What Is A Mocha Coffee? – Cafe Mocha Recipes


Chris Clark

Chris Clark is the co-founder and chief content editor of BrewCoffeeHome.com. With a passion for all things java, Chris has been a coffee blogger for the past 3 years and shares his expertise in coffee brewing with the readers. He's a hands-on expert, loves testing coffee equipment, and has written most of the in-depth reviews featured on the site. When he's not whipping up delicious drinks or experimenting with the latest coffee gadgets, Chris is exploring the local cafe. You can reach him at [email protected].

Learn about Brew Coffee Home's Editorial Guidelines >>

We review and suggest products independently, but if you buy a product via the links in our posts, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Known for centuries as a good pairing, chocolate and espresso make the foundation of the rich-tasting caffè mocha. Combining rich, sweet chocolate to balance the bitterness of espresso and mixing in steamed milk creates an indulgent drink. Usually topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, mochas come in all kinds of flavors and can be served hot or iced.

The process for making mochas remains quite simple, and you can enjoy making your own barista-style mocha drink as often as you like at home using a few simple, easy-to-find ingredients. 

What Is A Mocha Coffee?

Decadent and delicious, the mocha can be found as a staple on coffee shop menus and in restaurants. Originally called a caffè mocha or mocha latte, a mocha is created similar to a caffè latte, just with chocolate added.


The recipe remains simple: chocolate mixed with espresso, then steamed milk added to the top. The richness of chocolate is determined by the percentage of cacao. You can make your chocolate drink richer by using richer chocolate or chocolate with a higher cacao percentage. Usually topped with cream and chocolate shavings, mochas have a deliciously rich and sweet taste compared to other espresso-based drinks.

For a deeper understanding of how mocha compares to other popular coffee drinks like lattes, explore our detailed comparison in Mocha vs Latte.


What Does Mocha Mean? – History Of Mocha

The interesting origins of the specialty coffee drink, mocha, didn’t begin with chocolate. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, a port in Yemen became the gateway for a variety of coffee beans to ship worldwide, and the port was named Al Mohkha. So coffee beans that you now know today as Arabica coffee beans had simply been called “mocha” beans by the 17th century.

Some believe that the beans had a slight chocolatey note to them. However, when it comes to marrying chocolate with coffee, you have to travel from Yemen to Italy. In Italy, coffee houses began serving a drink called “bavaresia,” which came to your table as three separate, small glasses of coffee, chocolate, and cream. The customers then mixed the drink in a ratio that they wanted.

As this drink became known, a cafe by the name of Bicerin in Italy popularized it as a prepared drink, named “bicerin,” and the first mention of a caffe mocha can be traced to a Betty Crocker cookbook in 1892.

What’s in a Mocha (Mocha Ingredients)

When you watch a barista in action, you probably think making a cafe mocha must involve exotic ingredients and a lot of work. However, you can easily find the simple ingredients you need to make a delicious mocha at home. You only need three things: chocolate, milk, and espresso or coffee.


What chocolate should I use?

You have several chocolate options when making a mocha. Your desired taste determines the best chocolate option for your mocha. 

Mochas can be made with chocolate chips or shavings. While experts recommend using chocolate with 70% cacao content, you can choose whatever chocolate you enjoy. You can use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, or a combination of any type.

Most coffee shops use chocolate syrup or cocoa powder. Just remember that cocoa powder comes unsweetened. So you need to use equal amounts of sugar with your cocoa powder, a 1:1 ratio.

Can I use coffee instead of espresso?

While the traditional caffè mocha uses espresso, you can successfully use other coffee options to create a great-tasting mocha. Regular coffee or instant coffee can work, but you won’t get the same strong coffee flavor as you would with espresso, which may be just how you like it. Cold brew makes a suitable option for making iced mochas.

What Is Mocha Flavor?

A mocha goes by many names on a menu: caffè mocha, mocha latte, or simply mocha. Regardless of the name, the taste remains the same. This decadent drink contains a rich chocolate flavor that balances the bitterness of the coffee and has a sweeter taste than most coffee drinks. 

In fact, coffee lovers enjoy mochas as a dessert drink, and people who don’t enjoy coffee flavor have made the mocha their drink of choice. Its distinct chocolatey flavor and heavy richness appeal to both coffee and non-coffee drinkers. If you don’t have much experience with espresso drinks or don’t think you enjoy the taste of coffee, a caffè mocha makes a great choice.

How to Make a Mocha (Mocha Coffee Recipes)

Mochas can be simple to make whether you want hot, iced, or an advanced recipe.

Hot Mocha


This simple recipe can be placed in a 10-ounce latte cup. You need to use drinking chocolate, which means cocoa powder mixed with sugar. If you don’t have drinking chocolate on hand, use equal amounts of cocoa powder and sugar.

