Mocha vs. Coffee – Is Mocha Chocolate or Coffee?

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Do you want to know the difference between mocha and coffee? Our recent post answers whether mocha is considered chocolate or coffee. Learn more about the history and flavors of mocha, and discover what is right for you.

Basics of Espresso

Let’s first discuss the basics. We know many espresso drinks have the same three ingredients: espresso, milk foam, and steamed milk. The combination of these ingredients produces different caffeinated beverages.

Mochas use espresso shots. An espresso shot is made with finely ground coffee beans (similar to regular coffee) in an espresso machine that produces pressure, forcing the hot water through the grounds.

Read: How to Make the Perfect Espresso on National Espresso Day

The next step is steaming milk. Most coffee shops make it using a steam wand that is part of the espresso machine. Many other methods exist to accomplish this, though, such as milk steamers and frothers, which are suitable for homeowners.

Lastly, the milk foam is made using steamed milk – whipped to form air bubbles on top of the coffee drink. Professional baristas can create latte artwork using foam (one of the good things about receiving coffee from a skilled barista).

Now let’s discuss mocha vs. coffee.

What Is Coffee?

Coffee is brewed using ground and roasted coffee beans. Based on the roasting method and the origin of beans, every cup of coffee has a distinct flavor. For instance, certain coffees might have a bitter flavor while others might have a less bitter and more vibrant taste.

Coffee beans are seeds of the coffee tree, and the coffee plants are cultivated in the region near the Equator. The area is called “Bean Belt” or “Coffee Belt.” It comprises Africa, Asia, Central America, South America, and the Middle East. The coffee plants thrive in these regions because of fertile soils, steady rain, and moderate temperatures.

Coffee beans are often referred to as “beans” because they are the seeds of a cherry-like fruit. When harvested, the fruit is removed, and the obtained beans are roasted. After roasting, the beans look like the coffee beans in the store.

What Is Mocha?

Mocha is a drink made with chocolate, coffee, and steamed milk (a sweetener may also be added). It can be thought as a variant of a caffè latte.

The full name is caffè mocha but is shortened to just mocha. It is also known in Italy as mochaccino, mochaccino, or mochachino.

The name is derived from the city of Mocha, Yemen, which was one of the centers of the early coffee trade.

Read: Caffè mocha – Wikipedia

When you first come across the word “mocha,” you might assume that it is cho imagine chocolate because mocha is a drink that incorporates coffee and chocolate as its principal ingredients.

Mocha coffee uses espresso, hot milk, chocolate, and possibly a sweetener. The chocolate may be cocoa syrup, chocolate sauce, or powder (sometimes, white chocolate may be substituted).

Garnishes such as cinnamon, sprinkles, whipped cream, or marshmallows are also possible. As mentioned, the original mocha uses espresso shots, but you can also make it with instant or brewed coffee.

You might notice various variations of mocha at your local coffee shop. You can easily make it in your kitchen and alter the ingredients and flavors according to your preferences.

Who Invented the Mocha?

No one knows for certain who invented mocha. It probably wasn’t invented in Yemen despite it’s name.

The Italians may have experimented with coffee from Mocha in Yeman and added chocolate to see how it tasted. 

Espresso-based drinks such as bavareisa and bicerin were popular in Turin and Venice during the 18th century. These drinks were made with espresso and chocolate, but some Italian shops added milk to them to create a sweeter flavor.

There is a reference to caffè mocha in an 1892 Betty Crocker recipe (Source:

Mocha vs. Coffee – What Is the Difference Between Mocha and Coffee?

Here are some significant differences between mocha and coffee: 


Although they’re both beverages made of coffee, they taste different. Coffee, for instance, is a beverage created by grinding coffee beans. It can be consumed as black coffee or mixed with milk and sugar. It’s a common and popular drink that most people enjoy.

Mocha coffee uses espresso. It also has milk, chocolate, and sweeteners (sugar), so a mocha is a coffee containing chocolate.


