Caffe mocha, that staple of many upmarket coffee bars is, in essence, a mixture of espresso, milk, and chocolate syrup. Modeled after the bicerin (coffee + drinking chocolate + milk), a specialty of Italy’s Piedmont region, it is certainly richer than a standard-issue latte and appeals to both caffeine junkies with a sweet tooth and those who are, for all intents and purposes, chocoholics craving for stimulation.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but there is a way of making mochas at home without the benefit of either a coffee maker or an espresso machine. Heck, all you need is a packet of brown or white instant coffee, chocolate, milk, spices, a saucepan, and a ready arm with a whisk. Coffee sacrilege? Perhaps, but improvisation in the kitchen has led to some delicious, warming, and totally bespoke drinks.
Shown above is my Jap-Mex Mocha. This particular beastie features Japanese milk chocolate (Meiji Milk, to be exact) whisked into a mix of milk and water and spruced up with cinnamon and black pepper, evoking old-school Mexican hot chocolate. Toss in a packet of coffee, and you get a deliciously creamy coffee concoction with a bit of a snappy bite.
- 25 grams Japanese milk chocolate, broken
- 1 single-serve packet instant brown or white coffee
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- dash of black pepper
In a saucepan, bring the milk and water to a boil. Add the broken chocolate and whisk vigorously until it has all melted. Remove from heat and add the coffee and spices. Whisk vigorously until frothy. Pour into a mug to serve. Makes 1 coffee.
A second variation makes for a more subtle drink. It features vanilla bean and white chocolate and pretty much mimics the qualities of an Antipodean flat white in the sense that it is milkier but it’s a whole lot less foamy than the drink at the top of this post.
Here’s an idea you might want to try: if you use vanilla beans for baking, don’t toss out your used pods. Bury the lot in a jar of granulated white sugar. This both flavors the sugar and preserves the pod-skins for another use. The used pods, in particular, are perfect for this particular drink.
Vanilla Flat White
- 1 used vanilla bean
- 1/4 cup grated white chocolate
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 single-serve packet white coffee
Combine milk and water in a saucepan. Add the vanilla pod and the white chocolate. Put the saucepan on medium-heat, whisking the mixture to help the chocolate melt and to press any remaining vanilla seeds out of the pod. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Remove the vanilla pod and add the coffee. Whisk until the coffee has dissolved. Pour into a mug to serve. Makes 1 coffee.