Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Welcome Ghirardelli’s Mocha Challenge Winner: Jason Dominy Shares His $1500 Prize-Winning Recipe!

The devil you say! Yes, it's true. I'm about to introduce you to the man who created the Mocha Diablo, this year's $1500 prize-winning recipe for Ghirardelli's Mocha Challenge!

Jason Dominy is a highly respected professional in the coffee trade with over 14 years dedicated to coffee. He writes informative articles on the subject (like this one for Imbibe magazine, which will give you some great tips for pour-over coffee). Jason is also the incoming chair of the Barista Guild of America. I'll be blogging more about the US Barista Championships soon. Today, I'm pleased to turn things over to Jason...

(Scroll to the end of this post to read more about Jason or visit him at his blog, which features a lot of great coffee content.)

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
he Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Jason Dominy, dedicated coffee pro
and winner of this year's
Ghirardelli Mocha Challenge
I came up with the Mocha Diablo recipe 12 years ago, when I ran a coffee shop in downtown Athens, GA, called The Bean’ry. I was playing with different hot chocolates, and using pepper in them, when I decided to add espresso. It instantly hit me as a great drink.

Over the years I’ve tweaked it, and made it for hundreds of people as a special treat. It now uses chipotle, which is a smoked jalapeno, and adds a real nice depth to the drink.

When I saw the Ghirardelli contest on Barista Exchange, one of my favorite websites, I figured, “what the heck?” and entered the recipe as I’ve made it the past 5 years or so. I’ve always loved a good mocha done well, and do to this day. When the espresso is paired nicely with high quality chocolate, like the handmade chocolates from Cacao-Atlanta, a local bean-to-bar chocolate maker, the taste is amazing. (Click here to visit Cacao-Atlanta.)

B & B’s Timbales Blend coffee (sold by Batdorf and Bronson Coffee Roasters in Atlanta, Georgia, click here to learn more about or purchase this coffee) has a nice sweet chocolate taste to it, and makes a great espresso, and a great pairing with a nice chocolate.

Over the years I’ve hosted many Single Origin Chocolate and Coffee Tastings, and find that the similarities in how cacao and coffee are grown lend themselves to differences in taste that even average customers can discern from, as well as pairing nicely together.

It was an honor to win this year’s Ghirardelli’s Mocha Challenge, and to be able to share this drink with you. It’s obviously inspired by Mexican hot chocolates, and has a nice depth most mochas don’t have.

The first thing you smell when you draw the cup to your nose is the sweet cinnamon. Then, you get the sweet milk, followed by the nice espresso and chocolate. And in the back of your mouth and throat, you sense the subtle heat from the ground chipotle. It’s a very well balanced drink. I give to you, the recipe. Enjoy!

In good coffee,
~ Jason Dominy

Jason Dominy's Winning
Mocha Diablo

* .5 oz Ghirardelli Black Label Chocolate Sauce

* Chipotle Powder (I use McCormick’s)

* Steamed Milk

* 2 shots espresso (A traditional double shot)

* Ground Cinnamon

Place 1 pump (.5 oz) Ghirardelli Black Label Chocolate Sauce and a conservative pinch of Chipotle Powder in a 10oz latte cup. Pull a standard double espresso shot into the cup and stir. Lightly dust the top with cinnamon and pour steamed milk over the top. Enjoy.

You can follow Jason on Twitter
by clicking here.

Visit Jason at his blog,
Musings of a Coffee Raggamuffin,
by clicking here

To see the other winners of this challenge
and get their delicious recipes,
click here and scroll down.

More on Jason...

Jason Dominy has been working in the coffee trade for 14 years, starting with opening his first coffeehouse in Augusta, Georgia, on the campus of Augusta State University. He is the incoming chair of the Barista Guild of America, and sits on the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Professional Development Committee, training baristas and coffee professionals all over the country. Jason also judges at regional barista competitions. 

