If you feel like a chocolate hit in your coffee, then a mocha is your order of choice. But what is a mocha? In this post I'll be giving a barista guide on what's in a mocha and how to make one with photo and video guides.
What is a mocha?
A mocha is coffee with chocolate mixed in with the espresso shot, and then topped up with steamed milk and microfoam. It's basically a latte with chocolate mixed in. It's the ideal coffee when you feel like a sweet drink with a caffeine hit.
If you're ordering the drink at a cafe, just ask for a "mocha" and the barista will make you one. Some cafes may have the mocha down as a different name such as: "café mocha", "mocha latte", or a "mochaccino" - they're all the same thing.
How to make a mocha?
If you feel like making a mocha at home, I'm going to show you how I make one. I use an an espresso machine to make mine, but if you don't have an espresso machine, don't worry, I'll be giving you alternative tools in the guide you can use to get a similar cafe quality result.
What you'll need
- Espresso machine
- Grinder & tamper
- Milk pitcher & cup
- Chocolate powder or syrup
- Milk of choice
Step 1: Put a tea spoon of chocolate in cup
The first step is putting one tea spoon of quality drinking chocolate powder or flavored syrup into a cup. I recommend starting with just one tea spoon of chocolate, and then you can adjust the recipe to your taste as you go. You should still be able to taste the coffee in a classic mocha.
Step 2: Grind coffee & extract espresso onto chocolate
The next step is grinding your coffee and then extracting the espresso directly over the drinking chocolate. I like doing it this way as the espresso will start to melt the chocolate on contact. It's also less messy extracting the espresso on the chocolate as if you do it the other way it may cause splashes. For my mochas, I like to extract a double espresso over the chocolate (i.e. 60ml of coffee) as I like to taste the coffee through the chocolate.
No grinder or espresso machine for a mocha?
What if you don't have an espresso machine or grinder, don't worry, you can still make a mocha. For the best results you want to use a brewing method that produces strong tasting coffee, as close as you can get to an espresso. In order of preference, I recommend picking up an pod machine or aeropress. Or if you have french press or moka pot at home, just load it up with more coffee than usual so it is concentrated and strong. You want to have 60ml of very strong coffee.
Step 3: Mix chocolate and espresso
Once you've finished your espresso extraction, you want to grab a teaspoon and mix the chocolate and espresso until it is completely combined.
Step 4: Dash chocolate on espresso chocolate mixture
After the espresso and chocolate is combined, I like to dash some additional chocolate powder on top. I do this as it helps create a better canvas when making latte art as it creates a better contrast between the milk and espresso. I find it also makes the drink taste better as you get little bursts of chocolate on first sip of the drink.
Step 5: Steam milk
Now let's steam some nice milk for your cafe mocha. Grab a milk pitcher and start steaming milk with your coffee machine's steam wand. You want the consistency of your steamed milk to be the same as a latte. A half an inch or centimeter of micro foam. If you need a guide on how to steam milk, you can check out our detailed milk steaming guide here.
Don't have an espresso machine to steam milk for a cafe mocha?
If you don't have an espresso machine to steam milk, you can consider picking yourself an automatic milk frother, we've written a guide here on some good options that are affordable and get create a similar result to an espresso machine. You just won’t be able to make fine micro foam needed for latte art, but they will produce nice foamy milk.
Step 6: Pour steamed milk into mixture
Now it's time to combine the steamed milk with your espresso and chocolate mixture. If you've made your milk right, you'll even be able to pour some nice mocha latte art like I'm doing below.
Step 7: Complete mocha
And you're done! Enjoy a great tasting mocha you've made yourself! My recipe is contains one tea spoon of chocolate and a double shot of coffee, if you like your drink on the sweeter side play around with the ratios.
And if you want to mix stuff even further, you can consider adding flavored syrups like hazelnut or peppermint into your mocha to give it a more unique taste. It's up to you!
Video recap of making a cafe mocha
Below is video from my youtube channel that shows me making the mocha in this recipe guide. Make sure to chuck me a subscription :).
Frequently asked questions
Below are some common questions people have asked me about cafe mochas. If you have any questions yourself, please feel free to leave a comment and then I'll add it onto this list.
What's the difference between a mocha and a cappuccino?
The main difference between a mocha and a cappuccino is that a cappuccino does not have chocolate mixed in with the espresso. Further, a cappuccino has more macrofoam on top of the beverage compared to a mocha. A mocha has similar foam levels to a latte (you can read about lattes vs mochas here).
Does a mocha contain sugar?
If you're using normal chocolate powder or syrup then yes, a mocha contains sugar. However, you can buy sugar free alternatives.
How do you make an iced mocha?
The recipe to making an iced mocha is similar to a normal one. The only key differences are that in step 3 after mixing the espresso and chocolate is to quickly add ice cubes to chill it. And instead of steaming milk, you combine cold milk to the chilled espresso-chocolate mixture into a glass with ice.
What coffee do you use for a mocha?
Earthy coffee blends work best when making a mocha as they complement chocolate flavors the best.
Mocha recipe summary
- Put one tea spoon of quality drinking chocolate powder or flavored syrup into a cup.
- Grind your coffee and then extracting the espresso directly over the drinking chocolate.
- Mix the chocolate and espresso until it is completely combined.
- Dash some additional chocolate powder on top.
- Steam milk with your espresso machine.
- Combine the steamed milk with your espresso and chocolate mixture.
- And you're done! Enjoy a great tasting mocha you've made yourself!