Coffee Granita Cream Recipe and the History of Torani Syrups

Among the 25.4 fl. oz. bottles of coconut and ginger spice was one bottle of coffee syrup. As I carefully snatched it and clutched it to my bosom I thought, THIS is my best find today! I was at a local salvage retail store of hodge-podge, nick-knacks and brick-a-brac. Just like at any of the stores throughout the country where freight salvage, insurance losses and bankruptcy merchandise is sold, you can sometimes scavenge a gourmet delicacy at Solomon’s Ventures.

The hefty, fifth-sized bottle told me that this was good quality stuff. My insatiable curiosity told me that that observation would not be enough. Staring at the bold, primary-colored label, I read Formula Originale D’Italia. Hum.m.m. Must be an old Italian family recipe. What does Torani mean? I stared at the line drawing on the label of a castle in the sky, surrounded by copious foliage. Looked pretty regal to me. Further indication that I possessed a precious and highly-delectable concoction.

At home when I added a teaspoon of the nearly black mixture to my cup, I was impatient with excitement. I tasted it in my coffee, but knew I’d need to add more than a stingy teaspoon to really enjoy what I suspected to be the coffee liqueur-type of flavor. R. Torre and Co. suggests that you add up to 1 oz., and to please explore other creative uses. All I wanted to create at that moment was a mug-sized dosage of intoxicating, syrup-infused brew that I refer to as Black Witch in one of my coffee poems.

Torani Coffee Syrup
Torani Coffee Syrup

Torani History

Rinalda and Ezilda Torre introduced their syrups, from handwritten recipes, to the North Beach San Francisco neighborhood in 1925. A son-in-law took the helm in 1957 and guided the company’s growth to international recognition. The history account at the website claims that after a family friend experimented with a Torani syrup, espresso and steamed milk, the first flavored caffe latte emerged.

Light research of the word torani produced religious debate references of dati or torani. I am not even sure that this pertains to the trademarked name on the label. Deciding not to write and ask, I abandoned my research to being satisfied with not knowing why the name was chosen. My insatiable curiosity was satiated, and I preferred to drink, rather than to know.

My label reads that my Torani Coffee Syrup is delicious in cappuccino, caffe latte, steamed milk and iced coffee. I especially liked it in my second cup of black coffee (my first is black), which I never thought I’d ever drink. I should have known that after years of happily-addictive, creamer-laden drinking, I would become a hardcore drinker. When I grab that fifth of scavenged Torani by the neck, turn it up, and with heady anticipation begin to pour black syrup into black coffee, I know I’m a coffee lush.

Torani Syrups can be purchased from the company website and on Most of the recipes at the site are basic and include two flavors of their syrup. I made my own Coffee Granita Cream based on my grandmother’s homemade frozen banana mousse recipe, or what I could remember of it. This easy recipe takes 1 day to make.

Coffee Granita Cream

  • 1/4 cup coffee syrup (or 1/8 cup each of 2 flavored syrups)
  • 1 pt half and half
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 tsps vanilla flavoring or extract
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee

granita supplies

The first step in this simple recipe is to gather your tools. You will need:

  • 2-qt saucepan
  • metal pan for freezing your granita cream
  • measuring spoons and cups
  • large spoon for stirring (slotted is safer for stirring hot liquids)
  • fork
  • strainer (optional)

Pour half and half into the saucepan and stir in all ingredients. Set stove to high heat and put saucepan on burner. Stir at intervals while on high heat for about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium high. As you stir, the milk will begin to curdle lightly and form little clumps. This is normal. You can strain the mixture later as you pour it. Stir continuously and when mixture begins to boil, turn heat to high again. When foam rises to just short of the top of the pan, turn heat off and set pan aside. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and pour into metal pan, using strainer if you desire. Not straining will simply allow the solidified strands to blend in with the coarse frozen texture of this crystallized frozen dessert.

The main process of this recipe is to stir up the freezing mixture 2-3 times before serving. Place pan into freezer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, then remove and skim the milk film from the surface of the mixture. Place back into freezer for about 2 hours, or until partially frozen around the edges. Remove and stir with a fork, breaking up ice crystals and mixing them in. Return to freezer for another 2-3 hours and stir with a fork. Repeat this process until you are satisfied with the texture of the frozen treat.

This is a recipe that can be served the same day, if you start early enough. It will not freeze solid, if you stir it at least twice before leaving it to freeze overnight. It can be stirred again before serving the next day. If you want a strong-flavored Coffee Granita Cream, be sure to brew your coffee extra strong. My batch though obviously coffee-flavored and rich, has a lighter taste than I expected. I didn’t brew my coffee as strongly as I’d planned.

Coffee Granita
Coffee Granita


Dati Or Torani? – From the site Occidental Israeli.

Torani. In Your Home: Our Story – From the official site.

Torani Syrups – page.

Coffee Granita – INeedCoffee’s original Coffee Granita recipe.

Torani Store – Online shop for Torani Syrups

Sandi J. Holland

Sandi J. Holland has been writing non-fiction and poetry for 30+ years. She first started writing for I Need Coffee in 2002, and has been published in:
Midwest Poetry Review, SA-De Books (defunct), and Poetry Motel. She is also a crafter and artist, and enjoys motivating others. Ms. Holland lives in northeast Florida and is working on several books to be published through CreateSpace.