Different Types Of Ice Cream: Gelato, Mocha, Frozen Ice Cream And Sorbet

Ice cream has been around for centuries. It has inspired musicians, novel writers and poets. It is a popular dessert in family gatherings, birthday parties and fun days. Back in the days, the flavors were limited until some decades ago when the flavor frenzy hit the market. Today, you can literally find all types of ice cream flavors to suit your taste.

The many forms and flavors will leave you scratching your head trying to figure out the difference. There’s sorbet, gelato, mocha and frozen yogurt among others. Walk with us as we shed some light on the ice cream differences.

1. Gelato

What’s Gelato?

Gelato, the popular Italian frozen dessert, is basically a mixture of cream, custard and milk. It’s made with a sugar and milk base in absence of eggs. Most gelato lovers praise it for its low fat content, less air and multiple flavorings.


The rich dessert dates back in renaissance period when it was invented by Bernardo Buontalenti. The modern gelato ice cream was invented by Francesco Procopio in the 1600s. Back then, the ice cream wasn’t very popular. Gelato gained popularity in the 1920s and 1930s. It particularly gained popularity in the city of Varese which is the origin of the first gelato cart.

Gelato Varieties

Gelato ice cream is mainly found in chocolate, pistachio, stracciatella, cream and hazelnut flavors. Some ice cream vendors are becoming creative and flavors such as raspberry, strawberry, mango, pineapple and orange have also emerged. This opens up the opportunity to try out unique flavors with your homemade gelato ice cream. You will be surprised at how sweet it can get.

How Is Gelato Made?

The gelato ice cream recipe starts with the pasteurization of ingredients. This is followed by churning which is done at a lower temperature (410F). The ice cream can then be left in the freezer in batches.

The unique texture of gelato ice cream is facilitated by the sugar. The sugar binds to the water avoiding solid freezing. This interference with the normal crystal formation ensures that smaller crystals that give gelato the smooth texture are formed.

The gelato can be sweetened with inverted sugar, sucrose or dextrose. This is common with American commercial ice cream vendors who also include stabilizers such as guar gum to balance the ingredients.

Unique Characteristics Of Gelato Ice Cream

The structure is creamy and spreadable. It should neither be too hard nor too soft.

Gelato maintains the natural taste. the taste should be clean, lasting and intense. It should only leave sweetness in your mouth.

The texture should be consistent throughout the serving. It should be fine and smooth.

2. Sorbet

Defining Sorbet

Sorbet is a fruit flavored palate refresher served between meals or as a dessert. It is made distinctly from wine, sweetened juice or water. It’s normally dairy free but some recipes have hacked a trick of incorporating milk. The mixture of unsweetened fruit juices provides a very tangy and tart flavor.


Sorbet, as a name originated in Italy as Italian sorbetto. Sorbet powders were imported from Ottoman Empire in the 17th century. They were made from dried flowers and fruits mixed with sugar. In 1662, sherbets made in Lemon, violets and rose turkies was first sold in a London coffeehouse.

In Paris, sorbet was first sold at café Procope in 1670. Europeans went a step ahead by freezing Sherbet. They added juice and flavor to frozen syrups. Sherbet in the U.S was popularly known as ice milk. Sherbet recipes included beaten eggs whites, milk, cream and gelatin.

What Comprises Sorbet?

Sorbet is simply comprised of sugar, air and fruits. Almost every fruit can be used to make sorbet. This makes it possible to make different sorbet flavors. The absence of fats in its ingredients makes it a very healthy treat.

Why Incorporate Sugar And Air In Making Sorbet?

Sugar is considered to be the magical ingredient in the sorbet making process. Sugar delivers the perfect sorbet texture. This is achieved by ay adjusting the freezing point. As sugar content increases, the freezing point drops.

Sorbet is primarily comprised of sugar and water. This means that you need to be careful with the ratios. Failing to strike a balance can either leave you with a sloppy mess or a block of ice.

