A peppermint mocha is a Christmas season essential and a great cozy drink to make throughout the winter months. Here’s how to make one at home that actually tastes like the ones you get a your favorite coffee shop.
I’ve had the idea for this post popping in and out of my head for the last few years, so I’m glad I’m finally getting to share it with you today! It involves a coffee beverage, so naturally it’s very near and dear to my heart. I’ve mentioned before that I used to run a branch of a certain famous coffee shop for about 10 years and during that time I definitely drank more than my fair share of indulgent peppermint mochas. And not just at Christmastime! No, no, I’m an all-weather peppermint mocha kinda person.
Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned With DIY Peppermint Mochas
When I stopped working at the cafe, I did without my favorite gourmet mint chocolate treat for a few months, but then one day I realized just how much I loved the idea of good peppermint mocha. Or actually, an iced peppermint mocha. I think it was Summer at the time. So I did what most sane people do when they want to try to make a peppermint mocha at home. I made peppermint hot chocolate. I made coffee. And then I put them together. And added ice too.
If you’ve ever tried that before then you know that it just isn’t the same. Actually, it tastes kind of wrong. It’s funny how that works out isn’t it? Luckily, I had my thinking cap on so I came up with something that I think hits the spot pretty much perfectly and is more directly inspired by the actual ingredients we used at the cafe.. Of course, when I say that this is a recipe for a “coffee shop style” peppermint mocha, I know that all coffee shops have recipes that are slightly different but I think they all have a few things in common.
First of all, they all have a nice little kick to them. The chocolate is usually a little on the darker side so you really notice that chocolate flavor, the peppermint is really cool and peppermint-y and you can still taste the coffee so you know you’re getting your caffeine fix. Most importantly, all of the flavors are really nicely balanced so that they all stand up well to each other without ever being completely over-powering. And then of course there’s the whipped cream. If you have a good barista, they’ll always give you a little extra, and I suggest you do the same for yourself. It’s Christmas!
Ingredients Needed for the Peppermint Mocha Coffee Recipe
- Freshly brewed hot coffee or espresso. Strong powdered instant coffee will work as well in a pinch.
- Granulated white sugar
- Peppermint extract
- Good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
- Hot milk or steamed milk. 2% dairy milk is standard, but almond milk and oat milk are great non-dairy options.
- Your choice of toppings such as mini chocolate chips or broken peppermint candy pieces
If you’ve been doing some holiday baking, you may already have everything you need for this yummy treat waiting for you in your pantry!
Mixing Up Your Peppermint Mocha
So here’s how I make my peppermint mochas for myself!
First I start off with the coffee and the milk. Warm up about 8 ounces of milk on the stove, in the microwave, or use the steam want on your espresso machine. Next you’ll want to brew your coffee. Real coffee shops use a shot or two of perfectly-pulled espresso, so pull two shots of espresso if you have a machine at home. If not, we can make this using regular brewed coffee as well and it works out beautifully.
You can make coffee brewed using a Keurig, a drip coffee maker or regular instant coffee. The recipe we’re making today is for a nice big, 16 oz mug or two smaller mugs, and we’re going to measure out about 8oz of the brewed coffee, or two shots of espresso. Real espresso roast beans are a blend of Latin American beans and beans from the Asia/Pacific region, so if you use some type of easy-to-find Latin American coffee like a breakfast blend or a house blend from your favorite coffee brand, you’ll be on the right track.
I should also note that I don’t usually make my coffee in a measuring cup each day. I usually just make it in a mug but I wanted to make sure to get all of the amounts just right for you today. That way, if you want to double or triple the recipe to share with friends over the holidays, you can do that easily in a big measuring cup!
To the brewed coffee, add in about 2 teaspoons of sugar and 3/4 teaspoons of good quality cocoa powder. It must be done this way! No chocolate syrup or hot chocolate mix! It makes all the difference to use the straight cocoa powder. Mix everything together really well so there are no lumps.
Next, add about 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract. This stuff is strong so feel free to add a little less if you like and then adjust after all the ingredients are added to balance the flavors. I feel like the peppermint flavor needs to be strong for a good peppermint mocha, so I add the full 1/4 teaspoon.
Pour the coffee mixture into one large mug, or split it evenly between two smaller mugs, then add your hot milk quickly, before it starts to cool off, filling up to about 1/4″ below the rim of the cup.
It’s looking good, isn’t it? Make sure you top your peppermint mocha with whipped cream for a real coffee shop experience! You can use homemade whipped cream, store-bought whipped cream from a can, or store-bought coconut whipped cream like I use for my plant-based, non-dairy version.
If you aren’t sure about your whip-creaming skills, don’t worry! I’ll show you how. It’s really easy and it just takes a little practice to get the hang of it.
The key to success is to start adding your whipped cream about the outer edges of your mug first, creating a seal that stops the liquid underneath from bubbling up and making a mess. Then, you just slowly work your way inward and upward as you continue circling around the inside of your mug.
Like this! Follow the arrows.
The fun thing about making your own peppermint mocha at home is that you can add your own festive toppings on top of your whipped cream and make it even better than the coffee shop ones! I like to go for mini marshmallows, chocolate curls, or crushed up candy cane pieces when I’m trying to be really festive.
Give my peppermint mocha recipe a try and let me know what you think!
Here’s the full printable recipe.
A peppermint mocha is a Christmas season essential and a great cozy drink to make throughout the winter months. Here's how to make one at home that actually tastes like the ones you get a your favorite coffee shop.
- 8 oz Hot brewed coffee (or 2 shots of espresso)
- 8-12 oz Hot milk (depending on mug size)
- 3/4 tsp Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp Granulated white sugar
- 1/4 tsp Peppermint extract
- Whipped cream
- Toppings such as crushed candy canes, chocolate chips, etc.
Brew the coffee using your choice of brewing method and steam the milk or heat it up on the stove or in the microwave.
Add 8oz of hot coffee or two shots of espresso to a measuring cup. Add in the sugar and the cocoa powder and mix well until everything is dissolved. Add in the peppermint extract and mix again.
Pour the coffee mixture into one large mug, or divide it between two smaller mugs. Fill each mug up with hot milk to about 1/4" below the rim.
Top each mug with whipped cream and the festive toppings of your choice. Enjoy!
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.