Starbucks will start serving ice cream at more than 100 stores -- and it's a major sign for the future

Starbucks is about to begin serving ice cream at more than 100 stores across the US.

This week, the coffee chain will begin serving the Roastery Affogato menu at 10 upscale Reserve bar locations in Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington, DC.

Affogatos, an Italian treat, are created by pouring a shot of espresso on top of a scoop of ice cream. At Reserve bar locations, the menu will range from the Classic Affogato for $US6 to the $US8.50 Cold Brew Malt, made with small-lot cold brew, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate bitters.

Starbucks is additionally testing a slightly less expensive affogato menu at 100 traditional Starbucks locations in Orange County, California. These locations will serve similar treats, but won’t use small-lot brews, meaning the most expensive item is the $US6.40 cold brew malt made with Starbucks’ Narino 70 cold brew and chocolate bitters.

The affogatos draw their inspiration from Starbucks’ Seattle Roastery, which added an affogato to the menu last June. Since then, Starbucks says that the affogato became a top five menu item at the Roastery, even in the winter.

Variations on the Roastery’s classic affogato include a cold brew ice cream float and the Shakerato Affogato, which is made with icy shaken espresso and finished with vanilla syrup and a mint sprig. Last year, the upscale affogato and its variants seemed too complex to be served at most Starbucks locations.

AffogatoStarbucksThe Shakerato Affogato

Instead, last summer, Starbucks rolled out three Affogato-style Frappuccino flavours, vanilla bean, caramel, and mocha. Now, the coffee giant is pushing the limits on how far it can take Roastery-style beverages.

With CEO Howard Schultz stepping down to focus on Starbucks’ premium Roastery efforts, one of the coffee giant’s biggest challenges is figuring out how to take inspiration from the Willy Wonka-esque coffee roastery and apply its learnings to menus at Starbucks around the world.

The affogato fits into this plan perfectly, pairing a flavour customers across the US already enjoy (ice cream), with the legitimacy of a classic Italian dessert.

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