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I'd like to add coffee to my hot cocoa recipe, but I'm not interested in using instant coffee. What do you all think is the best method- maybe I should heat my grounds & milk together and let it steep? Has anyone ever tried this?

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When my husband and I were trying to make good coffee ice cream, we did just that -- steeping the coffee beans in milk. It worked quite well.

If you have a French Press, you can use that with coarsely ground coffee beans. Heat the milk to a simmer or even a very low boil, and then use it in place of water in the French Press. This was how we got the best results for our ice cream.

You can also get good results from whole beans. Heat the whole beans in milk in a pot, and then let sit in the refrigerator overnight. Strain out the beans, and you'll have strongly coffee-flavored milk.

  • The purists argue that the milk fats and proteins will not allow the extraction of all the flavor from the coffee beans. – BaffledCook Dec 4 '10 at 15:38
  • This was my initial guess- I'll be experimenting today and let you know how it works! – Mrs. Garden Dec 4 '10 at 15:49
  • @GUIJunkie -- I didn't notice any missing flavors. Perhaps it was a tiny bit less bitter, but otherwise it just tasted like milky coffee. (But then again, I'm definitely not a coffee purist.) – Martha F. Dec 5 '10 at 4:37
  • Me neither, I wouldn't have noticed. – BaffledCook Dec 5 '10 at 23:18
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Making [good] coffee is a science. For your purpose, you should make an Espresso like strength coffee.

Follow these guidelines for your best result, and don't seep the grounded beans in milk.

  • Buy a 'natural' roast Arabica beans.
  • Use fresh beans.
  • Grind on demand, just on time.
  • Grind 7-8gr / 0.25-0.28 oz of coffee per cup
  • Tamp the coffee grind gently but firmly into the filter.
  • Pour hot but not boiling water over the grind (92-96°C / 197.6-204.8 F)

This will give you a strong coffee that you can mix with your cocoa.

References: Coffee Research and Kaffee

  • If you don't want to water it down, there is only one option: Instant coffee. – BaffledCook Dec 2 '10 at 21:44
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    Although a strong cup of coffee won't water it down at all. – BaffledCook Dec 3 '10 at 7:52
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You could just make really strong coffee and add it to the rest of your mixture. A little water probably won't ruin it. Something like adding just enough water to cover your coffee grounds should make it strong enough.

  • Sure, I could... but I want to keep all of the rich creaminess of the hot cocoa. I don't want to water it down at all. – Mrs. Garden Dec 2 '10 at 21:31
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    Just use a heavier cream instead of milk and use a shot of esspresso. The denser cream and water of the espresso will balance out nicely. – Bruce Alderson Dec 2 '10 at 22:27
  • I agree with Bruce. You don't even necessarily need the heavier cream. Good espresso has a dense, creamy mouthfeel on its own, but even if it doesn't, it won't water down the hot cocoa in any perceptible way. If you're worried, make a short 1-1.5oz ristretto for even less volume. Aeropress will give you a cheap-but-quite-decent espresso. – zoned post meridiem Aug 24 '16 at 1:31
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I've made ice cream with very, very strong, fresh ground, local coffee from Cafe Moto in San Diego. The coffee flavor wasn't "forward" enough when I took it to the shop for them to taste. I used a lot of coffee and not much water, fine ground, slow, long steep in a stovetop at 205 degrees. It was good, but not enough coffee flavor. HOWEVER, if you use too much coffee, the water won't freeze as creamy as cream and milk do, so I found that this batch was "icier" than the next few have been. So, the next time I decided to steep coffee from Cafe Moto, medium ground (Chemex grind) in the cream/milk cold brew style, for 9 hours. The end results were great, but I still want to see what longer will do, so tonight I am doing a 24 hour soak, medium grind, Cafe Moto Colombia, Red Honey Process. It all gets put into a clean mason jar, I shake it a few times in the time it's sitting in the fridge, and strain later with a tedious combination of wire sieve/cheesecloth...or let it settle and slow pour it into a different container a couple of times. Use a little more milk than your recipe calls for (1/4-1/3c) because you'll lose some in the straining/steeping process. Tonight I chose (for no particular reason) to steep about one full Hario hand grinder's worth of beans (maybe a cup ground) with about 20-25 ounces of Ultra Filtered Fairlife Milk for 24 hours. This milk is amazing if you have not tasted it yet....they claim 50% more protein and 50% less fat...all by filtering it multiple times. Anyways, steeping in cold milk is my preffered method, but with good coffee only.

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