Cappuccino vs Mocha: Difference Explained By A Barista

 Last Updated April 15, 2023

As a barista, two popular drinks I often make is a cappuccino and mocha, but what's the difference between the two? In this blog post I'll give you barista's answer on the key differences -  both short and long.

The short answer

The Difference is Chocolate!

The key difference between a cappuccino and a mocha is that a mocha has chocolate mixed into the espresso before pouring steamed milk into the cup to combine the beverage. The rest of the ingredients are exactly the same: espresso, steamed milk, and froth! This means that mocha has all the same texture and froth as a cappuccino, but with a hit of chocolate!

mocha vs cappuccino

A mocha on the left and cappuccino on the right made by me.

Cappuccino vs Mocha: The Long Answer

Now what type of coffee geek would I be if I didn't also give an in-depth answer to this question. 

In this section I'll take a closer look at how the two espresso drinks are made, and also discuss variations to each of drink you might find between cafes and different parts of the world. 

What's a cappuccino?

A cappuccino is beverage that's one part espresso, one part steam milk, and the rest being micro-foam

It's one of the most popular drinks people order at cafes as it's the perfect balance between coffee, and smooth frothed milk

It's the ideal drink for a morning pick me up, or a drink to have with dessert after a good meal. 

To dash chocolate or not to dash chocolate?

In some parts of the world cappuccinos have one extra step to finish the drink - a dash of chocolate powder on top!

This is how cappuccinos are made in Australia (where I'm from) and other parts of the world.

The reason some places do this is to help differentiate the drink from a cafe latte and flat white, as otherwise they are practically the same drink. 

If you haven't had a cap with chocolate powder on top, give it a go!

Cappuccino with chocolate on top

Cappuccino with chocolate on top made by me!

What's a mocha?

A mocha is a coffee that is made by mixing either chocolate powder, or syrup with an espresso shot, then pouring steamed milk and foam into the mixture to create a yummy drink.

If you're craving a rich, chocolate-infused coffee drink, then a mocha is the way to go. Mochas are also a great option for someone new to the coffee drinking world, thanks to their sweetness. Just be mindful of the extra sugar!

Make sure to also check out my detailed guide on making mochas.

mocha coffee

A mocha made with chocolate mixed into the espresso made with my Rocket coffee machine.

In summary, the difference between a cappuccino and mocha... 

The table below is quick summary showing what is the difference between a mocha and a cappuccino.





Yes, single or double ristretto

Yes, single or double ristretto

Steamed Milk




Depends. Some places no, some places dash chocolate on top

Yes. Chocolate is mixed into the espresso and also dashed on top.

Taste Profile

Creamy while still retaining the taste of espresso

Sweet. You can taste the espresso peeking through the coffee. The chocolate is the star of the show


Below are some common questions people ask about these two drinks, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

Which is stronger a cappuccino or mocha?

In terms of strength, a cappuccino is generally considered to be stronger than a mocha due to its higher proportion of espresso and no chocolate mixed in so the coffee shines through. However, the strength of a coffee drink can also be adjusted to match the drinker's taste, so if you want a stronger mocha, ask your barista to make one!

Are mochas healthier than cappuccino?

Cappuccino are healthier than mochas as then don't have chocolate within in. A mocha is made the same way as a cappuccino but with chocolate mixed in. This extra sugar is what makes then less healthy compared to cappuccinos.

Is a cappuccino or mocha better for latte art?

With experience, you can make equally good latte art with both drinks, however a cappuccino is generally better to make latte art with as you have more room in the cup to make patterns. However, if have trouble pulling good shots of espresso, mochas allow you to create a great canvas as the darker color helps create better contrast.

About The Author 

Ivan Bez

Ivan is the founder of Latte Art Guide and a barista with 10 years of experience. He loves coffee and aims to help people improve their coffee making skills.

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