Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Coffee Break

I've been a coffee drinker most of my life. I started drinking coffee because all of the adults around me did and it seemed the thing to do. I was never a heavy drinker. I had a cup or two in the morning and that's all. I had relatives who drank it day and night. We lived in the cold northern Midwest and those hearty Midwesterners liked their black coffee and cigarettes.

My dad drank a lot of coffee but his was always with real cream. I didn't know anyone who put sugar in their coffee.

I always drank my coffee black too. I hadn't been drinking it long when I figured out my body couldn't take the caffeine. By then I was hooked on the flavor and the morning habit so I started drinking the decaf to everyone's disdain. I wasn't a real hearty Midwesterner I guess.

So for me it has been black coffee for thirty years. Even when everyone else started going to Starbucks and getting Venti Soy Cappuccinos, I was still drinking black drip coffee that I made at home. I didn't know the lingo of the modern coffee culture at all. When I was in Italy where there is a definite coffee etiquette (no hot coffee after 12 noon unless you're an ignorant American) I had to have my more sophisticated friends order coffee for me. When I had a (supposed) decaf cappuccino one evening I sorely regretted it at 3am when I was still lying awake staring at the ceiling of the hotel room.

I had a coffee transformation just a couple years ago.

It started when I took a job baking for a cafe that had a wonderful espresso bar. The coffee was the first thing to get made when I came in to bake before the sun had risen. There before me was the whole array of coffee adornment choices. Raspberry, amaretto, hazelnut, white chocolate, dark!.....all of it. At first I still took my coffee black but it didn't take long to fall down the coffee rabbit hole. Every day was a different flavor of coffee. And there was no going back.

I couldn't seem to enjoy my coffee black anymore.

Then another thing happened. I had left my job and was back home with my black coffee. One day while shopping I picked up a tin of coffee cocoa for a neighbor who had requested it. It looked yummy and I took a can for myself too. Now I had coffee adornment at home too.

Then it ran out so I decided to make my own.

I'd like to show you how easy it is to make your own cocoa mix to add to your coffee, if- like me- you are addicted to chocolate enhanced coffee.

In my pantry I have a wonderful cocoa powder that I use for my fudgey chocolate wedding cakes. I buy it in eleven pound buckets from a supplier. This is premium dutch processed cocoa with rich dark chocolate flavor.

It's the best chocolate I can afford and good quality chocolate always makes a difference with cake, brownies

This recipe (I hesitate to call it that since it is so very simple) is delicious with fine quality dutch processed cocoa but of course it can be made with regular grocery store cocoa too, like Nestle's or Hershey's.

Start with some sugar. The recipe is three parts sugar to one part cocoa.

This is 3/4 cup of white sugar.
(I have been experimenting with using stevia as a sweetener in my coffee with the cocoa but it just isn't the same.)

So to 3/4 cup of sugar I add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder.

Stir this around in the jar to thoroughly mix together.
And that's all.
Yes! And it's better than the can of coffee cocoa mix in the store. And much less expensive!
This will also make excellent hot cocoa mix for the kids. Just stir a heaping spoonful or two into hot milk and you have the best hot cocoa ever. I made up jars of this cocoa mix for Christmas gifts one year. It was a nice change from fruit cakes and cookie plates.

So here's how I make a Venti Decaf Mocha Brevi at home.

I heat some half and half (or cream or milk) in my coffee cup...

...and add a not too big spoonful of my cocoa mix...

(...but go ahead and add a heaping spoonful if you want....)

Then top it off with hot brewed black coffee.
And I don't have to pay $3+ for it because I made it myself!

What kind of coffee do you like?


  1. I've never been a real coffee drinker. I only started drinking a cup here and there in the morning with my husband because he loves to sit with me and drink coffee. I don't LOVE it, yet I've grown used to it. BUT I can always drink cappuccino or Starbucks. I'll have to make your cocoa mix and try that for my morning coffee now.

  2. Yum! Even I like coffee if it involves cream and cocoa...

    I wonder if barley malt powder would work? It's very fine and easy to dissolve and it's sweet like sugar, but more nutritious... I bet Azure carries it.

  3. Strong coffee. Cut it with some milk, drink 3 or 4 cups, and lose my mind from caffeine overload.

  4. Katie, I love the taste of malt(but barley?) but I wonder how it would taste in coffee? Maybe good...

    Kristin- like you need more ways to lose your mind!

  5. Malt is almost always made from barley. Obviously, you don't want wheat... I bet it would be yummy! Like malted milk mocha!

  6. YUM>.. so here's my quick hot choc. recipe for the books... it's dark hot chocolate for sure but we LUV it!... equal parts rapadura sugar and high quality cocoa pwd. add to cup of hot water to taste.. keep some on hand all winter. probably wouldn't be the same in coffee though.. maybe if you added the cream still?


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