Hoping to capture a balance between spicy and earthy bright complexity that would not need chocolate, I blended nutmeg and cayenne pepper. I used about a teaspoon of grated nutmeg to the flesh of one dried pepper.
A tiny pinch resulted in pretty much exactly what I'd hoped for. The spice was not overpowering, just tickling the back of the throat. My lips are still pleasantly burning ever so slightly. The flavour of the pepper really goes well with espresso. The nutmeg flirted with the nutty notes of the coffee producing a new flavour profile. Some of its bright notes came through, lifting up the mid palate.
In our last experiment with chili required chocolate to balance out the spiciness. Nutmeg is a great replacement that performed admirably on the high wire. I prefer it chocolate because there is no sugar or syrup involved, only infusion. Pure, simple, and at the same time incredibly complex. I consider this a major win.