Cinnamon and Cayenne and Chocolate, Oh My!
October 5, 2015 1:55 PM   Subscribe

A local coffee shop makes this amazing coffee drink that they call a Mocha en Fuego. It's a mocha with cinnamon and cayenne that I get iced and it's the most delicious coffee drink ever. Please help me recreate it at home!

I already cold-brew coffee at home to drink iced, and the espresso-drink nature of the original isn't important to me, so I think that all I really need is a chocolate/cinnamon/cayenne simple syrup to add to it.

Right now, my tentative plan is to simmer some cinnamon sticks in the sugar/water for a while and then strain and add some cocoa powder. (Also, is this a valid way to get the chocolate flavor? Or should I do something with melted chocolate?) What I'm less sure of is what to do with the cayenne. It's a powder. Should I add it with the cinnamon to simmer? Stir it in with the cocoa? Make some kind of coffee-filter paper teabag thing so I can steep the cayenne and then remove it? Thoughts? Ideas? Thanks in advance!
posted by Weeping_angel to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I think you are overthinking this. When I make "Mexican hot chocolate", all I do is make a cup of hot chocolate and then eyeball some powdered cayenne and cinnamon (sticks if I have it but powdered if I don't) and give it a good stir. I just googled a few variations and most of them are about the same, including the iced ones. No need to steep or syrup anything, unless you really want to.

If I were you I would start with spicy hot chocolate and then add it to the cold coffee and ice, and go from there. I think as long as there's some milk for a bit of fat in there, you won't notice the texture of the powdered spices in the drink.
posted by yeahlikethat at 2:16 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would probably just add ground cinnamon, ground cayenne, cocoa powder and sugar to my coffee and milk/cream. But if you want it to be overall less dusty/grainy, you could try giada's approach here.
posted by vunder at 2:20 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

A GIS seems to point to this winning recipe from some coffee contest; I'm seeing it referenced in multiple places. Could be this is the one your cafe is basing theirs on.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 2:25 PM on October 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

I promise not to thread-sit, but I forgot to mention that the reason I like and want to stick with my cold-brewed coffee is that it is extremely easy to get ready in the morning. I keep a pitcher of the concentrated cold-brew in the fridge and then in the morning, I just pour it into a glass with some ice, milk, and some liquid sweet syrup stuff.

I've used the torani(?) syrups for the sweet stuff before, and sometimes Hershey's, but I'd like to make a batch of cinnamon/cayenne/chocolate sweet tasting stuff to keep for a week or so and then I can just pour it in every morning. That is probably the most work I'm realistically willing to put into this. So I'm specifically looking for help with how to make a simple syrup-like thing.
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:58 PM on October 5, 2015

What I would do is simmer cinnamon sticks and crushed red peppers (not cayenne powder) with just water. You might have to experiment to see how the best length of time for getting a full-bodied flavor. Strain out the cinnamon and crushed peppers, then add sugar and simmer until it dissolves and you have a sugar syrup. I always prefer not to simmer objects + sugar syrup together because it can lead to sugar crystals forming in the syrup--better to infuse the water first, then add sugar. I also recommended crushed red peppers because they'll add heat without any chance of a powder changing the texture of the drink. I personally don't think cayenne has a strong flavor other than "hot," but if you think there's something you'll be missing by swapping in crushed red pepper instead, it may not be the method for you.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 3:14 PM on October 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would make (or buy) a mexican chocolate sauce that can be added to the cold brew coffee when you serve it. Instead of cayenne you can use a whole dried chili. Another thing that might be interesting to try is to put the spices in with the grounds when you're steeping/brewing the coffee.
posted by melissasaurus at 3:55 PM on October 5, 2015

I would make a simple chocolate syrup with the cayenne and cinnamon incorporated, and keep it in the fridge.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:36 PM on October 5, 2015

I would get one of those mini whip things or geuzh (sp?) it in a bullet blender because Texture=Flavor, and aerating it might make it professional and delicious!
posted by jbenben at 4:39 PM on October 5, 2015

So I'm specifically looking for help with how to make a simple syrup-like thing.

For a simple chocolate syrup, combine equal parts cocoa powder, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Heat and stir to dissolve sugar and incorporate ingredients until smooth. Simmer to desired thickness or keep it thin. Remove from heat and stir in a bit of vanilla extract and a little salt.

If I were adding cinnamon and cayenne powder, I'd add them at the beginning.

This would keep a good long time in the fridge in a closed container.

I make myself an iced coffee every afternoon, and this sounds delicious. I think I might whip some up myself.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:47 PM on October 5, 2015 [6 favorites]

Thorzdad's method is solid. The only thing I'd add is to keep stirring the mixture so it doesn't burn.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:50 PM on October 5, 2015

Taza had something called "Chocolate Mexicano Extract" but they don't seem to make it anymore. Maybe another company has something similar? Could be a useful thing to add to your syrup.
posted by danceswithlight at 6:19 PM on October 5, 2015

Most of the good spicy chocolate drinks I've had require some heat, because they include real chocolate that you have to melt somehow, rather than being based on a chocolate syrup. Does your Mocha en Fuego start kind of collecting chunks of chocolate on the bottom of the glass if you let it sit for too long? That's the chocolate cooling enough that it falls back out of the drink again. I suspect you won't be able to get the same chocolatey richness if you're using a syrup.

That said, this recipe might be worth a shot.

If after trying a few other things you decide you're open to heating and cooling, the hands-down easiest (but not cheapest) approach is to buy some of this stuff.
posted by town of cats at 8:20 PM on October 5, 2015

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