When I was commuting an hour to work every morning I looked forward to my Starbucks run. It was really the only thing that could get me through that dreaded drive. Of course, it was hard on the bank account when I had a steady paycheck and now that I’m home full-time I really can’t justify the daily expense. My need for morning caffeine, however, has not diminished. I’ve always been a loose tea lover, but I crave an iced caffè mocha during the hot summer months and I love a hot, frothy chai tea latte in winter. After reading a bunch of reviews on home espresso pots and spending several weeks perfecting my ingredient ratios, I finally have the perfect recipe for my beloved mocha, which is an espresso drink mixed with milk and chocolate (I don’t like the taste of straight coffee). We bought the Bialetti Moka Express stove top espresso maker for only $24, which is the equivalent of one week of drinks at Starbucks (!!!) so it was a no-brainer purchase. It doesn’t help with my inability to create the perfect chai tea at home, but I’m eager to have a go at a dirty chai recipe (that’s a chai latte with a shot of espresso) so stay tuned. Keep reading below for my thoughts on the Bialetti pot and the complete iced caffè mocha recipe …
When it came time to buy coffee beans for espresso, I had no clue what to get. I’ve never even made a pot of coffee. Come to think of it, we don’t own a coffee pot! So I went to my local coffee shop and asked for help. They sold me the same bag they use to make espresso drinks and ground the beans for me.
The Bialetti comes in different sizes depending on the servings you want. When purchasing your pot, think about how many servings you will need each time you make espresso because you must make the entire pot (you can’t use less water or coffee depending on how many servings you need). We bought a three-cup, which means each batch produces about three, two-ounce servings. I end up splitting it up so Chris and I each get a serving and there is none left over. (He drinks a regular hot latte). This would be my only complaint about this pot. If we have guests, they’re out of luck! On a daily basis though it’s the perfect size for us. It’s also a great size for travel.
A tip I learned when researching the Bialetti: Wash with soap and water before using for the first time and then wash with warm water only (no soap) after every use. Also, dump your very first batch.
This is a two-ounce shot glass, which I use to make sure I’m not giving myself too much caffeine, 1. because I’m still breastfeeding and 2. because I’m a wuss and will get the caffeine shakes!
One of the bonuses of making my own mocha is that I get to control how much chocolate to add. The Starbucks version is on sugar steroids and I found myself crashing midmorning. I don’t use nearly as much syrup as they do (I’ve watched them!) and I don’t experience that crash when I make it myself. Also, I tried a few different chocolates as I was perfecting my recipe. Hershey’s was pretty blah. Ghirardelli hot cocoa mix was sold in the stores, so I gave it a try, but the problem with the powder is that you can’t add more later. It doesn’t dissolve well once the ice and milk are added. The flavor was also just okay. More like chocolate milk than espresso. I’ve settled on Ghirardelli chocolate sauce (which I bought from Amazon) and it’s a winner. I only use about a tablespoon but you can adjust for your own tastes. Now it’s hard for me to drink the Starbucks version because I love my concoction so much more!
Iced Caffè Mocha Recipe
stove top espresso maker (for the purposes of this post, I’m using the Bialetti Moka Express)
ground coffee beans
2 tbsp Ghirardelli chocolate syrup
6 oz milk (update: almond milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk!)
fill Bialetti base with water up to safety valve
insert funnel and fill loosely with ground coffee
screw on top compartment
brew on low heat on the stove (make sure the fire doesn’t come up around the sides of the pot) until the espresso bubbles up into the top compartment. remove from stove immediately.
squirt chocolate into bottom of desired glass
pour 2 ounces of espresso into glass
mix chocolate and espresso
*add ice cubes
fill glass with approximately 6 ounces of milk
*I’ve read that it’s best to add the milk before the ice cubes so as not to “shock” the hot espresso, but I’ve found ice before milk tastes better. I can’t explain why though so feel free to play around with your measurements and the order in which you mix the ingredients.