Regular coffee is served either cold or hot, but mocha is mainly served hot. However, I’ve heard that some people also drink cold mocha.

Brewing Method

Coffee uses coffee beans after they are ground, dried, and brewed. And you can brew coffee through several methods, such as espresso, pour-over, and French pressed.

These brewing methods can also be used for making mocha.

Mocha vs Hot Chocolate

The origins of the hot chocolate drink date back to the ancient Aztecs and Mayans, who drank a beverage made from ground cocoa beans and other spices.

The Mayans and Aztecs believed that cocoa was a gift from the gods, and it was used in religious ceremonies and consumed as a daily beverage.

When the Spanish arrived in Mexico in the 1500s, they discovered the native people drinking the chocolate beverage and introduced it to Europe. The Spanish added sugar, cinnamon, and other spices to the beverage to make it more palatable, and it quickly spread throughout Europe. Eventually, the drink evolved into the hot chocolate that we know today.

Today, you can enjoy a delicious hot chocolate beverage served plain or with various flavorings, such as caramel or mint. To top it off, marshmallows, syrup, sprinkles, and chocolate shavings are common additions. Ultimately, it is a warm drink composed of cocoa powder or melted chocolate and milk.

Hot chocolate is made only from powdered chocolate and contains no coffee. In contrast, mocha has chocolate and coffee.

Hot chocolate contains caffeine because this is also a natural ingredient of chocolate. In fact it contains about 12 mg of caffeine per ounce of dark chocolate. Ligher chocolate and white chocolate contain less caffeine.

Read: Does Chocolate Have Caffeine?

Hot chocolate is delicious anytime, and even kids can drink it. Mocha is definitely for grown-ups and can be the ideal date drink or even a treat at home.

What is the best Chocolate for Mocha?

The best type of chocolate for mocha depends on personal preference.

Generally, dark chocolate is the most popular choice because it adds a rich, intense flavor to the drink.

Milk chocolate can also be used, as it adds a sweeter, more mellow flavor, and can offset any bitterness in the coffee.

White chocolate can also give an extra sweet taste, but it is not as commonly used as dark and milk chocolate.

When selecting chocolate for mocha, you should look for high-quality varieties. You can melt squares of chocolate or bars in a double boiler and use them in the drink.

Unsweetened cocoa powder or a reliable hot chocolate mix can also be used.

What is the best coffee for Mocha?

Your favorite coffee is good for making Mocha be it freshly ground, pre-ground, pods, or even instant.

Quality is always essential, but it is your preference and what you like that count.

How to Make Mocha Coffee?

You can start with espresso, pour-over, or drip coffee (or other brewed coffee), then add milk, chocolate or cacao powder, and sugar to taste.

Instant Method

  1. Combine 1/4 cup of cold water and 2 teaspoons of instant coffee in a mug
  2. Add 1 to 2 tablespoon of cocoa powder and sugar to taste
  3. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 1 minute
  4. Pour 1/2 cup of hot milk into the mug (you can preheat the milk in the microwave for about 1 minute in a 1100 W oven)
  5. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth and creamy.
  6. Stir the coffee until it is well combined.
  7. Top the mocha coffee with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings. Enjoy!

Brewed Method

Brew your coffee the way you prefer. I prefer to brew espresso for mocha because I like the taste of espresso.


  • 1 to 2 shots of espresso
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons cocoa powder OR hot chocolate mix (to taste)
  • sugar (to taste)
  • steamed hot milk
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)


  1. Brew two shots of espresso and pour into a mug.
  2. Add the cocoa powder and sugar to the mug and stir until combined.
  3. Steam the milk with an espresso steam wand or in a separate milk steamer. Alternatively heat on the stove or the microwave (it will be hot but not frothy in the microwave).
  4. Slowly pour the hot milk into the mug and stir until all the ingredients are combined.
  5. Top the mocha with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings or chocolate syrup (optional).
  6. Enjoy your mocha espresso!

Cappuccino vs mocha – what are the differences?

Here are some of the differences between a cappuccino and a mocha.

