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Italian Coffee Granita

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Fluffy, light and icy cold, coffee granita is the perfect way to enjoy coffee in the Summer months (or any time really!).

With just three ingredients, this coffee granita recipe is super easy to make and is perfect for anyone who loves classic coffee desserts or is looking for easy make ahead dessert ideas.

So if you love homemade granita, let me show you how to make coffee granita at home.

spoonful of granita siciliana hovering above cup.

What Is A Granita?

Granita originates from Italy and is a simple frozen dessert made from water, sugar and flavors.

Traditional granita flavors include lemon, mulberry, coffee and almond, but almost any flavor can be added to make a tasty granita ice.

Shaved ice granita is similar to sorbet, but if comparing granita vs sorbet, granita has a lighter, grainier and fluffier texture than sorbet.

In Sicily, Italy, where granita originates from, it is traditionally served with fresh brioche for breakfast. The brioche is torn and dipped into your glass of granita. What a heavenly combination!

small glass filled with italian granita with coffee and black teaspoon.

Why You’lI Love This Coffee Granita Recipe

There are many reasons why I think you’ll love this coffee granita recipe, but here are the 4 main reasons:

Just three ingredients: This recipe has just three ingredients that you probably have in your pantry.

All natural: One of the top reasons why I love this granita coffee recipe is that unlike other Italian coffee desserts, coffee granita siciliana is comparatively healthy! Made with just water, coffee and sugar, my homemade granita is made from natural ingredients with no preservatives or artificial flavors.

Make ahead no bake dessert: Whilst this recipe does require regular mixing over a couple of hours, it is incredibly simple to prepare without the need to watch it or bake it. Plus you can prepare the dessert ahead of time which frees you up later in the evening.

Customizable: The Sicilians may enjoy granita for breakfast, but it also makes for the perfect afternoon treat or dessert during Summer. Dressed up with a little whipped cream and a dash of liqueur it quickly becomes a memorable dessert for coffee lovers.

If you enjoy coffee desserts, try this creamy coffee mousse, a decadent coffee panna cotta, or one of these delicious coffee dessert recipes.

top view of frozen coffee granita cup.

Homemade Coffee Granita Ingredients

You’ll need just three ingredients to make this homemade coffee granita. The quantities are listed in the recipe card below, so I’ll just quickly touch on the most important coffee granita mix ingredients here.

Strong brewed coffee: The most essential ingredient to make the best granita coffee is strong and hot brewed coffee.

You can make a batch in your drip coffee maker, french press or even a moka pot. For a special espresso granita you could even use an espresso machine.

The type of coffee machine doesn’t matter, but the strength absolutely does.

The coffee needs to be stronger than you would typically brew to drink. If it’s too weak the granita mix will taste watery and sugary.

How To Make Coffee Granita

It couldn’t be simpler to make coffee granita. No special machine or equipment required! Here is a quick overview of how to make coffee granita at home.

For the full recipe, scroll down to the printable recipe card.

top view of coffee granita ingredients in mixing bowl.
coffee granita mix in black tray.

Step 1: Mix your granita ingredients together. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the hot brewed coffee with the sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined and the sugar has dissolved.

It is important you use hot brewed coffee to dissolve the sugar. Otherwise your caffe granita will be grainy. If you only have cold coffee, warm it gently in a saucepan with the other ingredients to dissolve the sugar.

Step 2: Cool and freeze the granita. Many granita recipes call for a large shallow baking tray. This will help the mix freeze more quickly, but I prefer to use a slightly deeper pan as it is easier to stir and mix than when in a shallow tray.

Pour your coffee granita mix into your baking pan and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to cool. Once cooled, transfer to the freezer.

Tip: You can also put your serving glasses in the fridge or freezer so they are cold when serving your frozen granita. This will help keep the granita mix frozen for longer.

top view of partially frozen coffee granita in black tray.
frozen espresso granita fluffed in tray.

Step 3: Scrape and mix the granita. Every 30 minutes, remove the tray from the freezer and whisk or scrape the mixture.

