Mocha Vs Latte – What’s The Difference?

If you are new to the cafe world you may be a bit overwhelmed by all the different drink options! Mocha, Latte, Macchiato, Flat white, Cappuccino? Even after trying them you may be wondering what the difference is. 

We are going to focus in this article on the difference between Mocha and Lattes.

What is a Latte?

A latte is a milk based coffee beverage that is usually served in a tall cup or glass with beautiful artwork splashed across the top (if you go to the right cafe!) A latte is generally considered the mildest coffee drink due to it having the least amount of espresso in it. Technically a latte consists of ⅙ Espresso, 4/6 Steamed Milk and ⅙ Foamed Milk. It is a very creamy drink with a soft coffee flavour.

Photo of person drinking a latte in a glass

Latte comes from the Italian word Caffè e latte meaning Coffee and Milk. This drink has been around since the 17th century. However it was only popularized in America, Europe and Scandinavia in the early 1980s with the invention of Steam Wands on Espresso Machines. Latte art was made mainstream in US coffee shops in the late 1980s and quickly caught on around the world. These days they even have latte art world competitions!

What is a Mocha?

A Mocha is a stronger coffee drink with a sweet hit of chocolate. A Mocha usually consists of ⅖ Espresso, ⅖ Chocolate and ⅕ Steamed Milk. The chocolate used is usually dark chocolate and either a ganache, chocolate syrup, or chunks of chocolate. While the coffee is a lot stronger than a latte, it is also a lot sweeter due to the chocolate.

Mocha in a cup

As a side note there is also a distinct type of Arabica coffee bean called Mocha coffee beans. These are grown and harvested in Mokha, Yemen and the drink made from them is also called a Mocha. The beans themselves have a rich chocolate tone with hints of fruit. These high quality beans are very rare and expensive.

What is a Mocha Latte?

A Mocha Latte is basically a Latte with a shot of chocolate syrup added. So if you are a chocolate lover just entering the world of coffee you might opt to start with this drink as it is a milder coffee. It generally consists of ⅛ Espresso, ⅝ Steamed Milk, ⅛ Frothed Milk and ⅛ Chocolate.

What is a Mochaccino?

As the name would suggest a Mochaccino is a Cappuccino with a shot of chocolate syrup added. This is a stronger coffee with ⅓ Espresso, ⅓ Steamed Milk and ⅓ Frothed milk with a Tablespoon of Chocolate syrup added.

So can you create a Latte or Mocha at home?

When it comes to making a Latte or Mocha (or basically any coffee shop drink) it really comes down to 2 ingredients: Espresso and Milk.

Espresso

The first key ingredient of both drinks is the Espresso. To make a good espresso it always pays to start with high quality, fresh coffee beans. These need to be ground finely, we recommend using a burr grinder to do this. If you are just starting out making Espresso we recommend using a recipe to begin with. Generally we recommend starting with 18g ground coffee, aiming to get 36g of espresso out with a brew time of 20-30 seconds. For a more in depth guide to espresso check out our beginners guide here.

Milk

The second key ingredient for both drinks is the milk. The main difference here between a Latte and Mocha is that a Latte requires both steamed and frothed milk whereas a Mocha just needs steamed milk. So what is the difference between steamed and frothed milk?!

>Steamed Milk

Steamed Milk is basically the main body of milk drinks. We use a steam wand to heat up the milk, this heats up the sugars in milk to create a sweet flavour and breaks down the fats to produce a smooth texture. The goal with steamed milk is to produce fine foam with very small air bubbles called microfoam. This gives the milk a velvety, smooth texture.

>Frothed Milk

Frothed milk on the other hand is when we create a layer of foamed milk on top of steamed milk. A steam wand is used to mix air into the milk to produce a more airy, thick layer of froth on top of a bed of steamed milk.

Can you make a Latte or Mocha at home if you don’t have an espresso machine?

The short answer to this is yes you can produce a similar tasting drink by making a strong concentrated coffee (with an aeropress or moka pot) and froth milk using a milk frother or even a french press however it won’t technically be a latte or mocha as you can’t produce actual espresso.

We hope this article has helped clarify the differences between a Latte and a Mocha. For those chocolate lovers out there we recommend opting for a sweet, strong Mocha. And for those seeking a milder coffee we recommend a Latte.

Happy Brewing!

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