Mix Instant Hot Chocolate And Coffee For An Effortless At-Home Mocha

One of the simplest and sweetest pick-me-ups to brew at home is a mocha. In its simplest form, all you really need to do is pour some coffee over a tablespoon or two of instant hot chocolate mix, and stir to blend the java and cocoa flavors. Though there are plenty of creative ideas to enhance the drink — starting with a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup — the basic ingredients are easy to find.

Because many powdered hot chocolate mixes contain dried milk, you may find your drink perfectly creamy as is. But to make it easier to combine and temper coffee's bitter flavors, you can prepare hot chocolate first by heating water, milk, or a plant-based alternative, and mixing it with a few scoops of the instant mix. Then, just adjust the bittersweet beverage to your liking.

If you want to further bring out the roasted notes and replicate the coffee shop taste, make your mocha with espresso rather than coffee. Since espresso offers a stronger, more concentrated punch than your morning brew, you might want to dilute the mixture with extra warmed milk. If you're not a regular home coffee maker, fear not. You can make coffee without a machine or strainer using instant coffee or espresso powder instead.

Modern mocha drinks

Named after the Yemeni port (also called Mocha or Mokha), the original mocha was a luxurious coffee with aromas that may have reminded drinkers of chocolate — and while hot chocolatey beverages are enjoyed worldwide, mochas can also be served cold. To make an iced mocha, brew your caffeine of choice and pour it over ice before combining. Alternatively, skip the cooling step and use cold brew as a base. Just remember, the fats in hot chocolate mix need heat to dissolve, so be sure to prepare it separately in a warm liquid before chilling. For a truly smooth blend, use your milk frother to step up your hot chocolate game.

Alternatively, elevate the experience by making a mocha frappé. Follow the same steps above, but blend the mocha with ice to create a thicker drink. For richer flavor and a creamier texture, add a tablespoon or more of heavy cream or half-and-half. Since frozen drinks taste less sweet, increase the sugar accordingly. You may also find the chocolate flavors slightly muted, so consider enhancing the flavor by melting a square or two of chocolate into the hot mixture before blending.

At-home mocha add-ins

The beauty of this at-home, DIY mocha is that it's equally delightful in the morning as it is in the evening. To transform it into an adult dessert beverage, you can enhance your coffee and hot chocolate combination with eggnog, rum, peppermint schnapps, or an aged liquor like amaro. Adding coffee liqueur and vodka to the mix creates a mocha-inspired espresso martini.

Cocoa and coffee harmonize well with many other flavors, so don't hesitate to experiment with syrups and spices as well. Cinnamon is a classic and welcome addition, as is vanilla. Incorporate a small amount of the spice or extract into your mug along with the powdered mix before brewing, and garnish with cinnamon sugar, flaky salt and caramel, a cinnamon stick, or a festive cookie. If you prefer more sweet heat, consider warming milk with spices and an ancho or chipotle pepper for extra zing.

However, if the chocolate flavor is too intense, consider opting for a white mocha instead. Choose a white chocolate hot cocoa mix for an easy at-home option, or melt down a bag of white chocolate chips. Dissolve your chosen form of chocolate into milk before blending it with a strong cup of coffee or a shot of espresso.