This may or may not be the only recipe I ever post, but it'll definitely be the only one I developed myself, however simple it may be.
Austin weather doesn't really know how to do Fall. We're an all-or-nothing kind of place. There are plenty of Thanksgivings where you can still work up a sweat sitting around outdoors. But this morning, November 1, it was a crisp 32 degrees. I loved it! Reminds me of my NYC days. The lime tree now residing in my garage, however, is less thrilled.
I have Fridays off from my day job, but I still drive my wife in to work, which puts me back home at about 7:15 a.m. with a day of writing ahead of me. It's days like this one, when I can watch the sun come up, curled up on my couch with a mug of my favorite coffee treat, that make me feel far too lucky in my life.
For a while when I was freelancing, I worked as a barista in a shipping container-turned-food trailer. When it closed, I really missed getting behind an espresso machine and pulling shots every day, so my amazing wife got me a Rancilio Silvia machine from Seattle Coffee Gear for Christmas. It may have been a strategic gift on her part, given that she's had a latte every day now for the last seven years. Nevertheless, it's allowed me to continue to barista it up whenever I wanted.
Now, I like the occasional mocha, but not if they're super sugary. I'd tried some at a couple of coffee shops where the addition of ground chili peppers created a really nice balance between sweet and heat, so I decided to try it at home.
I found a wide variety of recipes online; versions called "Mexican" mocha primarily added cinnamon, whereas ones called "Aztec" or "Mayan" used cayenne or ancho powder. I played around with different measurements of each, discovering I like all three components, until I ended up with a mix that suits my tastes. Hopefully you'll like it as well.
I store this mix in a 10 oz. jar:
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar (you can scale back if that's too sweet)
7 tbsp cocoa powder (I use Hershey's Special Dark)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
I combine as follows:
1.25 tbsp mocha mix, 2 shots espresso, and steamed milk to fill a 7.5 oz cappuccino cup
All of these amounts can be tinkered with until you find your own ideal cup. Works with plain coffee, espresso, or heated milk for a spicy hot chocolate. Enjoy!