Dairy-Free Dessert Inspiration: Cold Brew Float (or Affogato!) With Coconut Ice Cream

Last Update: May 19, 2023

Starbucks’ adult version of the classic root beer float is exactly what you think it is—a truly ideal pick-me-up for an afternoon slump.

All you need: a scoop of rich, vanilla bean-flecked ice cream and about eight ounces of cold brew coffee. Or kick it up a notch by swapping the cold brew for freshly brewed espresso for an affogato. The term translates to “drowned” in Italian, which is exactly what happens to the ice cream as piping hot espresso is drizzled over the top. Whether you choose to go affogato-style or cold brew float, the result is a decadent, caffeinated dream—and so easy to make.

This coconut milk–based recipe is perfect for dairy-free eaters, and it makes an excellent replacement for conventional vanilla ice cream. Plus, coconut milk contains medium chain triglycerides, which have been shown to boost metabolism and energy levels.

Are we justifying putting ice cream in your coffee and calling it healthy? Maybe … (you’re welcome).

Coconut-Vanilla Ice Cream

Yield: 4 servings
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes


For the coconut ice cream:
2 vanilla beans
27 ounces coconut cream
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
Pinch large flake sea salt

Special equipment: ice cream maker

For the float or affogato
16 ounces of cold brew coffee or 2-4 ounces of hot espresso (depending on desired strength)


Make the coconut ice cream

Slice vanilla beans lengthwise, then scrape out seeds with a sharp paring knife. Add beans and seeds to coconut cream in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cover, turn off heat, and let infuse for 15 minutes. Remove beans and keep mixture warm over low heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually pour in warm coconut cream mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in salt. Return mixture to pot and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.

Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, then cover and chill in the fridge at least 1 hour. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a parchment-lined metal container or loaf pan to store in freezer.

Assemble the float or affogato

For float: Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of a tall glass. Pour 8 to 16 ounces of cold brewed coffee over, depending on how strong you’d like your drink. Serve with a straw.

For affogato: Use about one scoop of vanilla ice cream to every ounce of espresso. Place ice cream to a highball glass, and pour freshly brewed (hot!) espresso over the top.

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

Share this article

Thrive Market

Wholesome products. Wholesale prices.

Download the app for easy shopping on the go

By providing your mobile number, you agree to receive marketing text messages from Thrive Market. Consent not a condition to purchase. Msg & data rates apply. Msg frequency varies. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel.

If you are visually-impaired and having difficulty with our website, call us at 1‑855‑997‑2315

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

© Thrive Market 2024 All rights reserved.