Jason’s current pro position is Customer Support and Outreach Coordinator for Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters (B&B) in Atlanta, a 24 year old company, roasting Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified and Bird-Friendly, Shade Grown coffees, using 100% renewable energy.

Jason not only uses social media to connect with the public, but also conducts events and labs at his company’s Roastery, at their Dancing Goats Coffee Bar, college campuses, and grocery stores like Whole Foods. (Dang, does this not sound like a fun job?!) Jason is quite passionate about his work, including his commitment to creating a better community for baristas and independent coffee shops.

Thank you, Jason, for sharing your passion,
talent, and winning recipe with us today!
~ Cleo

You are welcome to leave a comment or question for Jason or me
by clicking the "comments" link at the end of this post.


A final, quick note for our mystery reading fans.
This week marks the release of the latest Mystery Readers Journal with the theme Hobbies, Crafts, and Special Interests.

The issue, edited by Mystery Fanfare's Janet Rudolph, includes many mystery authors who have guest posted for us over the past year. You can check out the contents by clicking here, which will also give you info on how to purchase a copy (hard or electronic) for yourself.



  1. Wow, Jason, chipotle. What a lovely idea. I grew up in the Bay Area and LOVE Ghiradelli chocolate!!!! Can't wait to try this combination. Thank you so much for sharing on MLK this week. What a treat.



  2. This sounds like such an exciting recipe! I'm a real coffeeholic and chocoholic and I can't wait to try this. Thanks so much for coming by, Jason. :)

  3. Thanks so much for joining us today, Jason! Your recipe sounds absolutely divine! Congratulations on your win and on your new position as chair of the Barista Guild of America! Wow!! Celebrity day here on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen!

  4. I'm a Ghiradelli chocolate fan and was so delighted to find their hot chocolate mix available in a specialty coffee shop here in Ottawa just before Christmas! Didn't take long to get through it. I also love espresso so what a terrific combination. Thanks for posting it here for all to enjoy.

  5. Jason is a very dear friend of mine who has helped me develop a passion for the specialty coffee industry. He is truly an asset to his industry, and this awesome drink is just one of his many talents! So excited to see this drink on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen!

  6. That is so awesome! I worked as a barista and later on manager of a coffee shop once upon a time! This sounds amazing, I can imagine what a wonderful treat this would be. Thanks for posting!

  7. Wow, this is devilishly good indeed. Thanks, Jason for sharing it and for coming by Mystery Lovers Kitchen today. Congrats on your win!

  8. Iam one very proud sister!!Amazing job Jason!!Cant wait to try this yummy drink.Congrats Brother!!

  9. Thank you all. I'm incredibly honored. Coffee is a large passion of mine, and sharing it with others is a love. There are so many great local independent coffee shops serving amazing drinks like this, I encourage you to seek them out. There are some real hidden gems, probably in your neighborhood, filled with baristas just as passionate about making you not only drinks like this, but single origin coffees and handcrafted espresso drinks.
    The mocha was my gateway drug into the world of specialty coffee, and if in some way I can encourage you to look for great coffee outside the walls of a Starbucks, or Dunkin Donuts, it will be worth it for me. I know so many baristas that are creating really creative drinks like this in shops all over the country. I hope you find and experience some for yourself in the new year! Enjoy great coffee!!

  10. Oh heavens. I need some of that right now. It sounds fantastic. Thank you for sharing your love for coffee with all of us so we can reap the benefits!

  11. As a result of Cleo's wonderful books I have become much more "coffee savvy". I have a Moka Express sitting on my stove..I buy my beans from a local home roaster and now...I am going to make a fabulous Mocha!! Thanks, Paul...my little world just got a bit bigger!

  12. Congratulations, Jason! That's a huge win. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe with us.

    ~ Krista

  13. I don't even drink coffee (shhh - that's a sin among writers), but I really want to try this. I love the idea of a little spice with the sweet and creamy.