Brewing Guides

What Is Mocha Coffee? Everything You Need To Know!

How do you drink your coffee? Our friends and our favourite barista know without asking. A feeling of comfort and intimacy on a coffee deprived morning. But our set coffee habits should not keep us from exploring new options, like a delicious mocha. So what is a mocha? Can I make a mocha at home? Or is it so complicated that only a trained barista can make it?

A mocha coffee is a combination of coffee, chocolate and milk. Contrary to what you might expect, it tastes stronger than an espresso or a latté. It has a unique flavour that will excite your taste buds and an aroma that will wake your senses. But it is not a novelty. Its tradition dates back centuries, to the exotic oriental markets of the coffee trade. 

What is Mocha Coffee?

Have you ever savoured a piece of chocolate with your coffee and experienced how perfectly these two strong flavours complement each other, as the heat of the coffee slowly melts the chocolate in your mouth? Well, a mocha coffee is that feeling, in a cup.

A mocha coffee comfortably takes its place in the crossroads between a coffee and a hot chocolate. If it is made using dark chocolate it is considered a dark mocha, but there is also a white mocha, made with white chocolate. If you are keeping an eye on your caffeine intake, there is approximately 152 mg of caffeine in a 350 ml glass.

Origins of Mocha Coffee

The term mocha can be traced back to the history of coffee trade and consumption. It derives from Al Mocha, a port in Yemen which for more than two hundred years, between the 15th and 17th centuries, was the global centre of the coffee trade, a precious commodity of the time. During those 200 years, Yemen held the monopoly on coffee, which was gaining popularity across Europe. 

As coffee cultivation spread across the globe, the beans of Yemen, known as mocha, remained famous for the strong, dark almost chocolatey flavour, a result of the high altitude of the coffee plantations high on the Yemen mountains. To imitate that unique flavour, coffee drinkers added actual chocolate to their coffee beverages centuries before flavoured coffees became popular. Hence the mocha coffee as we know it today. In Italy, coffee drinkers even add a shot of Sambuca in their mocha to give it an extra kick. 

Latte vs Mocha

Latté and mocha coffees have more similarities than differences, which is often confusing. They are both espresso based coffee beverage, combined with hot milk, but they cater to different tastes. 

A latté is composed of a shot of espresso under a thicker layer of steamed milk and a thinner layer of foamed milk. The typical latté ratio is one sixth espresso, four sixths steamed milk, one sixth foam milk. 

To make a mocha coffee, cocoa or a chocolate syrup are added at the beginning of the process, giving it a sweeter, chocolate flavour. 

Both a latté and a mocha taste better in an open shaped cup, ideally 8 to 10 oz. 

How to Make a Mocha Coffee

Don’t let the fancy Italian name fool you. It is easy to make your mocha at home, without the service of an experienced barista. 

What Equipment You Need

  • Espresso machine of your choice, whether automatic or stovetop.
  • Milk frother.
  • High-quality coffee. Coffee experts agree that a dark roast is the best choice for your mocha. Its strong and nutty undertones bring out the best of the chocolate flavour. They also recommend using coffee blends for milk-based coffee beverages.
  • High-quality cocoa powder of your choice, or chocolate syrup. 

How to Make Hot Mocha Coffee

Making a hot mocha at home is not more complicated than making a latte or cappuccino:

  • Add 2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa powder to the bottom of your cup and mix with a bit of hot water. As a general rule, it is better to use cocoa low in sugar. If you like your coffee sweet, you can add the sugar later. Chocolate syrup could be another option. 
  • Brew 2 shots of your favourite espresso. 
  • Add to the cup and mix.
  • Steam half a cup of milk and slowly add it to the cup, topping it with the foamed milk. If you avoid cow’s milk you can replace it with your milk of choice, like almond or oat milk. 
  • Enjoy!

Read our full mocha recipe and instructions here!

A quick internet research will show that people add more to their mocha than coffee, chocolate and milk. Once you have figured out what you like, you can play around with other flavours, like vanilla, cinnamon, even peppermint. To top your mocha, you can experiment with whipped cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon or even marshmallows to satisfy your inner child.

How to Make a Iced Mocha at Home

Good news if you fall in love with your cup of mocha. You do not have to give it up during the hot summer months. Making an iced version of the mocha is also pretty simple: 

  • Mix your good quality cocoa with hot water, or use chocolate syrup. 
  • Mix in one cup of cold milk.
  • Add ice cubes.
  • Add the coffee. Traditionally you would add a shot of espresso. But you could also use half a cup of strong brewed coffee, iced overnight. 
  • Enjoy in a mason jar, for an even more hipster feel.

Read our full iced mocha recipe here!

How to Make Mocha With Instant Coffee

Coffee purists would like to believe that the best and only way to make a mocha is with a shot of espresso. But, as we said, our coffee preferences are personal and guilt free. So if you do not like espresso or if you do not have access to an espresso machine, you can also make your mocha with instant coffee. The process is almost the same: 

  • First, make the coffee, mixing 1 tablespoon of instant coffee to 4 ounces of hot water.
  • Mix in the cocoa or chocolate syrup.
  • Steam the milk.
  • Add the milk to the coffee mix.
  • Enjoy!

Hot or iced, at home or in a café, a mocha is the perfect combination of two flavours that perfectly complement each other. First, the coffee aroma, blended in, at the first sip, with the power of the chocolate, under the soothing effect of the warm milk.

Now you know all about mocha coffee, why not check out more coffee recipes and read up on our brewing guides.

Sophie is a barista and coffee enthusiast who has owned and ran a coffee truck in her remote community since 2017. She wants to cut the jargon and make brewing coffee enjoyable for everyone.