What is a Mocha? & How to Make the Perfect Mocha at Home

What is a Mocha? & How to Make the Perfect Mocha at home

Do you love the taste of mochas but don’t love the price tag? Or maybe you’ve never had a cafe mocha before and are curious as to what all the fuss is about. Well, have no fear!

In this article, we’ll give coffee lovers the answer to everything you need to know about mochas, including “What is a Mocha?” and how to make a mocha at home that tastes just as delicious as anything you’d get from your local coffee shop.

So pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and let’s get started!

What Is A Mocha?

A mocha, or caffè mocha, is a type of espresso-based coffee drink that’s brewed with steamed milk and chocolate, giving the coffee a richer flavor and a slight sweetness while balancing out the bitterness of coffee.

The coffee beans that the mocha’s made with aren’t any regular beans either. They have to be a special type of Arabica beans grown in Mocha, Yemen.

They’re well-known for their natural chocolaty flavor, further deepening the chocolate tone of the drink.

 What is a mocha?

But, these days, mocha has become an umbrella term for all combinations of coffee and chocolate.

So, the coffee doesn’t necessarily have to be espresso (though it usually is). And the chocolate doesn’t have to be the real deal either as it’s often replaced with the convenient dark chocolate syrup or chocolate milk.

And, that’s basically what you’re served with when ordering a cup at most coffee shops because I doubt they’d go out of their way to stock up with the OG mocha coffee beans, which are extremely rare these days.

But, that doesn’t mean these variations of mocha are bad. They make the rich-tasting mocha drink more accessible to the public to enjoy every day.

Is A Mocha The Same As A Mocha Latte?

No. The mocha is brewed with special mocha coffee beans and melted chocolate, as previously explained.

The mocha latte is what most coffee shops offer, a caffè latte with a few extra pumps of chocolate syrup added to imitate the chocolaty taste of the OG mocha.

 A cup of mocha latte

However, since the OG mocha can’t easily be found in the wild. These 2 terms are often used interchangeably. So, if you ask for a mocha at your local coffee shop, you’ll likely get a mocha latte.

Mochaccino Vs Mocha

And the same can be applied to the term “mochaccino”“.

Some say it’s the same as the caffe mocha and mocha latte, and the term became popular due to marketing.

Others say that it’s basically a cappuccino with added chocolate syrup, sauce, or milk for the signature mocha taste.

If you want to be certain, just ask the barista how they specifically prepare it.

A glass of mochaccino with a very pronounced milk foam

Why Are Mochas Called Mochas?

As previously mentioned, the mocha drink is brewed with Arabica coffee beans grown and traded in the city of Mocha in Yemen, and the drink became associated with the city.

What Is In a Mocha?

The common Golden Ratio is:

  • 2/5 espresso
  • 2/5 hot chocolate
  • 1/5 steamed milk


If you can get your hands on some Mocha coffee beans, definitely try to make a cup of mocha out of it!

Otherwise, you can use any type of espresso beans to pull a double shot of espresso with your espresso machine.

Mocha calls for 2 espresso shots

Make sure to finely grind them up with a quality espresso grinder to ensure the espresso shots come out consistently strong and full-bodied.

Hot Chocolate (Chocolate Syrup)

Next, prepare the same amount (2 oz/59 ml) of hot chocolate.

You can go with the traditional dark chocolate and make a dark chocolate mocha if you prefer a higher cocoa content.

White chocolate or milk chocolate should also work and can add a sweeter and creamier taste to the rich white chocolate mocha cup.

Hot Chocolate (Chocolate Syrup)

If you prioritize convenience, you can substitute hot chocolate with around 4 pumps (around 1 oz/28.3 g) of chocolate sauce or syrup instead, following the caffe mocha recipe of Starbucks.

Steamed Milk

Lastly, prepare 1 oz (30 ml) of steamed milk to create a thin and light yet creamy milk layer on top.

You can simply slowly pour it on top or get your creative juice flowing by making beautiful latte art, though there’s not much to work with.

Steamed Milk

Optional Ingredients

Whipped Cream

If you want an extra touch of sweetness, creaminess, and fluffiness, feel free to spray some whipped cream on top.

Cocoa Powder

You can also sprinkle cocoa powder on top to further deepen the chocolate taste and aroma.

And, of course, for the aesthetics.

A cup of mocha with cocoa powder and chocolate syrup added on top

Extra Chocolate Syrup

Halloween is coming? Drizzle a few rounds of chocolate syrup on top of the milk foam and use a toothpick to create an on-theme spider web design to match the holiday spirit!

Chocolate Chips Or Chocolate Shavings

Many coffee drinkers use chocolate chips or shavings to make hot chocolate rather than cocoa powder or chocolate bars.

If you still have some to spare, add them on top of the milk foam for garnishing.

A cup of mocha with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top


This ingredient makes it rather reminiscent of a cup of hot chocolate. If you enjoy the squishiness and stickiness of marshmallows as they melt in your cup, add them to your grocery list.


You don’t have to drink your mocha hot either.

If you’re a fan of cold beverages, just pour the whole mixture over ice and you’ve got yourself a cup of iced mocha that’s cool for the summer.

A glass of iced mocha

How To Make A Mocha At Home

Step 1: Make The Chocolate Part

There are many ways to do this.

The easiest and fastest way to go about this is to add 4 pumps (around 1 oz/28 g) of pre-made chocolate syrup to the serving cup.

Feel free to adjust the amount to suit your personal taste, especially if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth.

You can make hot chocolate or buy chocolate syrup

The second way is to make a 2 oz/59 ml serving of hot chocolate:

  • Heat 2 oz of any type of milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat. I recommend using whole milk or 2% milk.
  • Add 1/2 tablespoon of cocoa powder and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar to the milk and whisk them in.
  • When the mixture becomes warm, add 8 g of chocolate chips or a chopped-up bar (dark, white, or milk chocolate) to the mix. Whisk constantly to melt and blend them well.
  • You can add a drop of vanilla extract and whisk it in for extra aroma.