As the ice cream maker spins, it not only lowers the temperatures but also incorporates lots of air in the sorbet. The air trapped in the sorbet decreases ice crystal sizes. If the ice crystals are too big, the ice cream will not melt smoothly in the mouth. It also increases ice cream volume.

Turning Fruits Into Puree

Fruits are different and it’s not every fruit that will be easy to turn into puree. There are two methods that will make it easy for you to turn any fruit into a puree.

The first method is blending the fruits with simple syrup. The syrup is made by mixing equal parts of sugar and water. The high water volume makes it quite easy for icy crystallization. This can hurt the sorbet texture.

The second involves less water. All you need to do is macerate the fruits in sugar. Sugar breaks the fruit in an hour or two. The crushed fruit produces its own liquid. This eliminates the need to add water. This tends to give the best results.

Perfect Sorbet Sugar Ratio

The ideal sorbet sugar percentage ought to range between 20 and 30 percent. Measuring the exact ratio may be a little tricky. The best way to go about it is starting with a 5 fruits part to 1 sugar part ratio.

This would mean 5 cups for every 2 cups of the simple syrup. When using the maceration method, 5 cups of fruit would go to 1 cup of sugar.

An emersion blender will make it very easy for you to blend the base. A basic blender or an ice cream maker will also deliver desirable results. If you are looking for an immersion blender or the latest ice cream maker, check out our latest reviews.

Alternative Sorbet Sweeteners

Processed sugar tends to have some adverse health effects. If you do not intend to use sugar in your sorbet recipe, you can use agave, maple syrup or honey. It is however advisable that you do not replace all the sugar. At least, have a quarter of the sugar in your recipe.

It is important to note that artificial sweeteners may not give you the desired results. This is because they do not contain any sugar. They thus do not impart the essential chemical properties.

What Fruits Can Be Used To Make Sorbet?

Berries and stone fruits make the best sorbet. Fleshy mangoes and tart green apples make perfect treats. The presence of fruit fiber creates a thick puree resulting in smooth sorbets. The presence of fiber eliminates the need to use stabilizers.

Some of the excellent sorbet fruits include; kiwi, pears, cherries, pineapples, strawberries, plums, nectarines and peaches.

Citrus fruits such as lemon and oranges may also be used. You however need to be careful with these fruits. Citrus fruits have little fiber and huge water content. You therefor need to adjust the sugar ratio.

Sorbet Stabilizers

Over time, the trapped air tends to escape. The escape results in stiff desserts. The hard sorbet may be left to melt in the fridge. Re-churn the ice cream. Alternatively, you can add a stabilizer. The commonly used stabilizers are pectin, alcohol and gelatin.

The stabilizers lower the freezing point and inhibit the sorbet from turning into ice. You need to be very careful when using the stabilizers. Too much of the stabilizer may see you ending up with slush.

How Is Sorbet Made?

Most people find it easy making sorbet with juice than fruits. Put your juice in a container. Add half of your syrup and stir thoroughly. Add the other half of the sorbet and continue stirring.

Place an egg to gauge the viscosity. If the egg floats, your sorbet is ready. You can now add your stabilizer. Freeze your sorbet.

3. Frozen Yogurt

Popularly known as frogurt, frozen yogurt is a dessert made with yogurt. It’s a tangy refreshing treat that combines the texture and flavors of sherbet and ice cream.


Yogurt is estimated to have entered the U.S market in the 1900s. Pre-packaged yogurt was first sold in the 1930s by Danon. Its demand surged in the 1970s and necessity being the mother of invention, freezing commenced. This was the birth of frozen yogurt.

Consumers were a bit unhappy with the taste of frozen yogurt. Their demand was inclined towards a heavier version of the sweet ice cream. This prompted stores to introduce sweet tasting frozen yogurt treats. The first store was opened in 1981.

The demand for frozen yogurt increased significantly in the 1980s. This trend wasn’t long lasting as the demand declined drastically in the 90s. This was at a time when Americans had turned their attention to high-fat diets and high end proteins. Frozen yogurt and other low-fat foods fell out of favor.

