Latte vs Mocha: Barista Explains The Difference

 Last Updated April 18, 2022

Latte vs mocha, what's the difference between these two drinks? In this blog post I'll give a barista's opinion on how they differ, how to make each coffee, and when to order them at your local cafe. 

latte vs mocha

Latte on the left and mocha on the right. Made on my coffee machine.

What's the difference between a latte and a mocha?

Lattes and mochas are both espresso based drinks but they differ in one key way - mochas have chocolate!

This is the key difference between the two drinks as otherwise they're made exactly the same.

They both contain the same amount of espresso and milk, the only added ingredient is the drinking chocolate that's mixed into the espresso before pouring the steamed milk.

But the chocolate makes a world of difference in the flavour profile!

When should you order a mocha?

If you're looking for a richer, chocolate coffee drink, then a mocha is the way to go. They're also a great introduction for those who don't drink coffee regularly, as they're a sweet drink - so keep that in mind if you're watching your sugar intake.

mocha coffee

A mocha made my me. You can tell chocolate is mixed with the espresso thanks to it's dark color.

When should you order a latte?

A latte is a classic coffee order and a good choice if you want a drink with a smooth texture and great flavor.

It's the most popular drink on a cafe's menu and can be enjoyed both in the mornings and afternoons (despite what Italian baristas may say, as in Italy they're traditionally only drunk in the morning).

Keep reading to learn how lattes and mochas are made.

How is a latte made?

A latte is made by combining espresso and steamed milk, resulting in a creamy and smooth drink. The milk is aerated as it's steamed, which gives lattes their characteristic foam top that allows you to pour latte art.

latte in a cup

A latte is just like a mocha less the chocolate powder. 

Below is a step by step guide on how to make a latte:

  1. Extract your espresso: Extract 30ml for a normal strength latte or 60ml for a strong latte into your cup. (Click here for a more detailed espresso extraction guide)
  2. Froth your milk: While the shot is extracting, you want to be texturing your milk at the same time. 
  3. Combine your milk and espresso: Once your milk is done, pour it into your cup to combine the espresso and milk to make your cafe latte. 

Below is a YouTube video from my channel that shows my coffee making workflow when making a latte.

How is a mocha made? (Just add chocolate!)

A mocha is made in the same way as a latte, but with the addition of drinking chocolate. The chocolate is melted and mixed with a shot of espresso before the steamed milk is added, resulting in a richer and more chocolatey drink.

You can use either chocolate powder or syrup to make a mocha, but my preference is good chocolate powder as I think it tastes better.

drinking chocolate for mocha

Make sure to use  good drinking chocolate to get the best tasting mocha.

Below is a step by step guide on how to make a mocha. The steps are the same as a latte besides the chocolate steps:

  1. Chocolate powder: Firstly, put drinking chocolate into your cup. I don't like my mochas too sweet, so I use one tea spoon of chocolate. But you can increase the dose so it is made to your taste.
  2. Make your espresso: Extract a shot of espresso on top of the chocolate powder.
  3. Mix the espresso and chocolate: Once the espresso is done, use a tea spoon to mix the chocolate and espresso until the chocolate is fully dissolved into the coffee. You will know it's done when there are no more lumpy parts of chocolate and the espresso is a dark color.
  4. Dash chocolate powder: Dash some extra chocolate powder on top of the espresso and chocolate mixture. This helps the contrast when pouring latte art.
  5. Steam the milk: Steam your milk just like a latte.
  6. Pour milk: Pour the milk into the espresso chocolate mixture to complete your drink!

Below is video of me making a mocha with my home espresso machine in Australia.

Is a mocha stronger than a latte?

No, a mocha is not stronger than a latte. Both drinks contain the same amount of espresso and milk. The only difference is the chocolate that is added to the mocha. This does not make it a stronger drink. 

Latte vs mocha difference summary

In summary, the main differences and similarities between a mocha and latte are:

  • Both lattes and mochas are espresso coffee drinks.
  • Mochas contain hot chocolate mixed with espresso, while lattes do not.
  • Lattes are smooth and have a great flavor.
  • Mochas are richer and more chocolatey as the chocolate is mixed with the espresso.
  • Order a latte if you want a classic coffee drink; order a mocha if you're looking for something sweeter.

Conclusion

So there you have it! The difference between mocha vs latte, how to make each coffee drink, and when to order them.

I hope this has helped clear things up for you next time you're standing at the counter of your local cafe trying to decide which coffee to order. If you have any questions leave a comment below. Make sure to check out our guide on the difference between a caffè latte and cappuccino.


About The Author 

Ivan Bez

Ivan is the founder of Latte Art Guide and a barista with 7+ years of experience. He loves coffee and aims to help people improve their coffee making skills.


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