What is a Mocha, Exactly?

What is a Mocha?

A Mocha, sometimes also called a Mocha Latte or Caffè Mocha is a type of Latte. Which means it’s an espresso-based coffee with steamed milk, but a mocha also contains chocolate syrup or drinking chocolate powder. 

A Mocha is an indulgent type of coffee, perfect for those who have a love for both coffee and chocolate. We’d go as far to say it’s a little cup of heaven. Mochas are particularly good during cold weather, or when you need a pick me up that packs a bit more punch than a standard hot chocolate.

But if you’re hardcore you can even get a refreshing summer version of your beloved Caffè Moha to enjoy on a hot summers day. It’s a drink for all seasons and all types of weather.

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What is a Mocha Explained – How to Make a Mocha

The process of making a Mocha is similar to that of a Latte. So if you’ve made a Latte before it will be easy as pie, if not, don’t worry we’ll talk you through it. 

To make the Espresso that goes into the Mocha, you’ll need an Espresso machine, Moka Pot or Aeropress and a milk frother. The easiest option is an Espresso machine, but a Moka Pot or Aeropress can work if you follow the instructions carefully. It’s a little tricky to get Crema (an essential part of a good Espresso) in a Moka Pot, but it’s possible.

Equipment You’ll Need

If you’re an avid home-style barista you should have all the gadgets you need already, but if you’re starting out you’ll need:

  • A milk steam wand or milk frother
  • Either an Espresso Machine, Moka Pot or Aeropress
  • 1 large cup, 300 to 350 ml

Ingredients You’ll Need

To make a Caffè Mocha you’ll need chocolate syrup or drinking chocolate powder, a double Espresso, a Latte sized cup and steamed or frothed milk. The measurements are:

  • 16 grams of ground Espresso
  • 250 ml of milk
  • 3 teaspoons of drinking chocolate or chocolate syrup equivalent

The Step by Step Walkthrough

  1. To start, grind your coffee beans or use ground beans. 
  2. Then add the chocolate to the cup first
  3. Next, make your double Espresso directly into the cup with the chocolate. If your cup doesn’t fit the Espresso machine you’ll have to transfer the Espresso from a smaller cup to your Mocha cup. Once your Espresso has brewed into the cup, mix the two ingredients together. Make sure all the chocolate dissolves and mixes with the coffee.
  4. While your Espresso is brewing, you can start to make the steamed/frothed milk. If you’re using steam, move the nozzle up and down into the milk to create a nice thick foam. You’ll know the milk is ready when it becomes too hot to touch.
  5. Lastly, top your cup off with the steamed milk and serve. If you’re extra naughty add a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Now that your Mocha is ready, find a quiet spot and slowly drift off to your happy place as you sip your heavenly liquid. Think of all the quests you’ll conquer, the holidays you’ll go on or pink unicorns. Whatever makes you happy, just sit, sip and enjoying every last drop. 

The Story of the Mocha: Where Does it Come From?

Caffè Mocha gets its name from a variety of coffee bean originating out of al-Makha (pronounced mocha in English), a port city in Yemen. The Mocha bean has a chocolate undertone and is what we call Arabica Beans today. 

Caffè Mocha is an American drink and variant of a Caffè Latte. It’s based on a drink called Bicerin, a warm coffee drink from Turin Italy dating back to some time in the 1800s. If you enjoy skiing or love slip-sliding down the mountain on a snowboard in the Alps, you may have flown into Turin on your way to the slopes. It’s often the airport of choice to get to resorts such as Tignes in France or some of the Italian resorts. Turin is the perfect place to have a chocolate coffee on a cold winters day.  

The Bicerin, similar to the Mocha is also made with Espresso and chocolate, but it is topped with whipped milk or cream. When served the Bicerin is layered in a small rounded glass. Making it a potent little glass of sweet-sweet heaven.

So somewhere between a Bercerin and the Mocha bean from Yemen the Caffè Mocha that we know and love today was created. 

What’s the Difference Between a Latte and a Mocha?

A Caffè Mocha is a type of Latte, but it’s richer and stronger and contains chocolate flavouring. Watch out as a Mocha is likely to contain more calories than a standard Latte. So if you’re watching your waistline you might want to opt for a Latte or even skinny Latte instead. 

However, if you’re looking for an indulgent treat or need an extra pick me up with strength, sugar and full-bodied flavour then go for the Caffè Mocha. You won’t be disappointed.

Mocha Variations

The beauty of making your own mocha is that you can customise it to your liking. Or if too much choice makes you nervous, that’s ok, just stick to the basics.

If you’re feeling adventurous a Mocha can be made with a range of chocolate variations, these might be easier to find in syrup form than a powder: 

  • White chocolate
  • Dark chocolate
  • Hazelnut chocolate
  • Peppermint chocolate
  • Salted caramel

As long as you can find the type of chocolate syrup or flavouring you can add it to your mocha. The world is your oyster, let your imagination go wild and experiment with flavour combinations.


What About Iced Mocha?

If you’d like to have a mocha on a hot summers day you’re in luck as you can drink it iced. Just make your standard version with coffee and chocolate and instead of hot steamed milk, add cold milk and ice. No mess, no fuss and no milk frothing. 

Cocoa Powder

If you like baking, then a simple way to add chocolate to your Mocka is to use cocoa powder. When opting for cocoa powder you’ll have to add quite a bit of sugar as cocoa on its own can be quite bitter. Or alternatively, grab a few spoons of pre-mixed drinking chocolate.

Types of Coffee to Use

Most coffee shop Mochas will be made with Espresso, so if you’d like to be 100% authentic then that’s the route to go with. But if you don’t have the gadgets to make Espresso at home, that’s absolutely fine. You can use instant coffee powder. Use either the same amount of instant as you would for a standard cup of coffee, or use two spoons if you’re going for a stronger version. 

When making this option, add the chocolate flavour and instant coffee to the cup with a bit of hot water. Mix well as you would normally and top with milk.

Alternatively, if you have drip coffee available feel free to use a medium-dark or french roast for good well-rounded flavour.


Does Mocha have More Caffeine than Coffee?

A Mocha is relatively strong, but it depends on which coffee you’re comparing it with. It contains the same amount of caffeine as a double Espresso and will be similar in strength to drinks of the same size that contain a double Espresso. A Mocha is stronger than a Latte for e.g. but milder than an Americano.

Does a Mocha Contain More Calories than a Latte?

This will depend on the amount of sugar you may add to the drink yourself of course. But as a rule of thumb a standard 16 oz Starbucks Caffè Mocha contains 35g of sugar and a Latte of the same size 18g.

How Much Sugar Does a Mocha Contain?

This will depend on the amount of sugar in the chocolate flavouring you’re using and the amount you add to the drink yourself of course. But as a rule of thumb a standard 16 oz Starbucks Caffè Mocha contains 35g of sugar.

Is a Mocha Healthy?

Even though the ingredients that go into a mocha, coffee and chocolate, contain a lot of antioxidants we wouldn’t label it as a healthy drink. A mocha usually contains a lot of sugar, which means it’s not exactly a healthy option but rather an occasional treat. To give you an idea, a standard 16 oz Starbucks Caffè Mocha contains 35g of sugar and 360 calories if you compare that to a Cuppochino of the same size it only has 10g of sugar and 120 calories. 

Is Mocha High in Caffeine?

A Mocha is made with a double Espresso, so does contain quite a bit of caffeine. It will be higher in caffeine than many other drinks. To compare, it generally contains more caffeine than an Espresso, Cappuccino or Latte. But can have less caffeine than an Americano.

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