Trends changed in mid-2000. John Wudei invented live probiotic powder-based mixes. These served as alternative frozen dessert sweeteners. With the availability of dry base mix, frozen yogurt became very popular across The U.S. The demand for frozen yogurt grew year after the other and still grows to date.

What Is Used To Make Frozen Yogurt?

Frozen yogurt has a unique flavor that makes it stand out among other desserts. It gains its unique flavors from Streptococcus thermophilous and Lactobacillus burglaricus. These are bacteria strains that make 1% of the ingredients.

Frozen yogurt has many similarities with ice cream. They share the same ingredients except yogurt culture. Air and water are the most important ingredients. Air increases the yogurt volume. Water on the other hand forms the primary element of the mix and can be said to be the continuous phase. It changes from liquid to partially solid state.

Milk and milk products are the primary frozen yogurt ingredients. Milk fat ranges from 0.5 to 6 %of the ingredients. The percentage will be determined by the type of frozen yogurt. Low-fat yogurt will have lower percentage of milk fat than high-fat yogurt. The milk fat is the synergist for other flavorings and lends richness to the frozen yogurt.

Milk solids other than milk fat make up 8 to 14% of the yogurt. The solids consist of about 55% lactose (milk sugar), 8% minerals and 37% protein. The proteins increase yogurt smoothness, compactness and viscosity. Proteins make the frozen yogurt resistant to melting.

Sugar accounts for 15-17% of frozen yogurt. Sucrose is the primary sweetener and is used in the form of beet or cane sugar. The lactose sweetens the frozen yogurt and also improves the yogurt body and viscosity. It also increases total solids (TS) concentration.

Total solids add to the food value, texture and body. Egg solids are sometimes used. Eggs have an additional benefit as thy decrease the time needed to freeze the yogurt mixture.

Vegetable and animal gelatins are used as stabilizers. These stabilizers play a major role in maintaining smooth frozen yogurt consistency. They reduce crystallization, improve handling properties and hinder melting.

Emulsifiers may be used in frozen yogurt to aid in blending the immiscible liquids. This is achieved by creating smaller air cells in the mixture.  Emulsifiers are generally in the form of fatty acids. They reduce the firming time and add to the yogurt firmness.

Emulsifies and stabilizers should make up 0.5 to 0.6% of the mixture. In most cases, they will occur naturally in milk and milk products.

Other small quantity ingredients include mineral salts, color, caseinate derivative (phosphates and citrates) and egg solids. Fruit, fruit extracts, vanilla, spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg), sugar, cocoa, nuts may serve as flavors.

How Is Frozen Yogurt Made?

· Process The Mix

Select fresh ingredients. These should be measured in precise quantities.

Pour liquid ingredients into a vat. Mix and heat the mixture. Add the dry ingredient into the mixture. Stiff the mixture and gradually increase the temperature. Ensure that you have incorporated most of the ingredients before heating the mixture to 49oC (120oF). This ensures that the mixture doesn’t turn lumpy.

· Pasteurize The Mixture

This stage is very important in the destruction of pathogenic bacteria. Pasteurization involves heating the mixture to very high temperatures for a specific period and reducing the temperatures drastically to 4oC (40oF).

Normally, the mixture is heated to 79oC (175oF) for 25 to 40 seconds. For the best results, heat the mixture to 99oC (210oF) or 104oC (220oF). The high temperature will also improve the flavors and ingredients blending.

· Homogenization

Homogenization decreases the size of fat globules thus smoothening the frozen yogurt. In absence of homogenization, fat forms a cream on top of the mixture. Homogenization is basically the process of pumping the yogurt mix through against an impact ring through a small valve.

The mixture passes at a velocity of 30,000 feet per minute. The force exerted breaks the fat particles. The impact ring finishes the job by breaking the fat further. Finally comes cavitation where the bubbles are formed from the sudden pressure discharge.

The fat droplets within the bubbles crash against vapor walls and disintegrate. This means that the homogenization required will be directly proportional to the amount of fat.

