I am writing this post from our bedroom, sitting cross-legged on the white bedspread, the white noise of our air-conditioning loud enough on this warm April Monday to have me wondering why it’s belting out so fiercely and also if I’ve missed the sound of the oven timer going off. I just got up to check—both the air-conditioning and the oven—and turned the air-conditioning off and pulled a tray of near-burned oatmeal cookies from the oven. This activity is sort of a microcosm of my entire life, maybe yours too, this making of messes and then cleaning them up. I mean, from the moment I get up (make the bed!) to the projects throughout the day (Workout; pile sweaty clothes that smell like elephants into the hamper. Do laundry; dump it onto the bed to fold. Prepare dinner; now wash the dishes. Get an assignment; untangle the documents and instructions into something that makes sense). Chaos, order, chaos, order. When Tim’s family was in town visiting a few weeks ago, I told my father-in-law I think I have a learning disability or social disorder where I am constantly seeking order in every environment. I hate the chaos! You should know that Tim’s dad is a very compassionate man, and he has this ability to sound very understanding when he talks, but he nodded and said something like “me too” after that, which was pretty nice of him, I think. If someone is going to tell you they agree with their assessment of your mental lacks, it’s good to have them be empathetic about it.

I always see the hairs I’m shedding on the bathroom floor, every day. I notice the mud that gets tracked in in the kitchen and the stack of bills that need to be organized, and something in my brain throws them, each one of them, onto a sort of Ferris wheel where they keep rotating around and around in my head, demanding I pay attention to them in regular rotation. Even as I’m writing this post, for example, I’m thinking about organizing my dresser (I probably won’t; that one can circle around a few more times) and about what to make for dinner (oh, good, there are beets roasting in the oven, so chalk that one up as almost done). Life is disordered and ordered all at once, you know? My friend Carrie told me at lunch last week that, in her mind, everything is happening all at once; she can’t compartmentalize the problems from the fun Sunday afternoons or the arguments with friends or the great new restaurant we just tried or the children without families around the world. It’s all happening at once to her, she says, and when she tells me that, I nod my head. The brain I’ve been given takes it all in, everything at once, and up in my head it’s chaotic and complex and I can talk for a straight hour without coming up for air when I start to let it out. (Just ask Tim.)

There are good things about this personality, like there are good things about every personality. But there are hard things, too, hard for other people and hard for me, and unlike some personalities that don’t have to think too much about this, I have to take its hardness and throw it up on that Ferris wheel and let it circle back from time to time to be analyzed and examined to be better understood.

This is all what just came out of me when I sat down to write about these affogatos, the idea of which is just pure brilliance: hot beverage (usually espresso but in this case orange cinnamon rooibos tea) poured over a scoop (or two) of sweet (in this case maple honeybush) ice cream. I start thinking about the complexity of life when I want to write about these drinks because I start thinking about the complexity of our time with them yesterday. The drinks are simple. The disaster zone we created in our dining room with them yesterday was not. What started as a black backdrop on the table and a black backdrop behind the French press turned into a dropped backdrop, a broken French press, hot liquid seeping through our farmhouse table and onto the floors and mismatched chairs, broken glass in pieces all over the room, and the two of us throwing towels at everything like a person throws life rafts to the drowning. Life is beautiful and terrible, ordered and disordered, wondrous and chaotic all at once.

ps. I learned to make animated gifs! I hope they don’t make your head hurt.
pps. Einkorn Cookbook update: It is already available for preorder on Amazon. What! One of my oldest friends is getting married Thanksgiving weekend, and I think about her when I look at that far-away publication date. Jackie, you’ll be married when the book comes out! Woah.

Rooibos Honeybush Affogatos
Rooibos Honeybush Affogatos
Rooibos Honeybush Affogatos
Rooibos Honeybush Affogatos

Rooibos Honeybush Affogato


Serving Size: 2 servings

Rooibos Honeybush Affogato

Inspired by Cookie & Kate and Louie Abellera.


    Maple-Honeybush Ice Cream
  • 2 cups milk (we used goat milk)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4 bags organic honeybush tea
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 4 egg yolks
  • rooibos tea
  • 3 tablespoons loose-leaf orange-cinnamon rooibos tea
  • 20 ounces boiling water
  • garnish
  • chopped or shaved dark chocolate, to taste


Start by making the ice cream: In a medium-sized saucepan, heat milk, cream, sea salt, and honeybush tea bags over medium heat for 15 minutes, whisking occasionally (do not boil).

In a medium bowl, whisk together maple syrup and egg yolks. Add 1 tablespoon of warm milk at a time to egg mixture and whisk each tablespoon in until you have added approximately 1/2 cup. Then pour the bowl of tempered egg mixture into the warm milk and stir gently. Stir constantly, being careful not to allow the bottom of the pan to burn or stick. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon (up to another 10-15 minutes, depending on your heat level).

Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool (we cooled in a separate bowl in the fridge) to room temperature before processing in your ice cream maker. Makes 1 quart of ice cream.

To make tea: Steep loose-leaf orange-cinnamon rooibos in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes, until strong and fragrant. Strain or press in French press.

To make affogatos: Scoop 1 to 2 fat scoops of honeybush ice cream into each mug, and pour hot tea on top. Garnish with chocolate as desired.