  1. Pull two shots of espresso. (18 grams of ground coffee beans and 36 grams of liquid)
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of drinking chocolate to the hot espresso and stir until lumps disappear.
  3. Steam 6 to 8 ounces of milk with the steam wand to create velvety milk foam.
  4. Pour hot milk over the mixture and create latte art or use whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles to decorate the coffee drink.

Advanced Hot Mocha

This recipe remains as simple as the first. Instead of using a powder, you will melt chocolate with water, lending a more decadent finish to your drink.

  1. Take 7 ounces of milk chocolate and 2 ounces of cold water and place them in a glass container. Make sure you use cold water.
  2. Place your container in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
  3. Remove from the microwave and whisk until smooth.
  4. Place the hot chocolate mixture into a squeezy bottle.
  5. Pull one or two shots of espresso or however many shots you want.
  6. Stir in equal amounts of the melted chocolate mixture with the espresso.
  7. Steam 6 to 8 ounces of milk froth with the steam wand.
  8. Pour milk over the mixture, create latte art, or top with whipped cream and chocolate powder or shavings.

Keep the chocolate mixture in the refrigerator and slowly reheat it a few seconds at a time in the microwave when you want to use the mix. 


Once you feel comfortable with the above recipe, you can further elevate your drink by replacing the melted chocolate with a ganache instead. Follow the steps for the melted chocolate mixture, but use equal amounts of couverture chocolate with heavy cream. Using 3.5 ounces of each makes a sufficient quantity for several mochas.

Iced Mocha Recipe

An iced mocha can be made just as simply as a hot one. If you adjust the size of the recipe, be sure to use equal amounts of espresso and chocolate.

  1. Add chocolate sauce to a glass.
  2. Add ice cubes.
  3. Fill the glass with cold milk.
  4. Pull your espresso shots and add them to the glass.
  5. Top with whipped cream and decorate it with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

If you prefer to have the iced mocha mixed together, simply follow steps 1 through 4 above, using a Mason jar. Place the lid onto the jar and shake until you have the desired mixture.

You can use the chocolate mixture or ganache recipe from the advanced mocha in place of store-bought chocolate sauce to increase the richness. Just be sure to heat the mixtures slowly before using them if you didn’t make the mixtures fresh.

How to Make a Mocha Without an Espresso Machine?

If you don’t have an espresso machine, don’t despair. You can still create this indulgent barista-style drink using regular coffee, cold brew, or even instant coffee.

Regular coffee does not result in the same strength and flavor as espresso, and you need to use more coffee than milk to achieve the correct result. It might take some experimenting to find the right ratio that works for you. Simply add all of the mocha ingredients into a jar, screw on the lid, and shake. Then pour into a mug and heat in the microwave. 

Cold brew follows the same process as regular coffee, but because cold brew comes as a concentrate, just use equal parts cold brew and frothed milk. 

If you’re using instant coffee, simply make the coffee as you normally would, stir in your choice of chocolate, and add warmed milk. Like regular coffee, you may have to experiment with ratios to create the desired effect.

Starbucks Mocha?


Besides the caffè mocha, you can also order other mocha drinks hot or iced at Starbucks. When ordering a 16-ounce grande mocha in the following flavors, you can expect:

  • Caffè Mocha: rich, chocolatey flavor; 370 calories (420 calories when iced); 175mg caffeine
  • White chocolate mocha: like a mocha but without the chocolatey flavor; 430 calories (420 calories when iced); 150mg caffeine
  • Toasted white chocolate mocha: like a white mocha but with added caramelized flavors; 430 calories (400 calories when iced); 150mg caffeine
  • Peppermint mocha: like a mocha mixed with peppermint; 440 calories (420 calories when iced); 175mg caffeine
  • Toasted white peppermint mocha: like a toasted white mocha mixed with peppermint; 510 calories (490 calories when iced); 150mg caffeine
  • Marble Mocha Macchiato: A popular drink on the secret menu. You can order Caramel Macchiatos, simply replace the vanilla syrup and caramel drizzle with mocha sauce and mocha drizzle. You’ll enjoy this wonderful coffee and chocolate drink at Starbucks.


Whether you crave a decadent dessert-like drink or just want a punch of caffeine deliciously paired with chocolate, a mocha makes the perfect choice. If you want to make a mocha at home, it requires just a few simple ingredients and a few simple steps to create the perfect barista-style mocha drink you enjoy at your local coffee shops.

Photo of author

Chris Clark

Chris Clark is the co-founder and chief content editor of BrewCoffeeHome.com. With a passion for all things java, Chris has been a coffee blogger for the past 3 years and shares his expertise in coffee brewing with the readers. He's a hands-on expert, loves testing coffee equipment, and has written most of the in-depth reviews featured on the site. When he's not whipping up delicious drinks or experimenting with the latest coffee gadgets, Chris is exploring the local cafe.