Chocolate and coffee have a natural affinity. Phil Wain showcases just how special a mocha can be.
Photography by Joe Brayford.
Despite Lady Marmalade’s best efforts, mocha may not be the first thing on your lips when you place an order in a speciality coffee shop. But the combination of chocolate and coffee can be transcendent as well as indulgent. Part of that is textural, as the smooth chocolate combines with just the right amount of espresso to add complexity and intensity.
The mocha is named after a Yemeni port that played a crucial role in the development of coffee as it spread throughout the Islamic world. It was first recorded as the name for a mixture of coffee and chocolate in 1849, although no one knows why. Typically, it contains espresso and is served hot and sweetened, although there are regional variations, such as Turin’s bicerin, which layers espresso, drinking chocolate and milk in a glass.
Caffeine asked three leading coffee shops to design mochas for us – we were delighted with the results and we are sure you will be too. Each of these cocktails (for what else is a mocha?) highlights flavour and origin while pairing specific flavours. The drinks are all available to buy for a limited period at the cafés in question.
Store Street Espresso
Peter Andrews and Ioannis Theodorakis considered the flavour notes of the Rococo hot chocolate they serve at Store Street Espresso to find the perfect pairing. Rococo Chocolates, based in Belgravia, uses chocolate from a variety of makers. The hot chocolate is made from shavings from its own bars and is a blend that includes beans from Peru and the Dominican Republic, as well as chocolate from the Grenada Chocolate Company. The deep, fruity flavours of the chocolate proved a perfect match for the Sasaba, an Ethiopian natural from Guji roasted by Bonanza Coffee in Berlin.
“With the deep cocoa and stewed fruits of the Rococo chocolate finely matched with the strawberry and rose of the Bonanza Sasaba, we decided to make a Rose Mocha,” says Peter. “To add a visual accompaniment to the floral elements, we finished it off with a free-poured rose.
“The perfect ratio – and mochas are all about finding the right ratio – was found to be 25g of chocolate to 40g of espresso, topped off with perfectly steamed Estate Dairy milk.”
Origin Coffee Roasters
“Those who order a mocha are likely to be in the mood for a sweet treat, so I wanted to create something to satisfy that dessert craving while still being a coffee-based beverage,” says Antonio Orria, who has long been fascinated by craft chocolate. “I believe that sweets have the power to connect us with our childhood, so my Mocha Crème is a journey of flavours to be explored with a playful approach.
“To this end, I designed a three-layer drink. The base is a classic coffee, milk and chocolate mix. There’s a double shot of Origin Casajera natural from the Honduran Mierisch farm, 16g of Lucocoa 60% Haitian hot chocolate – designed exclusively for Origin by Ama Uzowuru and ethically traded from a specific origin and made bean-to-bar by Ama – and 40g of Estate Dairy milk, all steamed. The middle is a thick layer of coffee-infused whipped cream – Origin’s Casajera and my recipe of Estate Dairy milk and double cream – poured from a nitro press, and the topping is a torch-blown film of caramelised coconut sugar.
“You break the top with a spoon, dig through the coffee-flavoured whipped cream and finally reach the warm heart of chocolate and coffee at the bottom. While it’s a superbly decadent drink, it doesn’t contain a single gram of refined sugar – there’s only coconut sugar in the chocolate and the topping.
“The drink will be available at Origin’s British Library site for the season. I hope you’ll like it as much as we do!”
Prufrock’s mocha focuses on clarity and quality of flavour and impeccable sourcing of ingredients. Prufrock works with Cocoa Runners, which supplies Original Beans’ Piura Porcelana chocolate from Peru. Famous for planting a tree for every chocolate bar bought, Original Beans produces bean-to-bar chocolate with a great emphasis on ethical trading.
The Piura Porcelana is an albino white bean that was almost extinct when discovered by Original Beans in 2007 in the Piura valley in northern Peru, which is famous for its abundant and diverse butterflies. The cacao is now thriving – in 2016 alone, more than 100,000 trees were planted.
The chocolate buttons create a delicious drink with notes of raspberry, lime and pecan with refreshing acidity reminiscent of third wave coffee. The quality of the cacao (unprocessed chocolate) allows Original Beans, like Lucocoa, to pay the farmers a substantial incentive.
For Prufrock’s mocha, Ewelina Kania combined an 18g dosed double shot of Square Mile’s Red Brick Espresso (giving 40g) with 20g of Original Beans chocolate in an 8oz cup, topped with immaculately steamed Northiam Dairy milk. The Red Brick blend is 50% Durazno, a washed Guatemalan, and 50% Santa Anita, a Costa Rican white honey process. This profile and recipe were developed on a Victoria Arduino VA388 Black Eagle with VST 18g baskets.
“From the Durazno, we get sweet fudgey notes with a toasted almond finish, while the Santa Anita brings plenty of berries and dried fruits to round out the cup,” says Ewelina. “This creamy composition is tasty in milk, as always, but delicious on its own too!”
It blends superbly with the berry and nutty notes of the chocolate. By the time this issue goes to print, there may be a new Red Brick blend, but we’re sure it will blend just as beautifully in the mocha. Find out for yourself at Prufrock Coffee, Leather Lane.
Store Street Espresso
Origin Coffee Roasters