When I was in high school, my town had an upscale little café that served amazing overpriced sandwiches and the BEST coffee drink I’ve ever had in my life.

Let me be upfront from the start: I’m a frou-frou coffee girl. I’m not one of those early risers humming the Folgers jingle as I down cup after cup of straight-up black coffee. “The best part of waking up…”

Is a blended mocha with whipped cream and chocolate syrup, thank you very much!

Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, I know.

I wish I liked plain black coffee, but I don’t. I don’t drink much caffeine and when I do, it’s dressed up and pumped with flavor and more reminiscent of a dessert than anything else.

That little hometown café? It made coffee my way. Heavy on the flavor; light on the espresso.

Jumpin' Monkeys: blended coffees with chocolate and banana

And its blended drinks were far from average. It didn’t just serve the typical blended mocha, it served The Jumpin’ Monkey.

As its name suggested, The Jumpin’ Monkey was a banana chocolate coffee drink and the best thing I’ve ever sipped through a straw. Basically it was a blended banana mocha–sweet, refreshing, and full of chocolate.

Jumpin' Monkeys

For YEARS my mom and I have tried to recreate this drink at home. The café is long gone, but our memories of (and cravings for!) Jumpin’ Monkeys remain. I used to comb Google search results and interrogate my friends that had connections to the coffee shop, but all I got out of my research was a few possible ingredients. I’ll never know for sure if my recipe is even close to the original, but it’s almost as good as I remember it tasting.


Jumpin' Monkeys

This is a simple recipe that’s easy to make at home, even though a few of the ingredients might be new to you. They were to me, but they originated as part of my sleuthing, so I’ve kept them in my homemade Jumpin’ Monkeys just in case they were legitimate leads.

First up: espresso crystals. I’ve never been able to find a product with that exact title in grocery stores, so I’ve always used these Classic Roast crystals from Cub Foods:

Classic Roast Crystals from Cub Foods

Next up: nondairy creamer. I usually use this “creamy chocolate” variety because I figure extra chocolate cannot hurt.

Creamy Chocolate Nondairy Creamer from Cub Foods

Also a necessity is chocolate syrup, because my mom used to watch the baristas like a hawk when they mixed their Jumpin’ Monkeys together, and she’s certain that this was on the ingredient list because she saw it go straight into the blender from the Hershey bottle. She also observed them using one whole banana per drink.

Jumpin' Monkeys

The rest I’ve just kind of filled in through trial and error. I think fresh bananas are the best way to go, and this recipe tastes totally different if you use mushy ones. Usually I prefer browner bananas for their added sweetness, but this is the one recipe I always keep slightly green bananas on hand for.

Throw in some ice cubes and a bit of milk, and you’ve got yourself a Jumpin’ Monkey! For the best experience, top yours with whipped cream…and maybe even drizzle extra Hershey syrup on top. Your call. My whipped cream had mysteriously frozen in the back of my refrigerator this time around, so sadly I can’t show you what that looks like. Just trust me that it’s not a bad thing!

Jumpin' Monkeys

World, meet my favorite coffee.

Jumpin' Monkeys

Just call me Nancy Drew, tracking down one blended coffee drink at a time.

P.S. If you have ever had one of the real Jumpin’ Monkeys before and you have any inside information about what the real, original recipe calls for, please share your secrets! I think this one is pretty darn close, but my curiosity’s killing me! In the meantime, I’m more than happy with this homemade version. :)

Jumpin' Monkeys

Jumpin’ Monkeys

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 blended coffees

Jumpin’ Monkeys


  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup Hershey chocolate syrup
  • 1 tsp. nondairy creamer
  • 2 tsp. espresso crystals (If you like your coffee strong, you'll probably want to quadruple this amount. I just like a faint flavor.)
  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • 1 Tbsp. milk


  1. Place banana in a blender with chocolate syrup, nondairy creamer, coffee, ice, and milk.
  2. Blend on high for one minute or until smooth. If needed, add more ice or milk and continue to blend.
  3. Pour into glasses and top with swirls of whipped cream if desired.


My favorite way to enjoy one of these coffees is with a spoonful of homemade whipped cream or a swirl of Reddi Whip! You can also drizzle extra Hershey syrup on top for the prettiest presentation.



Nutritional Info (calculated without any toppings):

Calories: 162
Fat: 1.2 g
Cholesterol: .2 mg
Sodium: 19.6 mg
Carbohydrates: 38.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.4 g
Protein: 1.2 g

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Comments (6)

July 9, 2014

There is nothing worse than try to chase a childhood flavour it can be so frustrating trying to get it exact! Sounds like you have it cracked with this one, I have to admit I am the black coffee girl in the morning but I do like all the fancy coffees especially around the holidays with all the lovely add ins that become available and a coffee cooler in the summer is ace :D

July 13, 2014

I WISH I was a black coffee girl, Emma! I guess I just haven’t reached that level of caffeine maturity yet. ;) Holiday coffees are my favorite too–I think coffee drinkers of all kinds can agree on that one!

Laura Rasanen
July 9, 2014

This made my day finding this recipe! I love the jumping monkey! Thanks Kabranna! ;)

July 13, 2014

Glad I’m not the only one! If you do any experimenting with ingredients, you’ll have to keep me posted on your results! :)

Tracey Wertz Lehmberg
May 22, 2015

Funny to find this…I have also been sluething! I just talked to a co-worker who used to manage our local bagel shop. She told me the ingredients of the Jumpin’ Monkey there were: Ice, 1 banana, 1 scoop of Cappucine powder (which has the chocolate flavoring and the espresso in it) and a generous squirt of chocolate syrup. Can’t wait to try it at home!~

May 24, 2015

Tracey, you just made my day – that recipe is GOLD! Thanks for solving my eternal mystery!!

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