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Best Espresso for Mochas?
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Discussions > Espresso > blends > Best Espresso...  
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MochaManiac
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Posted Thu Sep 16, 2004, 2:40pm
Subject: Best Espresso for Mochas?
 

I know a lot of espresso enthusiasts here probably don't drink mochas, but . . .

I've been trying to find the best espresso blend for making mochas (that's about all my wife drinks --and I make 'em for her).  I've tried Coffee Fool's Pacific Blend and their Velvet Hammer --both very good, but not exactly mocha material.  After much perusing these forums for people's favorite espresso blends, I decided to order Paradise Roaster's Espresso.  I just got it today.  Very good quality, no doubt.  However, it is definitely NOT for mochas --much too fruity.

Don't hit me, but I really do like Starbuck's espresso blend, but it's simply not fresh enough.  Duh!  So, does anyone know of an espresso blend with the dark notes of Starbuck's (with perhaps some dark chocolate/caramel undertones)?  Obviously I'll want to order it from someplace that roasts the coffee only once it has been ordered.

Thanks for your help.

Ok, here are some suggestions garnered from this thread:

Espresso Blends
*Sweet Maria's Liquid Amber
*Yemen Mokha Sunani
*Sweet Maria's Monkey Blend
*Intelligentsia's Black Cat
*Uganda Bugisu mixed 50/50 with Sweet Maria's Monkey Blend
*Yemen by itself single orginal shot (SOS)
*Allegro Organic Espresso from Whole Food Markets
*Mocha Java
*Yemen rested 4 days combined with Turquesa rested 2 days


Tips:

*If you want a regular mocha, use a mellower blend and a sweeter chocolate...

*To increase the boldness reduce the amount of milk going into the drink by 1-2 ounces.

*There are many different ways to create bold coffee.  The most common is dark roasting, like Starbucks, which yields bitterness.  The second, preferrable way is to use beans with a "wilder" taste.  Some possibilities include:

-sumatra
-monsooned malabar
-ethiopians, esp Djimah
-sulawesi
-or a blend of the above, which is what MJ essentially is (these days, usually sumatra and ethiopia).

*In my opinion the chocolate is equally if not more important. Galler cocoa powder is the best I've found. You need to add some sugar, it is pure cocoa. Hard to mix, too. Or just buy one of their 70% chocolate bars, melt in a small pan on the stove in some milk, then add it to your frothed milk/espresso.

*In my opinion, the chocolate is just as important as the blend being used.  For a long time we were using Ghiradelli ground chocolate, but recently started using Torani chocolate syrup.  This easily kicked up the taste of our mochas a couple notches.  When I am done with this syrup, I want to try Guittard chocolate syrup, which alot of people prefer the most.

*Add a slight amount of hot water to saturate the cocoa powder, then pull the shot onto the chocolate.  

*Popular among cg-ers is to sprinkle cocoa on top of the shot, then pour your milk.

*A very awesome trick that may have originated with Dismas Smith, of Zoka, is to very coarsely grind some coffee beans over the foam: the scent and aroma from the beans when your client brings the cup to her face tends to create a positive reaction.  

*Try using the Black Cat WITHOUT the chocolate.  The lack of carbon burnination in Black Cat results in a coffee that does not require copious amounts of sugary chocolate to hide the lackluster roasting capabilities of SBUX.

*My mocha is a double-double espresso with one teaspoon of sugar (OK sometimes 2) and then dusted lightly with a 50/50 mixture of Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Cocoa mixed with Hershey's unsweetened dutched chocolate and then the milk added.  It ends up about 40% coffee and 60% milk.

*The very best chocolately espresso I have ever made was Yemen Mokha Sunani roasted FC++ and rested 4 days.
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morning
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Posted Thu Sep 16, 2004, 3:21pm
Subject: Re: Best Espresso for Mochas?
 

Greetings fellow mocha junkie.  After sampling a great many espresso blends my wife and I agree that Allegro Organic Espresso produces the most satisfying flavor when used in a mocha.  We pick up Allegro in sealed 12oz bags from Whole Food Markets.  Beware some Whole Food Markets roast on site and the quality is not the same.

Also would recommend Luxembourg cocoa mix for extremely rich mochas.  It is available in a fewer premium grocery stories or by the case direct from the manufacturer in Wisconsin.

-dylan
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tom_b
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Posted Thu Sep 16, 2004, 3:31pm
Subject: Re: Best Espresso for Mochas?
 

I found out recently I'm not the only espresso snob in my house. I make an ice blended mocha for my 17 year old stepson, and formerly thought he didn't notice the difference when I used fresh stuff, or the older beans in my supply, or store bought beans my wife uses, which are always stale and sometimes too dark for my taste.

The other day I made him a mocha with some fresh Cafe Vita, their del sol blend, which is fairly light and acidic, without any bitterness. He said he was suprised that there was no bitter aftertaste, really liked it.

I think the same beans are good in espresso as in milk drinks. It is common to see blends with a darker roast or stronger flavored varietals being favored for use in lattes, etc, but  even if you cover up the flavor, it still comes through relatively intact. I don't think there's a best bean, just a zillion delightful variations on my preference - medium dark at most, a little or a lot acidic, and fresh.

A true mocha afficionado can provide a more authoritative reply, however..
to:)m
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expobar
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Posted Thu Sep 16, 2004, 6:30pm
Subject: Re: Best Espresso for Mochas?
 

The question no one has asked, surprisingly, is "what do you look for in a mocha?"

