The Affogato Cubano at Fifty Licks in Portland is Creamy, Caffeinated Bliss


Affogato with a side of espresso [Photograph: Lindsay A. Strannigan]

Chad Draizin has been creating specialty ice creams under the moniker of Fifty Licks for years, operating out of commissary kitchens, ice cream carts, and food trucks. He finally opened his first brick and mortar shop in August of 2013, creating a home for his ice cream that's clean, simple, and straightforward. It doesn't need a lot of bells and whistles, as the ice cream speaks for itself.

Fifty Licks specializes in making French-style, custard-based ice creams, and with flavors such as Blood Orange Creamsicle, Cherry Bourbon, and Jasmine Rice with Fragrant Pandan, it's easy to imagine why Fifty Licks is a popular destination for ice-cream afficionados of all ages.

Amidst the array of inventive ice cream offerings, there was one item on the menu that caught my eye: The Affogato Cubano ($6.50). A standard affogato is a clever pairing of two of life's most glorious treasures: espresso and ice cream. Fifty Licks' version of the affogato takes it up a notch by combining their Toasted Milk Ice Cream with freshly a brewed cup of Cafe Cubano. It's quite the dynamic duo.


The base is toasted milk ice cream

A tribute to Draizin's roots in southern Florida, the Cafe Cubano is made with Cafe Bustelo coffee grounds and demerara sugar. The coffee is intense, dark, rich, and sweet. It's a perfect compliment to the delightfully creamy Toasted Milk ice cream, with its subtle flavors of roasted nuts, burnt sugar, and graham crackers. (Fun fact: the idea for the Toasted Milk ice cream flavor came to Draizin in a dream.) As the warm coffee is poured over the ice cream, the two come together to create the perfect marriage of creamy, caffeinated bliss. The Affogato Cubano is best enjoyed immediately, before it devolves into a coffee milkshake, and is served with an extra shot of Cafe Cubano on the side, just for kicks.