Or, you can just heat 2 oz of chocolate milk and go with that.

Step 2: Make The Coffee Part

Next, brew 2 shots of espresso (2 oz/59.1 ml) with your espresso machine.

Unsure how to pull it off?

Check my step-by-step instructions to make espresso coffee at home like a pro.

  • Place the cup filled with chocolate syrup, hot chocolate, or chocolate milk beneath the group head of your espresso machine to dispense the double shot of espresso on top.
  • Once the extraction ceases, use a spoon to mix the espresso and chocolate up evenly and blend the coffee and chocolate flavors.
You can brew espresso directly on top or into a separate cup and mix them afterward

You can also prepare the espresso and chocolate parts in separate cups, then pour the extracted coffee over afterward. But that means you’ll have more cups to wash and I think we all want to avoid cleaning as much as possible.

Step 3: Make The Milk Part

Lastly, steam milk!

You only need a very thin layer – 1 oz of milk – for this 5 oz mocha serving. So you can add more to the milk pitcher than you need just so that it’s easier to steam with the steam wand or milk frother.

Make sure to steam milk only lightly to create a smooth latte-like milk foam, rather than a cappuccino-like milk froth.

Steam milk

Feel free to modify the recipe if you want a larger drink or a different type of caffè mocha altogether, such as white mocha (made with white chocolate) and marble mocha (made with both white and regular mocha sauce).

You don’t necessarily have to stick to the 2:2:1 coffee-to-chocolate-to-milk ratio either.

  • If you want a deeper chocolaty taste, add more chocolate to the mix. Or go generous on the garnishing bits with chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles, and other flavored toppings.
  • If you want a bolder and more caffeine-packed final drink, make an extra espresso shot.
  • If you want a sweeter and creamier taste, add more milk foam and whipped cream.

What’s The Difference Between A Latte And A Mocha?

The classic latte is made with just espresso and steamed milk, though additional flavored syrups can be added.

A typical mocha contains espresso and steamed milk as well.

Both menus are espresso drinks.

But mochas also have a signature chocolaty flavor that comes from the espresso beans themselves (if possible) and the hot chocolate (or chocolate syrup).

This gives mochas a richer flavor than lattes.

 Latte vs mocha

Another difference is in the brewing ratio. Leaving chocolate aside, mocha boasts more coffee than milk with its 2:1 espresso-to-milk ratio.

On the other hand, a cup of latte is typically made with at least a 1:2 espresso-to-milk ratio. And more hot milk can still be added, especially for bigger servings, while only 1 or 2 extra shots of espresso are expected to be added.

The mocha latte is the perfect in-between solution. It’s basically a latte with added chocolaty flavoring, as explained earlier, making the mocha sweeter and easier to consume.

So next time you’re in the mood for an espresso drink, go for:

  • A caffe latte if you find the espresso too intense
  • A mocha if you want a rich espresso flavor with a dark chocolate undertone
  • A mocha latte if you want the best of both worlds

To Wrap Up

So there you have it – everything you need to know about mochas! This rich and velvety coffee and chocolate drink is the perfect pick-me-up for any time of day.

Don’t be afraid to play around with different ratios and flavorings to find what you like best. And don’t forget to top it off with some whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder! We wish you all the best in your mocha-making endeavors. :)


Is Mocha A Chocolate?

No, it’s an espresso-based coffee drink that also features hot chocolate, chocolate syrup, or chocolate sauce to deepen the coffee taste with a dark chocolate undertone.

What Is The Difference Between Mocha And Hot Chocolate?

Mocha is a type of coffee drink that features hot chocolate as one of its main ingredients. However, this can also be replaced with convenient chocolate syrup and chocolate sauce instead.

Is Mocha A Coffee?

Yes, it’s a type of coffee drink that’s made with espresso topped with hot chocolate (or chocolate syrup) and milk.

Is Mocha Black Coffee?

No, it’s an espresso-based coffee drink that contains espresso, hot chocolate (or chocolate syrup), and steamed milk, making it different from regular black drip coffee.

Does Mocha Have More Caffeine Than Coffee?

Yes, mocha has more caffeine than drip coffee because espresso typically has more caffeine than a regular cup of drip. Mocha also has higher caffeine than espresso because of its chocolate content.

Is A Mocha A Latte Or Cappuccino?

No, the mocha is none of that. It’s a milky espresso-based drink with a distinct chocolate flavor.

But it’s often confused with lattes and cappuccinos due to its so-called other names “mocha latte” and “mochaccino”, which are most likely a latte and cappuccino with added chocolate flavor, respectively.

What Is In A Starbucks Mocha?

A Starbucks Caffè Mocha features milk, brewed espresso, mocha sauce, whipped cream, and vanilla syrup.

What Is In A Starbucks Mocha?

Is Mocha A Coffee Sauce?

No, it’s a type of coffee drink. But there’s a sauce called mocha sauce that can be added to espresso to make a cup of mocha.

What Does Starbucks Use For Their Mocha Sauce?

For their infamous mocha sauce, they use water, sugar, cocoa processed with alkali, and natural flavor.

What Does Starbucks Use For Their Mocha Sauce?

Is It OK To Drink Mocha Everyday?

Yes, but it’s important to keep your intake in check.

Mochas can be easily customized and tons of extra chocolate-flavored sweets can be added for garnishing and pure satisfaction to your sweet tooth.

And, daily consumption of such a sugar-loaded cup (looking at you Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha) can increase certain health risks such as diabetes, so make sure you’re not going overboard with how you’re drinking it.

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