The wonderful combination of chocolate, coffee and chile spice, is known as a Mocha Chile Coffee (aka Spicy Mexican Coffee), but the cocoa-chile spice combination is also wonderful as a hot chocolate drink without the coffee. Cocoa and chile spice are both low carb ingredients, but the sugar will have to be a sugar substitute if you want to make it a low carb beverage. Either way, the chile spice and rich cocoa powder should shine through as the star ingredients.
How Spicy is Mexican Coffee or Mexican Hot Chocolate
When I heard that Starbucks was offering a Chile Mocha Coffee, I rushed down to try one out, only to be sorely disappointed. No heat! I was anticipating a spicy, chocolaty rich coffee topped with a spicy whipped cream. I asked the barista what was going on and they said really there was just a little spice on the top, but mostly it was a coffee mocha. Harrumph!
I made it low carb of course by the type of sugar substitute I added, but the chile spice is variable to get right. It needs to be spicy enough to compete with the rich flavor of cocoa, yet not be overpowering.
We had a bumper crop of chile peppers this year and we spent all fall harvesting, drying and smoking them. The smoked peppers (Chipotle and Smoked Paprika) add complexity to any drink or dish, but they don’t work for everything.
For example smoked peppers were great in Mexican moles and in a drink syrup for Old Fashions, but they did not work well at all in a Mexican ceviche. That required the brighter spice of chile peppers that were not smoked ( i.e., aji, habanero, serranos).
I tried smoked and unsmoked peppers in the Mexican coffee. In the end I preferred a combination of both. You can get my preferred mix of ingredients of the mocha-chile blend at our onliine store, or you can modify the DIY recipe below to your own tastes.
My blend (Heathglen’s blend) was designed to please the Scandinavian chile-head palate (medium-hot spice with a smoky background).
Can this Drink be Low Carb?
Many (most) recipes can be modified to be low sugar if you are amenable to sugar substitutes. Lowering the sugar content of recipes is the most effective way to reach a low carb lifestyle in my experience. Truvia is my choice of a sugar substitute, but there are alternatives. Check out this detailed post on sugar alternatives for a deeper dive into the pros and cons.
The 100% cocoa powder, the chile spice, the coffee and the whipped cream are all low carb ingredients. Just know that low carb does not necessarily equal low calorie. The whipped cream may take you over your calorie goals if you have too many of this wonderful concoction.
And, by the way, a shot of brandy added to the Mocha Hot Chocolate takes the chill off of cold Winter nights!
Mexican Mocha Coffee (or hot chocolate)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- medium bowl or covered tupperware
- stirring spoon
- ⅓ Cup 100% cocoa powder
- ⅓ Cup sugar or sugar substitute
- 1 ¼ Teaspoons chipotle powder or other smoked chile pepper
- ¼ – ½ Teaspoon hot pepper powder cayenne, aji, habanero, etc.
- ½ Teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ Teaspoon vanilla powder if available
- ½ Teaspoon orange zest dried
- 1 ¼ Teaspoons cinnamon
- 8 Ounces hot coffee or hot water
- ½ Cup whipped cream optional
- Add all dry ingredients (8 ingredients) to a bowl or a covered tupperware type of container. Stir together thoroughly cover and shake if in covered container. Set aside in your preferred covered container for future use.
- Make coffee or heat up water to boiling. Add 1-2 Tablespoons to the hot water or coffee, stir until dissolved.
- Serve topped with whipped cream if desired, sprinkled with chocolate shavings or cinnamon.
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