Also known as “mocaccino”, “mochaccino”, or “mochachino”, mocha coffee is an espresso-based beverage that’s unique from others such as latte, cappuccino, and macchiato, due to the presence of chocolate notes.
Ironically, the origin of the word “mocha” doesn’t have anything to do with chocolate or coffee and chocolate combos. It actually refers to a variety of coffee beans that were grown in the central mountains of Yemen, then shipped from the port of Al Mokha (Mocha). Interested in learning more about the popular coffee drink? Keep reading!
What is in a Mocha?
Mocha refers to any mixture of coffee with chocolate flavoring, even as simple as some hot chocolate with shots of espresso blended together.
A caffé mocha is basically a chocolate-flavored variant of a caffé latte so it’s also based on espresso and hot milk. The difference is that a mocha contains chocolate flavoring and sweetener.
Commonly, the chocolate flavor comes from the addition of cocoa powder and the sweetener is just sugar, but there are many varieties of mocha coffee that use chocolate syrup instead. Some may incorporate milk or dark chocolate.
Similar to a cappuccino or a latte, a caffé mocha is mostly served with the famous milk froth on top, but sometimes it takes more to hot chocolate and carries whipped cream instead. Mochas are typically finished off with a dusting of cocoa powder, cinnamon, or even marshmallows for a kick of flavor and decoration.
That being said, it should come as no surprise that caffé mochas are very customizable drinks. A few variants of mochas include:
- White caffé mocha – this type of mocha uses white chocolate instead of milk or dark chocolate. You can also find several variants of mocha that contain both syrups (white and dark or milk chocolate), referred to as black & white mocha, tan mocha, zebra mocha, marble mocha, or tuxedo mocha among other names.
- Mochaccino – this variant consists of one shot of espresso mixed with either chocolate milk or a combination of cocoa powder and steamed milk. Just like a caffé mocha, a mochaccino can contain chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and extra toppings including chocolate sprinkles, nutmeg, or cinnamon.
- Caffé mocha with coffee instead of espresso – this one is pretty self-explanatory; it contains coffee, steamed milk, and chocolate. It’s the simple combination of coffee and hot chocolate that we mentioned earlier.
By now, you may be wondering how much caffeine is in a mocha coffee. Well, since it’s an espresso-based beverage, then its caffeine content depends on the amount of espresso you use.
According to Mayo Clinic, a 1-ounce cup of espresso contains approximately 47-64mg of caffeine. One shot of espresso is about 1 to 1.5 ounces, which means a cup of mocha can contain around 58 to 185 mg of caffeine. It mainly comes down to whether you have your mocha with a single or a double shot of espresso.
Is Mocha the same as Coffee?
Coffee is a plant that typically grows in tropical and equatorial regions. It produces coffee beans that are dried and ground then brewed to produce a drink that’s known across the globe as coffee.
Mocha, on the other hand, refers to a variety of coffee beans sourced from Yemen and shipped from Al Mokha port. These beans have a natural hint of chocolate that baristas worked to enhance over the years by adding a bit of chocolate to the mocha recipe later on.
Coffee is a broad term that includes a lot of drinks prepared in different ways, while mocha is a beverage that contains coffee, milk, and chocolate. So, this means that mocha is a coffee drink, but coffee is more of a general word that refers to many drinks made after brewing coffee beans.
Is Mocha stronger than Coffee?
Generally speaking, the taste strength of a coffee drink depends on the brewing process of the coffee beans, more specifically, the ratio of coffee grinds to water during brewing.
In this case, coffee strength isn’t determined by the roasting level of coffee beans rather than how concentrated the brew is. It’s simply up to the person behind the coffee or espresso machine how strong or weak it turns out to be.
This means that a plain cup of coffee could be weaker than a mocha, especially if it uses the more concentrated espresso shots. However, it’s still possible for coffee to be stronger if it uses the ratio of coffee grinds to water is higher.
On the other side, if by coffee strength you mean caffeine content, then we should be talking about the roasting process, not the brewing. Many people think that the more bitter the coffee tastes, the more caffeine it contains, and so, the stronger it must be.
Consequently, since regular coffee is usually just plain coffee beans extract without extra milk or chocolate, people believe that it’s stronger than a mocha, even when it’s made with espresso.
But this is, in fact, a myth. The caffeine content of a coffee drink has no relation to how bitter it tastes or the additives it contains. The caffeine content of your coffee beverage, whether it’s a plain black coffee or a mocha, depends on the roast level of the coffee beans from which they are made.
Caffeine breaks down during the roasting process, which means that the more the coffee beans are roasted, the less the caffeine content.
So, light roast coffee beans contain more caffeine than dark roast coffee beans. That’s right! The lighter color and milder flavor of light roast coffee or espresso actually have more caffeine to offer than the bitter dark roast, making light roast stronger than dark roast in this sense.
If a mocha uses coffee or espresso shots brewed from light roast beans, it’ll be stronger than a regular coffee brewed from dark roast beams, and the other way around.
How much Coffee is in Mocha?
As we mentioned above, caffé mocha has multiple variants that play on the three basic ingredients of mocha; espresso/coffee, milk, and chocolate. The typical mocha recipe that most coffee shops include:
- 1 or 2 espresso shots depending on taste preferences. (1 shot is 1 to 1.5 ounces)
- 1 ounce of steamed milk
- 2 ounces of hot chocolate
- A layer of milk froth as a topping – Can Half and Half be frothed or steamed?
What does Mocha Coffee taste like?
When your coffee drink is mocha flavored, this means that it combines the flavors of both chocolate and coffee. Mocha coffee is sweet like chocolate and roast in taste like coffee.
Sometimes, beverages are described as mocha despite not having a coffee at all. There could be the tiniest hint of coffee that needs someone with a really sensitive palate to pick up, otherwise, it could be just a name to sound fancy.
What is the difference between a Mocha and an Espresso?
Espresso is a method of brewing, it’s not a variant of coffee beans or a roast level. It’s usually made using dark roast coffee grinds that are packed in a metal filter with water passing through it under pressure.
Espresso is served in small portions called shots, about 1 to 1.5 or 2 ounces each. It tends to be stronger and more concentrated than any other coffee drink.
A mocha, however, is an espresso-based beverage just like a latte (Check out the differences between a Latte and a Frappe!), a cappuccino (What is a dry cappuccino?), or a macchiato. It can contain one or two shots of espresso.
Macchiato vs Mocha – What is the difference?
Many people often confuse macchiatos and mochas, so they end up ordering one of them without really being sure what they’re drinking. So let’s help clear things up by breaking down the differences into two main points: flavor and milk.
- Flavor – as we mentioned earlier, mochas bring together the flavors of chocolate and coffee, which makes them sweeter and less intense when it comes to expressing the strong flavor of espresso.
Macchiatos, on the other hand, focus more on celebrating the intensity of espresso but with a touch of creaminess from the milk.
- Milk – both macchiatos and mochas have milk on their list of ingredients, but they use different techniques to add the milk which alters the resulting beverages.
An espresso macchiato contains the tiniest bit of milk with a small amount of foam, while a latte macchiato uses more milk and thicker foam to produce layers when espresso is poured over it.
Mochas use some milk to balance out the texture and let the stars of the show; chocolate and espresso, shine through.
There you have it! All you need to know to answer the question: what is mocha coffee? With all this information in mind, your next trip to the coffee shop should be more delicious since you can actually understand what you’re ordering!