Mork Specialty Hot Chocolate – Feature Interview

Screen shot 2013-06-23 at 10.08.36 AMWith Mork Specialty Hot Chocolate becoming increasingly popular amongst cafes that offer specialty coffee here in Melbourne and also now spreading interstate, I fired off a few choice questions for chocolatier Josefin Zernell about how Mork came to be, and what we can expect in the not too-distant future. Josefin was even kind enough to reveal when we can expect the new Mork Dark Milk & Salt!

And if you’re yet to try Mork, be sure to check for it next time you’re out for coffee at any of these cafes: Proud Mary, Auction Rooms, Ora Specialty Coffee, St Ali, Twenty & Six Espresso, Dead Man Espresso, Clement Coffee, plus lots more!

The interview below will be interspersed with a few of my own photos brewing a simple cup of Mork on the stove. I’ve also had a lot of success brewing Mork using the espresso machine to create a more aerated Mork, but a simple stovetop brew also tastes delicious.

Interview with Josefin Zernell – Founder of Mork Specialty Hot Chocolate

Josefin, thanks for speaking with BrewMethod! Tell us briefly how Mork came about, and what inspired the idea behind it?

Of course. Mörk started as an idea about a year and a half ago. Me, a chocolatier from Sweden, and my partner had been living in Melbourne for about two years at the time and had been absolutely blown away with the quality of the coffee scene here. Having a background in the coffee industry as a roaster and barista it was like coming to the coffee centre of the world. I noticed quickly that the drinking chocolate that was offered in most cafés was lacking in quality and that sugar was dominating completely. I decided to start Mörk to change that, to bring my specialty chocolate knowledge to the café scene and to slowly start converting people to the dark chocolate side.

The secret to a good Mork is a generous serving of chocolate, and not too much milk.
The secret to a good Mork is a generous serving of chocolate, and not too much milk.

I’m going to try to compare Mork to coffee, because I know coffee geeks will appreciate that analogy. If Mork Original were a coffee, I think it would be a Central American, perhaps from Costa Rica. Clean, balanced, sweet, rich and full of flavour. Even Darker, is probably more like an Ethiopian coffee. More complex, and deeper flavours. What’s the best reaction you’ve ever had from someone drinking Mork?

I like the comparison! And you are right, the complexity definitely shines through more in Even Darker, with more fruity characters coming through. There are such well balanced flavours in the cacao liquor which we use for both blends, with stone fruit, dark berries and sweet almonds in the tasting notes.

The best reaction would have to be when people who say that they don’t like dark chocolate taste Mörk and get converted on the spot. Also, having showcased our Original Dark side by side with Even Darker and people go nuts for the latter, our almost unsweetened 85% blend. Then I feel like we are actually reaching people. Chocolate is such a misunderstood product, if you before have tasted only dark, harsh and bitter chocolate you will most likely think that all dark chocolate must be bitter in flavour. Addition of extra sugar, vanilla and flavours is generally there to hide poor quality beans. With high quality beans and skilful roasting a 100% chocolate can be incredibly complex and almost sweet.

Mork Original on left - Even Darker on right ...
Mork Original on left – Even Darker on right …

Tell us a little about the ingredients in Mork. I recently saw Anthony Bourdain on a cacao farm, grinding cacao into a paste… is that essentially what cacao liquor is? Was it difficult to source the cocoa used in Mork?

Yes, cacao liquor is just that, the purest form of chocolate and have gone through all steps of refining except for the addition of sugar. We chose to work with cacao liquor to be able to control the amount and type of sugar in our blends.

When we started Mörk we ordered samples of cocoa powder and liquor from all over the world and had blind tastings to narrow it down. It took some time to find the right balance of flavour as we knew we wouldn’t settle for anything less than amazing. Sur Del Lago in Venezuela is one of the oldest cacao growing regions and produces incredible qualities of rare varieties such as the Trinitario used for our chocolate. We are fortunate to have access to such quality chocolate for our blends.

