What Does Mocha Taste Like? A Brief Guide To Mocha Coffee

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what does mocha taste like

Pretty much everyone enjoys some chocolate every now and then.

And many, many people love coffee.

So, why not put them together?

Mocha is a delicious coffee drink that adds chocolate.

But what does mocha taste like?

In this article, I’ll give you a full rundown of what a mocha is, how it tastes, and even a quick recipe for how to make one at home.

Let’s jump in!

What Is Mocha?

mocha coffee

Mocha is a chocolatey espresso drink. It sits alongside the latte as a variation on the classic milk and espresso combo.

But it adds chocolate. And who doesn’t like chocolate?

You can think of mocha as a hot chocolate with a shot of espresso.

Coffee shops have many ways of making mochas, but the base ingredients are always the same.


You might have heard “mocha” used as another word for plain coffee. That’s because the name itself has some historical significance to coffee.

Mocha is also the name of a city in Yemen where a lot of the early coffee trade happened. The name stuck around and has been used as another name for coffee.

But it is also the name of a specific coffee drink.

The mocha on the menu at just about every coffee shop is an espresso drink made with chocolate.

The mocha we know today actually has a long history. It came from Cafe al Bicerin in Turin in the 18th century. That drink, known as the Bicerin, was made with espresso, chocolate or cocoa, and milk.

The Bicerin was not mixed until the drinker mixed the layers of the drink together right before taking the first sip. That’s the biggest difference between that drink and the modern mocha.

It wasn’t until the late 1890s that the cafe mocha started to gain popularity. The modern mocha has its origins in the United States.


Coffee and chocolate go together like wine and cheese. A growing number of specialty coffee and chocolate shops work together to pair their tasty treats.

That kind of experimentation gave rise to a number of mocha variations.

One is the white chocolate mocha. This drink is a standard mocha that is made with white chocolate instead of dark or milk chocolate.

Another variation is mocha coffee. Instead of espresso, this drink uses brewed coffee as a base. The coffee flavor in this drink isn’t as strong, but it does have good balance and a smooth texture.

The mochaccino is yet another variation, though this one doesn’t have a traditional definition. Generally, it means a mocha that is made with less milk and more foam, but still with chocolate.

The last is an Australian cappuccino. The Australians make their cappuccinos with chocolate and add a dusting of cocoa powder to the top.

When ordering coffee in Australia, make sure you specify if you want chocolate in your cappuccino or not.

What Does Mocha Taste Like?

mocha coffee and chocolate candy on wooden plate

The taste of mocha depends a lot on how the barista makes your drink.

If you’ve had a latte before, picture that. It’s a good starting point to explain how adding chocolate changes the taste of the drink.

A latte has a good balance between espresso and milk. A good latte will taste smooth and creamy, without being too sweet or too bitter.

Adding chocolate adds a layer of flavor to the drink. It becomes a smooth chocolate flavor mixed with coffee and milk.

Imagine drinking a hot chocolate and then adding a shot of espresso.

Coffee shops make mochas in many different ways. They can add chocolate syrup to the bottom of a cup before pouring in the espresso and milk.

They sometimes make hot chocolate by steaming milk and chocolate syrup together before adding a shot of espresso.

However, in my opinion, there is one way to make mocha that tastes better than any other. And I’ll explain how to do that below.

How To Make a Mocha?

This short recipe is my personal favorite. It balances the taste of the espresso and chocolate before adding milk. This makes the bonding of the espresso and chocolate with the frothed milk easier and smoother.

Here’s how I do it:

  • Add about 50 grams of chocolate syrup to the bottom of a cup
  • Grind and fill your portafilter with about 18 grams of your favorite espresso
  • Pull about 2 oz of espresso straight into the cup with chocolate syrup
  • While your espresso is pulling, use a spoon to mix the espresso in with the chocolate
  • Froth about 6-7 oz of milk to around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, making sure to not have too much foam
  • Pour the steamed milk into the espresso and chocolate
  • Enjoy!

This method mixes the espresso and chocolate throughout extraction.

This means that your chocolate will mix with each individual flavor that comes through the espresso instead of just at the end.

In my experience, this method creates the smoothest and most seamless bond between chocolate and espresso.

Try it out!


While mochas are a relatively simple drink to make, you might still have a few questions.

I’ve pulled out three questions I get a lot.

What’s the difference between mocha and latte?

The only difference between mocha and latte is that mocha has chocolate and a latte does not. Other than that, they are identical.

Do mochas have caffeine?

Yes. Mochas use shots of espresso. A standard mocha will have between 63 and 120 mg of caffeine, depending on how many shots are used.

When should you drink mocha?

Whenever! The mocha isn’t steeped in tradition and was popularized in the United States. So, there aren’t strong guidelines on when is the proper time to drink mocha.

It is rather filling, however, so it probably isn’t a good after-lunch drink.

Final Thoughts

So, there you go. Mocha is an espresso-based coffee drink with milk and chocolate.

It has a number of variations, but the ingredients are always the same: coffee, chocolate, and milk.

Because mochas are simple, they are really easy to make at home.

Happy sipping!

Interested in something colder? Check out our article on how to make an iced mocha!

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.