At first the mixture will be soft and a whisk works well to combine the ice with the liquid. Be sure to scrape all the ice in from the edge of the tray. As it begins to firm up, scrape with a fork to give the granita it’s trademark crystallised texture.

Repeat every 30 minutes for 2-3 hours. Granita can have difference textures from light and fluffy to a coarser mix. The more times you scrape the mix with a fork, the lighter it will be. So continue scraping until you have the texture you prefer.

Step 4: Serve your coffee granita dessert. To serve your coffee granita, divide the granita ice into your chilled glasses and serve with a small spoon.

small glass mug filled with frozen coffee granita.

Coffee Granita Recipe Variations

This granita is delicious served plain, but here are three additional ways to serve your frozen granita recipe.

  • With cream: If you’re serving your coffee granita as a dessert, top with a small amount of sweetened whipped cream for a more decadent dessert.
  • With alcohol: Pour a chilled shot of your favorite liqueur over the top of the iced coffee granita. Popular options include Amaretto, Baileys Irish Cream and Kahlua. Make sure you do this AFTER the granita is completely frozen, as liquers can prevent your granita from freezing properly if added to the mixture.
  • With chocolate: For a mocha granita drink similar to a frappe, swirl chocolate syrup into the base of a glass, add your granita mixture to the glass and top with a generous serve of whipped cream.

How To Store Espresso Granita

Iced granita is best enjoyed on the day it is prepared, as the mix can become a little icy when stored for longer in the freezer.

But if you need to prepare it ahead of time, I recommend you transfer the granita espresso to a sealed container once ready to store in the freezer.

Then 30 minutes before serving, remove the granita from the freezer and leave out on the bench to soften slightly.

Use a fork to fluff the granita after it has softened a little before returning to the freezer to firm up slightly before serving in chilled glasses.

espresso granita in cup with text overlay describing recipe.

Recipe Tips For Successs

  • Use strong coffee: A strong batch of coffee is essential for a delicious granita.
  • Fork regularly: You’ll achieve the fluffiest texture by scraping the granita mixture regularly over 2-3 hours.
  • Hot coffee: You must use hot coffee to dissolve the sugar without the need to heat the mixture.

Did you make this recipe? I appreciate you rating the recipe and leaving a comment and join me on Facebook and Pinterest for more tasty coffee recipes.

black teaspoon resting in coffee granita cup.

Coffee Granita

This easy coffee granita recipe is a delicious refreshing treat. Enjoy as an icy cold refreshing snack or serve as an easy Italian dessert for coffee lovers.
4.25 from 4 votes
Servings: 4 serves
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients
 
 

  • 2 cups strong brewed coffee hot
  • cup superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl whisk together the hot coffee with sugar and vanilla until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Transfer to a flat bottomed freezer safe baking pan. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the freezer and use a fork to scrape around the edges and break up the large ice pieces. Return to the freezer.
  • Repeat step 4 every 30 minutes for 2-2.5 hours, breaking up any large ice pieces until you have a light and fluffy icy granita mix.
  • Spoon the granita into chilled glasses and serve immediately.
  • Store any remaining granita in the freezer.

Notes

  1. Don’t use a non-stick tray to freeze your granita, as the fork may scratch and damage the tray’s coating. Use a regular cake pan or glass baking dish instead.
  2. The granita is best eaten on the day it is prepared, but it can be stored in a sealed container in the freezer.
  3. If stored in the freezer, you may need to sit it on the benchtop for 20 minutes to soften before scraping again with a fork before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serve | Calories: 71kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.003g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 61mg | Sugar: 17g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.02mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Rachel Rodda
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Did You Make This?Leave a comment and let me know how it was!

More Coffee Dessert Recipes

If you loved my Sicilian granita recipe, you may like to try some of these delicious dessert recipes with coffee:

Or find all my coffee dessert recipes here.

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coffee granita in glass with text overlay describing recipe.
collage of images of italian coffee granita with text overlay.
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Rachel Rodda

It's no surprise that as a former barista and founder of Creators of Coffee, I'm obsessed with all things coffee. I love to share easy and delicious coffee recipes, expert brewing tips and helpful coffee gear reviews with my fellow coffee lovers!

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