Instead of processed sugar, you use unrefined coconut blossum sugar. Why did you choose this as the sweetener, and how does it compare to using other sweeteners on the market?

We tasted coconut blossom sugar a while back and absolutely loved it. Once again we ordered samples from many producers all around Indonesia to find the best quality sugar and came in contact with a small producer in Ciamis, West Java. Their sugar is of a darker colour than other coconut sugar we have seen and the flavour is incredibly rich with notes of toffee and almost burnt sugar. We knew that it would complement the chocolate well and add only slight sweetness to our blends. We also loved the fact that it is diabetic friendly and low in GI. So, it was an easy decision.

Mork-Dark-Milk-And-SaltA lot of chocolate lovers are talking about Mork Dark Milk & Salt – is there a chance it could hit shelves before the end of Winter?

We are excited to announce that our very first 65% dark milk chocolate blend will be launched on the weekend June 29th. We can’t wait!

What’s your most memorable chocolate experience, either here in Australia or overseas?

Being practically in the middle of nowhere in a small town called Columbia, Missouri, having a day fresh Madagascan chocolate bar from Patric Chocolate, outside his small batch chocolate factory. It bursted with flavours, almost like munching on freshly picked sour cherries and sweet raspberries, so lively and multi-dimensional in character.

Brewing a Mork on a stovetop
Brewing a Mork on a stovetop

Mork had a great presence at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo this year. Do you think you’ll be back next year?

We hope to, we had an amazing response at MICE and are thankful to have been a part of it. It was the first time we showcased Mörk to an event of that size and I absolutely loved seeing people drink Mörk for the first time.

What’s your opinion on chilli in chocolate?

It’s actually more a classic than people take it for, dating back to the early days of the Maya civilisation. I still prefer my chocolate pure to let the spectra of flavours shine through. But I encourage anyone to try Mörk with some dried Ancho chilli – my favourite chilli fruit together with chocolate. It has a complex dark fruit character and a balanced strength which works really well with dark chocolate.

Every time I’ve had Mork in a cafe here in Melbourne… whether it’s at Proud Mary, Auction Rooms or Ora, it’s always made and presented exceptionally well. Do you give specific brewing instructions to the cafes that offer Mork?

We are lucky to work with some of the best baristas in the country, who already understand and respect our chocolate blends as they respect their beans. We do still offer instructions for how it is best “brewed” and it always involves making it extra strong.

Speaking of brewing – what’s your favourite type of milk to use with Mork?

I would have to say Elgaar full cream milk. It’s an organic milk from Tasmania, quite rare to find but incredibly delicious and it reminds me of the milk back home.

Using quality milk is essential
Using quality milk is essential

The brewing guide on your web site is great. Any tips in case readers wanted to give it a slight twist?

My all time favourite is to make the chocolate the night before, add a few green pods of good quality cardamom and let it steep in the fridge overnight. The next morning the flavours will have developed to the most aromatic rich chocolate drink, with the perfect hint of the spice. Heat the chocolate gently with the pods still in it and serve. Try the same thing with a vanilla pod, a few crushed up juniper berries or star anise.

Ever thought of creating a sugar/fructose-free Mork? (although Even Darker is already 85% cacao)

Who knows, this could very well already be in the works :)

Are there any bars using Mork in cocktails?

Not just yet, although there have been some recipes going around on social media for Mörktails and we can’t wait for that to catch on :)

Thanks so much for speaking to!

It has been a pleasure!

Mork Original
Mork Original

Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar – Melbourne Food & Wine Festival

The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival started on March 1st, 2013. One of the coffee events this year is the Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar, which occupies a space close to where Joost set up camp at last year’s event.

Every day during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, a different cafe will be featured at the Urban Coffee Farm. There are over 100 coffee trees on the site, and it’s already proving a popular place to relax after an early morning jog along the Yarra river. An array of baked goods are available, including croissants.

