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Much Ado about Mochas

Food & Drink

Seattle’s Coffeehouses Share Their Secrets

Listen, we love an espresso as much as the next caffeine addict. It’s tasty, makes you feel European, and gives you a quick jolt of energy. But sometimes, when we’re feeling indulgent, only a mocha will do. You get your caffeine fix and your chocolate fix all in one, decadent cup. Plus, the best and most well-balanced drinks won’t even feel that sinful—good chocolate just makes the beverage profile a little more interesting. Here, a few of our favorite Seattle coffee shops offered their mocha secrets.


“Our mochas are pretty simple as far as recipes go. A pump of chocolate, two shots of espresso, and milk. We tend to go lighter on the chocolate than many other coffee shops, which customers appreciate. What makes our mochas delicious and unique is the quality of coffee going in them. In each mocha, we use two shots of our signature Space Blend Espresso. Named for the Seattle Space Needle, this blend is made up of high-quality coffees from Guatemala, Kenya, and Ethiopia. The sweetness and milk chocolate notes of the coffee pair perfectly with the dark chocolate sauce and milk, giving a complexity of flavor that can’t be replicated with lower-quality espresso.

We’re also proud to source over 80% of our coffee directly, which allows us to pay our farmers incredibly well and create transparency along the entire supply chain. For more information about our trading practices, we’ve written up an Authenticity Report that includes more detail.”


“We use Valrhona’s Manjari dark chocolate in our mocha syrup, which is a 64% single origin dark chocolate from Madagascar (just like our vanilla beans). We use cocoa powder too, but the high percentage of coverature makes our mocha especially rich and delicious.”


“We use Monin chocolate sauce in our mochas. It’s fantastic. But I think what really makes our mochas so special is the espresso, which I roast myself on Queen Anne Hill. My small roaster, Counterbalance Roasters, had made an impact on our drinks. I roast small batches and we blend in shop with the freshest roasts. We try for a caramel, salt and earth espresso—going for an aroma that hits first. It pairs so well with the chocolate. That and we use local Smith Brothers Farms whole milk, also extremely fresh. It’s the combination of well sourced ingredients and the attention to detail that make our drinks note able.”


“We find that simplicity and balanced flavor creates a remarkable drink. When we created our mocha recipe we were—and still are—focused on using chocolate that complements the notes of chocolate, hazelnut, poached pear, and rose. Valrhona’s 100% cocoa powder fits this criteria.

Our specific recipe is a house made cane sugar simple syrup, mixed with Valrhona cocoa powder.  Half an ounce of this mixture added to the bottom of the service vessel, we then add a shot of our Streamline Espresso stir the two liquids, steamed milk, and finish with a latte art design. Our goal is to highlight and complement our espresso and not overwhelm the drink with chocolate.”