-If you want bittersweet like Starbucks uses, it's more the chocolate than the coffee, use a darker chocolate and a mellower coffee (Dark roast)
-If you want a mocha that really lets you know you're drinking coffee, use just enough chocolate to let you know there's chocolate in it and a more acidic blend.  For latte's, I usually make them with a Single Origin shot of a somewhat more acidic coffee, IE Colombian or Guatemalan.
-If you want a regular mocha, use a mellower blend and a sweeter chocolate...

Someone else with more experience can give you more choices, but that's about all I know.
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MochaManiac
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MochaManiac
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Location: West Michigan
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Posted Fri Sep 17, 2004, 8:20am
Subject: Re: Best Espresso for Mochas?
 

Thanks all for your replies.  You're probably right, Zeppelin.  It matters what you're looking for in your mocha.  This is very difficult for me to describe.  I do remember what got me hooked on espresso drinks were the absolutely amazing and sinfully deliscious mochas from the coffee shops in Ann Arbor, MI (I attended U of Michigan).  

I want that experience again!

What I remember is a powerful coffee flavor, but never bitter!  Semi-sweet!  Not chocolate milk with a hint of coffee!  Smooth.  Thick.  Creamy (probably from the whipped cream).  Oh, I'm going nuts just thinking about it.

To be honest (and this might sound crazy), I did happen to purchase a bag of Starbucks Espresso whole beans that seemed surprisingly fresh and turned out to be amazingly deliscious!  That really made a great mocha.  I have since to experience that again.

Do any of you know the darker espresso blends?  I don't want bitter.  I don't know anything about acidity.   What does that add to the coffee?  I would associate that with bitter, but apparently that's not the case.

Thanks for all your help.
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tom_b
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Posted Fri Sep 17, 2004, 2:00pm
Subject: Re: Best Espresso for Mochas?
 

I use the word acidity in an unejucated way, synonymous with brightness, which perhaps isn't the same thing. I should head over to CG's glossary or coffeereview to see what is what. In any case, lighter, medium, and a little in medium-dark roasts retain some of the bean material, don't roast it all away, and present a light, bright forward presenting taste in the beans, instead of medium dark's predominant 'chocolate' or dark's carbon, or the floral, berry, citrus, wine, old shoe, sweetness or other suprises you get toward the middle or end of each sip. Not all lighter roasts exhibit acidity of course, some are more dull or flat, leathery..?

The only characteristic that would really hinder a mocha or other milk drink to me, is the clean watery non-flavor of some varieties, like some costa ricans.. It sounds like OP's preference is in the dark/medium dark range.. Something with berry or citrus might be a good complement to the chocolate - anybody know what varieties exhibit citrus or berry?
:)tom
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MochaManiac
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MochaManiac
Joined: 16 Sep 2004
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Location: West Michigan
Expertise: I love coffee

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Posted Wed Sep 22, 2004, 3:00pm
Subject: Re: Best Espresso for Mochas?
 

Ok, just tried Intelligentsia's Black Cat blend.  WOW!  It made my head spin and my senses go wild.  Phenomenal.  That's, definitely, the stuff for me!
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morning
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Posted Wed Sep 22, 2004, 4:45pm
Subject: Re: Best Espresso for Mochas?
 

After seeing it praised on this board, we ordered some Intelligentsia's Black Cat blend.  After a couple of pounds we agreed that it was an exceptional espresso blend and extremely smooth.  However we found that milk based drinks such as mochas quickly overpowered the espresso.  Black Cat is still one of our favorites for straight shots or americanos but we prefer stronger espresso when making mochas.  Guess that is why there are a million and one espresso blends out there.
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MochaManiac
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MochaManiac
Joined: 16 Sep 2004
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Location: West Michigan
Expertise: I love coffee

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Posted Wed Sep 22, 2004, 5:44pm
Subject: Re: Best Espresso for Mochas?
 

morning Said:

After seeing it praised on this board, we ordered some Intelligentsia's Black Cat blend.  After a couple of pounds we agreed that it was an exceptional espresso blend and extremely smooth.  However we found that milk based drinks such as mochas quickly overpowered the espresso.  Black Cat is still one of our favorites for straight shots or americanos but we prefer stronger espresso when making mochas.  Guess that is why there are a million and one espresso blends out there.

Posted September 22, 2004 link

I really do think you have a good point.  I noticed that I must use only about half as much milk as I have in the past and certainly much less chocolate.  You're right, Black Cat is overpowered easily.  I tried the Black Cat with a couple of good "plops" of whipped cream.  Gave it a stir.  I was stunned at how good it was!  I never thought I could enjoy espresso like that.  

Well, I'm still open to other suggestions.  Certainly I wouldn't mind an espresso with more body and all around more bold in intensity.  Please let me know of some other suggestions.

I just had to try the Black Cat because so many people raive about it.  Now I know why.

Thanks, Morning.

Just an update on the Paradise Roasters espresso.  It makes great cappuccinos!  Great morning coffee: bright and lively.
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espressobsessed
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Posted Fri Sep 24, 2004, 6:52pm
Subject: Re: Best Espresso for Mochas?
 

If you want something bolder, you may want to try some Mocha Java (or Mokha Java, as in the ancient port of Mokha in Yemen.  Java is based on coffee from the island of Java in SE Asia).  

There are many different ways to create bold coffee.  The most common is dark roasting, like starbucks, which yields bitterness.  The second, preferrable way is to use beans with a "wilder" taste.  Some possibilities include:

-sumatra
-monsooned malabar
-ethiopians, esp Djimah
-sulawesi
-or a blend of the above, which is what MJ essentially is (these days, usually sumatra and ethiopia).

What size is the cup you are using to serve it in?

Jimmy

 
blog: espressolab.ca
work: museocoffee.com

owner/barista at Museo Coffee
Saskatoon SK Canada
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