· Yogurt Culture Inoculation

Inoculation is normally done when the mixture temperature is 32oC (90oF). 1% of yogurt culture is used to make frozen yogurt. The mixture is maintained at this temperature until when it sets awaiting cooling.

· Aging And Cooling

The yogurt mixture is cooled gradually to 4oC (40oF). This allows it to be viscous. The mixture is then stored in aging tanks where the temperatures are maintained between 0oC(32oF) and 4oC (40oC). Normally, the mixture is aged for four hours.

· Coloring, Flavoring And Freezing

This is the final mixing stage. The remaining ingredients are mixed in a flavor vat. These ingredients include flavorings, coloring and sweeteners. The mix is then set in a freezer at temperatures between -6oC (20oF) and -2oC (28oF).

As the mixture hardens, it’s agitated to incorporate air. This creates over-run. The air also boosts frozen yogurt consistency. This aids in creating a more palatable product. The mixture starts to freeze after 3-4 minutes. The desired overrun (50%) is easily achieved.

· Hardening And Packaging

The mixture is packaged after the desired overrun is achieved. It is then placed in freezers where the temperature drops to at least -17oC (0oF). The ideal temperature is -26oC (-15oF). The freezing should be rapid to ensure that the mixture doesn’t form huge coarse crystals.

The yogurt may be stored in batch or continuous freezers. Continuous freezers allow constant product flow while batch freezers require batches to be prepared individually.

4. Mocha Ice Cream

Mocha ice cream is basically Vietnamese iced coffee. It originated during the war time when desserts were rare. The first recipe was published in June 1944 in The New York Times. This was at a time when cream was hard to find. Economists experimented with rennet and gelatin  to get that ice cream texture.

What Flavor Is Mocha Ice Cream?

Mocha tends to adopt different forms depending on its usage. Mocha may be referred to as mocha latte or mochaccino. Mocha bean is also an option. Mocha basically refers to coffee with chocolate flavor. It can either be dark or milk.

Caffe mocha is identified as a hot chocolate beverage. The hot chocolate may also contain shots of espresso. They have milk froth topping and whipped cream may be used as topping. For the finishing, one may use cinnamon, marshmallows or cocoa.

How To Make Mocha Ice Cream

Mix sugar, heavy cream, espresso, chocolate syrup and whole milk in a bowl. Whisk until when all the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate the mixture until chilled.

Transfer the chilled mocha ice cream into an ice cream maker. Freeze the mixture until when it gets to soft-serve consistency. You can stir in dark chocolate or almonds to bring in the desired flavor.

The ice cream can now be served as soft serve or frozen further to be used later. The best results are achieved if the mocha ice cream is left to ripen in the freezer for a period of two hours.


Ice cream comes in different forms, shapes and flavors. Major improvements have been introduced to the traditional ice cream recipe that included milk fat, cream, sugar, eggs, sweeteners and stabilizers. These improvements make it possible to make dozens of different types of ice cream recipes.

Some of the common ice cream recipes include French ice cream, light ice cream, reduced fat ice cream, lactose free ice cream, no sugar added ice cream, soft ice cream, gluten ice cream, cones, organic ice cream, cakes, sticks (bars), sundae, buckets, frozen custard, floats, frozen yogurt, gelato, dondurma, sherbet and frozen soufflé.

This post only focuses on most popular types of ice cream flavors.  We hope that the information detailed here will help you get a better understanding of ice cream and help you get better value for your milk and milk products.

Spare a few minutes and learn how to make some of the best ice cream and increase your dairy farm profitability. With these tips and secrets, no milk go to waste as you can make some ice cream and sell for a better price. The ice cream has longer shelf life and should fetch you money even when the dairy farm isn’t producing lots of milk.

You will bear me witness investing in one of the best ice cream makers is the magical block in the puzzle. We have reviewed some of the best ice cream makers and our reviews will help you make informed decisions. We hope that your dairy farm will now be profitable throughout the year. This might be the break you needed in dairy farming.

Give the ice cream a shot and if it doesn’t seem to pay out you can always try other milk products. We have discussed the different types of milk products in a different post. You can check out this post for more insight.