Mochas are made with espresso, cocoa powder, and steamed milk, while cappuccinos are made with espresso, steamed milk, and foam.

Mochas are typically sweeter than cappuccinos.

Mochas typically have a thicker texture than cappuccinos.

Mochas are typically served with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, while cappuccinos are usually only served with a dusting of cocoa powder.

Mochas are usually served in a taller glass than cappuccinos.

Mochas can be served hot or cold, while cappuccinos are usually served hot.

Mochas usually have a layer of froth on top, while cappuccinos usually have a thick foam layer.

Mochas have a more robust chocolate flavor, while cappuccinos have a more subtle flavor.

Mochas can be served with flavored syrups, while cappuccinos are usually served plain

Mocha takes its name from Mokha a port city on the Red Sea coast of Yemen while Cappuccino takes its name from the color of Capucian friars’ robes in Italy.

Benefits of Drinking Mocha

The benefits of drinking mocha come mainly from the coffee and chocolate in mocha. Coffee has numerous health benefits that we have discussed in previous posts.

Read: Is Coffee Healthy For You – Mixed Ideas

Read: 8 Benefits and 6 Cons of Coffee on Your Health

Read: Is Coffee Good For You?

Chocolate is also rich in antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. This is especially true if you use dark chocolate to make your mocha. 

Here are the top 10 benefits of drinking Mocha

1. High Energy Boost: Mocha coffee contains caffeine and cocoa, providing a potent energy boost lasting for hours. 

2. Improved Cognitive Function: Caffeine and cocoa contain compounds that can improve cognitive function and alertness. 

3. Improved Mood: The combination of caffeine and cocoa can improve mood and help fight depression.

4. Improved Focus: Caffeine can improve focus and alertness, helping you stay on task and be more productive. 

5. Reduced Stress: The combination of caffeine and cocoa can reduce stress levels and induce relaxation. 

6. Improved Memory: Studies have shown that cocoa can improve memory and concentration. 

7. Improved Heart Health: Cocoa is a powerful antioxidant that can help improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

8. Improved Digestion: Caffeine and cocoa can help improve digestion and reduce bloating. 

9. Immune System Boost: Cocoa is rich in antioxidants that can help boost the immune system and fight off infections. 

10. Cancer Prevention: Cocoa is linked to reduced risk of certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer.

What are the different types of mocha?

The basic mocha is the same – it is a mix of coffee, chocolate (syrup or powered chocolate), and steamed milk. You can have different types of chocolate (e.g. dark, milk, or white), and various toppings (e.g. cream, powdered chocolate, and even sprinkles).

You can also buy ready-made mocha drinks, mocha pods, ground coffee with mocha-flavored ground coffee, and mocha flavored whole-bean coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is mocha coffee good for weight loss?

Mocha contains additional calories due to the added chocolate and toppings. Mocha is not good for weight loss. If you are trying to lose weight, it is best to avoid mocha coffee or opt for a lighter version.

Is a mocha just chocolate milk?

Mocha isn’t chocolate milk it is a mix of coffee, chocolate (usually syrup or powered chocolate), and steamed milk.

Can you use chocolate milk for mocha?

I’ve never tried using chocolate milk but you could try it. One issue would be heating the chocolate milk. You could try to steam it with an steam wand on an espresso machine, boil on a stove, or pop it in the microwave for about 1 minute. If you try it – let me know how it tastes!

Can you drink mocha with milk?

Mocha is usually made with coffee, chocolate, and steamed milk. There is nothing stopping you from adding extra milk to taste or to cool your mocha.

Why is chocolate coffee called mocha?

No one knows how the drink got the name ‘mocha’. However, chocolate coffee may not be mocha, because mocha also contains steamed milk.

Does mocha count as coffee?

Mocha contains coffee and is a popular coffee drink, so mocha does count as coffee.

Are all mochas chocolate?

All mochas contain chocolate of one kind or another (dark, milk, or white chocolate) but mocha isn’t chocolate.

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