Teas provided by Lov Organic. The naturally sweet honeybush tea is so light you almost don't believe it's tea when it's brewed, but it's naturally sweet enough that you don't even need to add honey when you drink it; the orange cinnamon rooibos is the perfect accessory for shaved chocolate and ice cream. We're obsessed.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Sophia

    Although I am not sure what my Italian boyfriend would make of an affogato made with tea instead of espresso, I think it is a brilliant idea and one I wish I had thought of ages ago. I love milky tea as it is so the idea of turning that into a grown-up and simple dessert is just wonderful. I love the flavours you describe above so I will definitely need to try this with the next batch of ice cream. As for life’s chaos, I hear you my friend – while I was packing my boxes in Rome the absurdity of having to pack everything only to unpack it again struck me (and slowed down my packing somewhat!).

    1. Shanna Mallon

      ha! I know, right? we way hijacked the idea, but at least the results were delicious! I can’t believe how much of my life I’ve spent not putting ice cream in hot drinks. What a waste! Such a brilliant idea. also – packing and unpacking and packing and unpacking: YES. Perfect example and YES it would have slowed me down, too.

  2. Sini | my blue&white kitchen

    I love this post so unbelievably much, Shanna. Your words, these photos, and, WHOA!, this recipe. Rooibos affogato? Such a genius idea! On an other note, I’m sorry for your broken French press… But, as you said, life is about chaos and order, chaos and order. And look what a beauty of a post you created out of the hot-liquid-all-over-the-place disaster 😉

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh, Sini, you’re too nice to me! Thank you so much for your way kind words here. And as yet another redemption in this story: We found a new French press this weekend for a whopping $12 so we’re back in business (and hopefully a little smarter about backdrops) now. : )

  3. Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health

    im nodding my head at every word you wrote about chaos and not able to compartmentalize things. there is so much happening that it feels like im on a roller coaster that never stops instead its speeding…plus i cant keep it.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      The ups and downs and ups and downs! I know.

  4. Lindsey | The Next Course

    I love everything about this post, Shanna, especially hearing that I am not the only one who manages to make complete and utter messes while playing in the kitchen 😉

    I have a vanilla-honeybush rooibos tea that my aunt gave me for Christmas–I think I will modify your recipe a tiny bit, using this tea, and just making a simple maple ice cream per your recipe–must do this ASAP!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Lindsey! We make messes everywhere! Ha! And that vanilla honeybush sounds so good. I hope you love the ice cream and tea combo as much as we do because we loved it a lot. : )

  5. Katrina @ WVS

    I totally just learned a new word today! I’ve never heard of affogato’s before, but they sound SO GOOD! Love the recipe!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Katrina, Affogato = GAME CHANGER!

  6. Nicole

    This post really resonates with me, Shanna! I can’t stop the to-do list that revolves in my brain, either. I do not like chaos one bit, but it comes. I worry about backdrops falling onto food all. the. time. Sorry about your broken french press! I have a heavy wooden board I started to use and I’m really careful with its cumbersome size and my husband offered to help me last Saturday and the corner of the board almost smashed my camera that was sitting on the table behind us, eek! We both had a good, nervous laugh about that one! This ice cream and tea sounds so dreamy! Congrats on your GIFs!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Bless you, Nicole. My favorite voices are the ones that say “me too.” And you are so much smarter than me: At least you recognize the danger of the backdrop! We were so naive! (Never again!) (At least, I hope never again.) (Knowing me it could be tomorrow.) ps Your husband sounds like a sweetheart.

  7. Kathryn

    Ha, I always claim that I’m really not an untidy person it’s just that I like creating order from chaos too much to tidy up as I go along. This idea of an affogato with tea wounds wonderful and not something I’ve ever seen before. What a treat!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Haha! That’s a brilliant strategy: “It’s not really a mess; it’s a chance for me to be wowed by transformation later!” I’m going to have to use that one. : )

  8. Madison

    Your effortless way with words always blows me away. Sometimes I sit down to write and I think, “I wish I wrote more like Shanna.” But of course, we all have our own voice. And I am always so encouraged by yours.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Oh, wow, you are way too nice, Madison, especially because I literally sat down to write this post and thought, “Ugh, I have no idea what to write here.” It’s kind of like the greatest compliment that you liked the genuine me that came out. Thanks, buddy.

  9. Joanna

    I want to add my “Me too!” to you and Carrie. One time I asked Brad what he was thinking about he said, “nothing.” And I couldn’t believe it. It frustrated me, so he asked me to tell him what I was thinking about. I started listing everything that was actually going on in my head at that second and 15 seconds later he made me stop. Maybe it’s a female thing?

    I’ve NEVER had affogato, by the way, but I really really want to try this.

    1. Shanna Mallon


  10. Skye

    Oh, I know exactly what you mean. My mind is always racing; and just as I feel as though order has been restored (kitchen cupboards finally organised), something else needs reordering (my wardrobe – hideous tumble of clothes).
    But this affogato looks sublime: I have never seen tea with ice cream before, but I bet that the cinnamon of the rooibos is just heavenly with the maple cream. Simply gorgeous. And such a prettily written piece.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Ha, I know just what you mean. It never ends! Maybe that’s why I’m always looking for tiny moments of sublimity like affogatos, even amongst broken glass and fallen boards and a long list of things I think I ought to be doing. : ) Thanks for your sweet comment, Skye!

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  12. Needful Things

    I have never left a comment before but this post merits a jolt out of lurkdom. I LOVE the idea of this affogato. Rooibos tea is a huge favourite of mine and I never imagined using it in place of coffee, for anything.

    And I want to say I cannot, for the life of me, compartmentalize. Trust me when I say this is a very male thing (and having brains that are all over the place are a completely female thing) – there is a theory to back this statement up and I read it in “Men: The Darker Continent” a very long time ago.

    So, don’t beat yourself up about it, you are not the only one!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Haha! Maybe you’re right. It’s nice to know other people relate!

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