I fell hard for affogato the first time I tried ti too – it’s just such a genius combination, and honestly who can say no to espresso + ice cream????ReplyCancel

  • Love the sea salt coffee from 85C, I think the only way it can be improved on is making it an affogato!!!ReplyCancel

    • I totally agree, Joyce and Betty! It’s one of the few drinks that I indulge in and satisfies my dessert and coffee necessities….this must be out of this world. 0_0ReplyCancel

  • I’ve actually never tried an affogato, but with my love of ice cream and coffee I can’t imagine not liking it. Inspiration from food linked with memories and events are always some of my favourite stories – I can just imagine you picking up a morning coffee in Shanghai. and YES to sea salt – I ground some over my chocolate chip cookies before baking last night and it just elevates the chocolate flavour so much. xReplyCancel

    • You would love it! Give it a try! nice, hot strong espresso over delicious ice cream. I usually like to keep the ice cream flavor quite simple, to let the flavors really meld together!

      PS those chocolate chip cookies sound AMAZING.ReplyCancel

  • This looks seriously amazing! I will need to try it. I love your work!ReplyCancel

  • Betty! This affogato elicits such a strong sense of nostalgia for me (I used to work at a gelato shop back in college and it was one of our specialties). Absolutely love these photos, and that video you posted on instagram! You make the most amazing stop motion videos.

    Also also, totally unrelated but I’m loving the new tats, especially the one on your upper arm, I come see it irl sometime okay?ReplyCancel

    • Summer!!! <3 wow, gelato shop in college? What else did you do? You have so many skills. I definitely want to show off my tats in person -I've been talking with Valentina and I"m determined to make a NY trip happen this fall!ReplyCancel

  • I love affogato, it reminds me of holidays in Italy! Such a lovely post Betty!ReplyCancel

    • I love the way food links memories in different ways – this is affogato, yet this was inspired by my summer in Shanghai. You saw this and reminded you of holidays in Italy (which makes more sense). Thank you for your lovely comment Louise!ReplyCancel

  • I had no idea that sea salt coffee, or affogato for the matter, was even a thing but these are total stunners and I cannot wait to try them. So beautiful! xoReplyCancel

  • These look incredibly good. I am definitely trying them 😀ReplyCancel

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