Espresso Granita

poor girl espresso granita
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Estimated cost for four: $1.57. The lowest cost way to make this is, of course, to use leftover coffee or espresso, but if you were to estimate the cost based on brewing four 6-ounce cups for this specific purpose, and using Fair Trade coffee that costs $12.99 for approximately forty 6-ounce servings, that would be $1.30. The water is free, my friend, for you have running water at your house, or at least I certainly hope you do. Three-quarters of a cup of sugar is 14¢, and 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder is 13¢ for the fancy, imported type.


1 1/2 cups brewed espresso or coffee
1 1/2 cups water
3/4cup granulated sugar
1tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder, plus additional for garnish (optional)
Whipped cream, for garnish


  1. Combine the espresso, water, sugar, and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl and get out your whisk. Whisk vigorously to ensure that all of the sugar dissolves and the cocoa is combined into the mix. If it isn’t already cool, cool the espresso mixture completely in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
  2. Now, here comes the personal choice part of the recipe. If you like a creamier texture, process the granita in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then transfer it to an airtight container, and freeze for an hour before serving.
  3. If you prefer a little more of the shaved ice-style texture, place the espresso mixture in a 9 by 13-inch freezer-safe roasting pan, such as Pyrex, and allow it to freeze for 2 hours. Scrape all of the contents of the pan up with a fork, and I do mean all of it. Do not leave any icy bit unscraped. Return it to the freezer for an hour, and then serve it forth with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder, in an espresso cup if you’d like to earn additional adorable points.

NOTE: Store the leftover coffee in an airtight container and place them in the refrigerator for a day or two before you intend to make this. I often have this as my morning coffee in the summer. Simply add enough milk to get it to your desired lightness, and there you have a super-inexpensive fancy coffee shop–style drink. Sweet. .

Reprinted with permission from Amy McCoy’s Poor Girl Gourmet: Eating In Style on A Bare-Bones Budget (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2010). See more recipes and tips on Amy’s blog.