If you’re a fan of those fancy and delectable coffee drinks that delight in cafes but have also fallen in love with the strong coffee you’ve been brewing with your AeroPress, you’ll naturally want to learn how you can make your very own AeroPress mocha drinks.
You’ve got your chocolate syrup or cocoa powder ready to go, but you’re realizing there may be more to making a good mocha, latte or cappuccino than just adding chocolate and whole milk to some very strong coffee.
Well, we’ve got bad news and good news.
The bad: you’re right. It’s not quite that simple.
The good: it’s possible, and reasonably easy to do, as long as you have the ingredients and a bit of patience.
We’re going to break it down and show you everything you need to start making artisan coffee beverages at home with your AeroPress.
Can You Make an AeroPress Mocha?
Yes! It’s very possible to make a good AeroPress mocha—as long as you’re willing to mentally flex just a little bit on one key detail.
Is the AeroPress a True Espresso Machine Alternative?
No. There it is. The caveat. Technically the AeroPress can’t make genuine espresso. If you’re a die-hard espresso enthusiast, you’ll argue this to the death and you’ll be right.
But for most coffee lovers looking to do what we’ve set out to accomplish here, the truth is you probably won’t notice much of a difference.
And if you do, it doesn’t mean the mocha, latte, or other normally espresso-based coffee drinks you make with your AeroPress won’t be delicious and satisfying.
Our bet is you’ll love them all the same. Perhaps even more because you’ll be making them yourself in your trusty AeroPress.
No matter how close the AeroPress may or may not be able to get to a true espresso machine in terms of the coffee it produces, you’ll get a lot closer with an AeroPress than you ever could with a French press or pretty much any other coffee maker.
Differences Between Cafe Mocha, Latte, Cappuccino & Flat White
The cafe mocha, mocha latte, traditional latte, cappuccino, and flat white all share in their key components.
Every single one of them is conventionally made with both a shot (or double shot) of espresso and steamed milk.
Depending on the specific drink, there may also be chocolate syrup and foamy or frothed milk.
Any of these variations on classic espresso drinks can often be topped with whipped cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon, or other flavorings depending on who the drink is for or made by.
We’ve even had a mocha with maple syrup!
The main difference between all of these essentially boils down to a few key tweaks:
The amount of steamed milk used
Whether or not frothed milk foam is also used, and in what proportion
- The inclusion of chocolate syrup or cocoa powder
What is a Cafe Mocha?
First up, the drink with the most personality of the bunch: the cafe mocha.
Cafe mocha is pretty simple as far as its components. It’s traditionally espresso, a significant amount of chocolate syrup, and steamed milk.
Sometimes you’ll see a cafe mocha served with a layer of foamy milk on top, but it’s not a strictly necessary characteristic.
Think “chocolately coffee with steamed milk” for the simplest definition.
What is a Latte?
A latte is even more straightforward than a cafe mocha. At the simplest, it’s just espresso (or robust coffee in our case) and a LOT of steamed milk.
A latte typically has at least twice the ratio of warm milk to espresso, and importantly, it’s served with a layer of foam from a milk frother on top.
What is a Mocha Latte?
A mocha latte, as you may have guessed, is the magical hybrid of a cafe mocha and a traditional latte, bringing the most beloved aspects of both into one delicious drink.
With a mocha latte you start with your preferred espresso or coffee, add a substantial layer of steamed milk, match your coffee with an equal portion of chocolate syrup, and then top it off with a lovely layer of milk foam on top.
Flavor with some whipped cream or cocoa powder for some extra fun.
What is a Cappuccino?
A cappuccino is, at its simplest, just a bunch of milk over a base of espresso.
But how that milk is prepared and proportioned amongst the brew is key.
Typically you’ll add equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk from a milk frother.
No chocolate syrup or cocoa powder here.
What is a Flat White?
And that leaves us with the humblest beverage of the lineup: the flat white.
This simple variation on the combinations above is just a base of espresso and around twice that amount of steamed milk.
You can think of it as a latte without the foam.
Recipe: How to Make an Excellent AeroPress Mocha Latte
So considering everything above seems to call for an espresso machine, how can we do the job with our AeroPress?
Let’s tackle the most complex (and rewarding, in our opinion) drink on this list.
Once we’ve got that down, it’ll be as simple as skipping a step or two in the process to end up with any other drink you’d like to make.
Ground coffee (espresso roast is best) or whole coffee beans
Around half a cup whipped cream (more or less, to taste)
Warm milk, or cold milk if you intend to make your own steamed milk
Cocoa powder, maple syrup or any other optional flavorings you’d like
Coffee grinder (preferably a burr grinder)
A handheld milk frother
Glass, mug or thermos
Stirrer or teaspoon
We highly suggest using a burr grinder to get you the medium-finely ground coffee your AeroPress requires for the best results.
Too finely ground coffee (like that often meant for an espresso machine) is not ideal for use in an AeroPress, and could result in a clogged AeroPress or coffee grounds in your cup.
In a pinch, you can substitute warm milk in place of steamed milk or milk foam, but be aware that the more exceptions you make to the authentic recipe, the less your end result will resemble the “real thing.”
Grind your coffee beans to medium-fine grind size in your grinder
Pour the ground coffee into your AeroPress
Prepare your hot water to around 175ºF (or to your liking; this is a preference thing)
Pour your hot water into the AeroPress and allow your coffee to bloom for 30-60 seconds
Heat your milk using a milk steamer and/or handheld milk frother
If you’d like to use cocoa powder or sugar, you can now add it to your mug or glass
Press your AeroPress and brew your coffee into your cup
Pour in your steamed or warm milk
Add your milk foam
Add whipped cream to taste
Sprinkle with cocoa powder, cinnamon, maple syrup or other flavorings
Making an AeroPress Mocha: Possible, Worthwhile, Delicious
So there you have it. An AeroPress can’t technically make espresso machine-caliber “true” espresso, but it’s a world better than a French press or anything else.
Since the AeroPress is durable beyond belief and portable to boot, you’ll not only be able to make AeroPress mochas at home, you’ll be able to bring this glorious power with you when you travel as well.
Overall it’s a tradeoff we think leans heavily in favor of the AeroPress.
Do you agree? Let us know what you think.