Simple Coffee Granita Recipe

There’s a ritual around food in Mediterranean cultures. Coffee is a big part of that food culture. It’s an essential part of starting the day, it’s how you get together in the late afternoon.

In Sicily, coffee became a simple treat to enjoy during the hot summer months. That’s how granita came to be.

If you want a sweet treat that you can make yourself with very little kitchen tools, this is it. You don’t need to dig the ice cream maker out from the closet. You just need a couple of pots, some sugar, and strong coffee.

Are you ready to learn how to make a simple coffee granita? Let’s get to it.

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Where Does Granita Fit on the Mediterranean Diet?

Wait, can you still have granita on the Mediterranean Diet? Yes, you can.

Obviously, this is very high is sugar. Granita is a nice sweet treat to have once every now and again. Another trick to enjoy granita is to keep your portions small. You don’t need a huge bowl of it like you’re scooping our a gallon of ice cream.

It takes a lot of work to get a small cup of granita because you have to scrape it yourself, which turns into another incentive to keep your portions small.

It also helps to remember that the caffeine and sugar will keep you up until 3am. Trust me, I learned that from experience.

You don’t want to have it nightly. You might as well eat fast food because there’s so much sugar in it.

I have a sweet tooth, so I have it once a week during the summer months. During the winter, I just want to bundle up with some hot tea.

What I love about granita is that you can get incredibly creative with it. You can use all types of Mediterranean flavors, including figs, raspberries, lemon, chocolate, and almond. If you wanted to try different flavors, use this recipe as your base and replace the coffee with whatever flavor you choose.

Coffee Granita Ingredients

Are you ready to come up with a huge grocery list to make granita? Seriously, you just need three things: strong coffee, sugar, and water.

That’s it.

The trick to a good granita is the coffee. The best coffee for granita is made in a Moka pot or espresso maker. I’m super old-school, and a bit of a snob, so I have a Moka pot. Plus, you can get these for like $20 on Amazon.

coffee coming out of a moka pot

As for the coffee itself, it depends on what you like. I love Café Bustelo and have that every morning. Lavazza is another espresso brand that you can use, too. Lavazza will give you a strong coffee, but a lighter flavor.

Of course, if you’re planning on having this in the evening after a pasta meal and don’t want the caffeine, you can opt for decaffeinated. Both brands listed above do offer a decaf version so you won’t be buzzing around for hours afterward.

If you don’t have a Moka pot or espresso maker, a French press or regular coffee maker will do. Instant coffee would work as well. You just have to make it really, really strong for the full flavors to come through.

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Sugar and Ice and Everything Nice

Why doesn’t granita turn into a big block of ice? It’s the sugar!

Believe it or not, the addition of sugar can lower the freezing point of water from 32 degrees. What that freezing point becomes depends on the amount of sugar.

Sugar essentially changes the molecular structure of the mixture, and when it freezes, it forms crystals as opposed to a solid block. That’s why it’s so easy to break up the granita in a fork.

Simple Coffee Granita

This simple and sweet treat is perfect for hot summer months.
Prep Time20 minutes
Freezing Time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8
Calories: 71kcal
Author: Heather McDaniel


  • Medium saucepan
  • Container for freezing


  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Strong Coffee
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Orange Peel or Sprig of Mint For garnish


  • Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Put over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
  • For the coffee, you can use instant coffee. I prefer to make a strong batch of coffee in a Moka pot. Let it cool for a few minutes. If you plan to have this treat a night, you may want to stick with decaffeinated coffee.
  • Combine the two in a container and place in the freezer.
  • Scrape it on the top with a fork and serve in a small cup.

Serving Tips

Combine the two in a container and place in the freezer. Check it after about two hours. You’ll be able to scrape across the top with a fork, though it will still be slushy.

scraping frozen coffee granita

This is where you need to be patient. Your best bet is to let the granita sit overnight in the freezer and enjoy it the next day.

Serve in a small cup with mint or orange peel for garnish. In Sicily, it’s common for granita to be served with a dollop of fresh cream and a brioche sweet bun.

Coffee Granita: The Perfect Summer Treat

When it’s hot out, you naturally want to have your caffeine and a way to cool down. Rather than turn to an iced drink at a coffee shop, you can make this simple coffee granita recipe at home.

It takes little time and effort. It does take a little bit of planning ahead so you give the mixture some time to freeze.

Do you want more great Mediterranean Diet recipes? Head over to the Recipes section of this site and check out the latest.


Heather McDaniel is the founder of Invincible Women Fitness Academy, and a nationally certified fitness and nutrition coach. Inspired by her Italian roots and living in Spain, she loves to explore and share the benefits of the Mediterranean Lifestyle. She works with women all over the world, helping them rediscover their strength, health, and confidence.

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