This vegan-friendly spicy Chile Mocha is made with freshly brewed espresso, steamed milk (or coconut milk), and spicy hot cocoa.
Are the skies a little grey where you are right now?
They are here.
The cooler weather has rolled into Central Appalachia, and we’ve entered the awkward in-between season. Let’s call it fwinter.
The bright, multi-color leaves have fallen, and the trees are (gasp!) unclothed.
Will we have gorgeous, snowy blankets on the ground soon? Most likely.
For now, to help transition through the grey, chilly mornings– we need coffee. More specifically, we need espresso. And chocolate.
While we’re at it– let’s add some spice! This spicy Chile Mocha is a vegan-friendly, decadent, caffeinated, fantabulous way to jump-start your day.
The Perfect Winter Drink
When Starbucks rolled out their fall menu this year, and the annual Pumpkin Spice Latte frenzy began, another, newer, spicier drink jumped out at me– the Chile Mocha.
This fiery concoction is made by blending a Mexican hot chocolate with a creamy, espresso-filled latte. Espresso, chocolate, AND spicy pepper???
Basically, it’s the best thing ever.
Instead of paying for someone else to make my mocha, however, I decided to make my own!
Being my own barista not only saves money (yay!), but also lets me control how much sugar is in my drink.
Win and win!
Do I Need an Espresso Machine?
Technically, to be called a “latte” you should use espresso. BUT we don’t live by technicalities, do we?
If you don’t have espresso, you can also use coffee made in a French press, or another strong, dark coffee.
How Spicy Is This Drink?
As written, the recipe is only mildly spicy. If you want to make it hotter, you can add some red chile flakes to the milk while it’s frothing (like Starbucks does).
What If I Don’t Own a Milk Frother?
You can warm your milk on the stovetop or microwave, and then use an immersion blender to froth it.
Other options are to simply use warm milk, or to buy an inexpensive milk frothing wand.
Spicy Hot Chocolate:
- 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (about 1oz)
- 1 cup milk OR full-fat coconut milk
- 2 chilis de arbol, split open OR 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 oz brewed espresso (more or less as desired)
- 1/2 cup milk for frothing (use at least 2%, skim won't froth well) OR full-fat coconut milk
- To Serve (Optional): whipped cream, extra cinnamon
- Make hot chocolate: In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup milk over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat immediately, strain out peppers with a slotted spoon, and quickly add chocolate and cinnamon. Stir until chocolate melts. Taste hot chocolate, and add more chili if desired.
- Next, brew espresso and steam milk. If you don't have a milk steamer, heat milk on stovetop and use a hand-held frother or immersion blender to create some froth (froth optional but recommended).
- Divide hot chocolate between two mugs. Pour half of the espresso into each cup and stir to blend the coffee and chocolate.
- Pour milk into each espresso, holding back the froth with a spoon. Top with foam.
- Optional: Top lattes with whipped cream and dust with more cinnamon. Serve immediately.