Coffee Bean Ice Cream

Hooray for July and 3 cheers for National Ice Cream Month! If I had to choose a favorite dessert, it would without a doubt, be ice cream; and if I had to choose a favorite flavor of ice cream, I could not. This flavor indecisiveness is exactly what prompted me to pose the following question to my Baking 4 Six Facebook Page Fans, “What flavor ice cream would you like to see?” I received a whopping 2 responses, better than “0” and WAY more manageable than 100, with the first flavor request being coffee. I was pretty excited about that since coffee ranks very high on my favorite ice cream flavor list.

The quest was on and once I read the post by Simply Recipes (from 2007), I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this was the ONE. As if my taste buds were not salivating enough just from reading the recipe, they were on over-drive as the coffee beans were steeping, filling my kitchen with delicious coffee shop-esque aroma. If you are in a hurry, this is not the recipe for you. If you are a believer in “Good Things Come to Those Who Wait”, then you won’t be disappointed. The coffee flavor is deep & rich and the texture creamy & dreamy.


1 1/2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans – divided (I used a darker roast)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

5 large egg yolks

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. finely ground coffee beans

*optional 1/2 – 1 tsp. instant espresso powder (I added 1 tsp.) -this is not part of the original recipe.


In a saucepan, stir together the milk, sugar, salt, coffee beans and 1/2 cup of cream over medium heat – remove from heat just as it starts to bubble (mine started at the sides).

Set aside, cover, and allow to steep for 1 hour (so that the flavor of the coffee beans is infused into the milk/cream mixture). Whisk the 5 egg yolks into a separate medium-sized bowl.

Add the remaining 1 cup of cream to a bowl, place the bowl over an ice bath (a second, larger bowl filled with ice) and set a strainer over the bowl of cream. Re-heat the “steeped” coffee infused mixture over medium heat, just until bubbly. Whisk the egg mixture constantly while S-L-O-W-L-Y pouring in the heated coffee mixture into the egg yolks so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk, but not cooked by it. (In other words, you don’t want the hot mixture to “scramble” the eggs.)

Return the egg/coffee mixture to the saucepan over medium heat.  Cook the mixture, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula or spoon forming a custard; until the temperature reaches 170 F on a quick read thermometer. (Approximately 10 minutes). *If the mixture gets too hot, the eggs will start to curdle. Don’t worry if a little curdling occurs, since the mixture is strained in the next step.

Pour the custard/bean through the strainer and stir it into the cream. While straining the mixture, press on the coffee beans to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible. (tip: use a heavy-bottom glass cup).  Discard the beans & any curdled mixture left in the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and finely ground coffee beans. (and the optional 1/2 – 1 tsp. of instant espresso powder/instant coffee powder is another option)

Place the bowl of  “coffee ice cream” mixture into the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.  Once the mixture is chilled, pour into the ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Makes one quart to be enjoyed by one or more if you’re nice & are willing to share 😉

Source: Slightly adapted from Simply Recipes from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz



    • One of my favorite ice creams to buy (but I haven’t for a few years) is Starbucks Java Chip. When I was making this recipe, I was already thinking how I could replicate that flavor. 1 1/2 years ago Starbucks sold chocolate covered cocoa beans; they weren’t the whole beans, just pieces. – Cocoa beans “rock”.

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