In late afternoon and into the evenings, there will be drinks on offer, and food. While last year Joost was a focal point of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, this year could see the Urban Coffee Farm taking up that position.

Check out the official information page for the Coffee Farm.

Photos of Urban Coffee Farm:

Urban Coffee Farm Melbourne - infographic about coffee processingUrban Coffee Farm Melbourne - the line up of daily workshops.Urban Coffee Farm - inside the Melbourne brew barOrdering coffee at the Urban Coffee Farm in MelbourneCoffee trees by the hundreds! At the Urban Coffee Farm in Melbourne.Interesting facts at the Urban Coffee FarmTake a journey through the farm to understand the coffee story - Urban Coffee FarmThe Urban Coffee Farm in all its glory!Near the Urban Coffee Farm, the Pop Up Patch operates a vegie garden for city dwellers.

Written by Richard Manley

Richard Manley lives in Melbourne, Australia. He is a Senior Digital Producer, having worked for businesses in a wide variety of industries including financial services, health insurance and telecommunications. You can find him on and Twitter.

Update: Growing coffee from green beans

Four months ago i harvested some fruit from my old coffee trees in Brisbane. I germinated the beans on top of my router, in some tupperware (since it was winter here in Melbourne). This gives them the warm and stable environment they need, but they still take 2 or 3 months to sprout!  The experiment was a mixed success. The first coffee tree to germinate ended up dying because i gave it too much sun early on.

Lesson learned, the next one to pop up I placed into my shaded area on the balcony where i keep other shade loving plants like orchids and mint.

Here’s the progress, four months on:

It’s looking healthy, and really starting to take off. An hour or two of direct sun per day is all they need to start with. Bright indirect light is best the rest of the day. Important to keep the plant moist… give it water pretty much every day. Coffee trees don’t tend to care too much about over watering, but the leaves will go brown on the tips if you don’t give enough water.

Care tips for growing coffee trees:

  • 2 – 3 months to germinate a bean at about 27 degrees
  • Give plenty of water. Water once per day or every second day in summer if the soil is drying out, less in winter.
  • Use organic, nutrient rich soil. Don’t skimp on cheap nasty potting mixes.
  • Coffee trees grow slowly. Expect it to take a couple months from germination until you have the first true leaves.
  • Don’t give too much sun! Only 1 hour or so direct sun per day maximum. Filtered sunlight the rest of the day. Coffee will quite happily grow in the shade as long as there is plenty of indirect sunlight.

Written by Richard Manley

Richard Manley lives in Melbourne, Australia. He is a Senior Digital Producer, having worked for businesses in a wide variety of industries including financial services, health insurance and telecommunications. You can find him on and Twitter.

Top 10 signs you might be addicted to Specialty Coffee (or just enjoy it a little too much!)

Do you think you might be addicted to specialty coffee, or do you know of someone who might suffer from this condition, perhaps even a loved one?

Here are the top 10 signs that you might be an addict.  Perhaps the first one should be that you clicked on my link and are here reading this top 10 list!  Enjoy :)

  1. You know the twitter names of baristas and cafe owners at all your favourite haunts, but they don’t know you.
  2. You get stressed out when you only have one bag of coffee “on the go”.

  3. You actively seek out the best single origins available each week, no matter how far away the cafe is from your home.

  4. You plan your weekends around cafe menus and coffee origins currently on offer, and check twitter feeds for updates on what’s in the hoppers!

  5. When a new cafe opens, you MUST go there in opening week to suss it out!

  6. If a coffee experience doesn’t live up to your lofty expectations, you become depressed.

  7. If you haven’t had an amazing coffee for several weeks, you become depressed.

  8. If you have to travel out of town and there’s no good coffee, you become frustrated AND depressed.

  9. When visiting a new establishment, you become nervous, and find yourself watching the barista to make sure things are done “right” (because you are such an expert of course).

  10. You run a coffee blog, and write a blog post entitled “10 signs you might be addicted to specialty coffee”.


Share your own ‘signs’ below in the comments!