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Mocha vs Latte: What is the Difference?

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You might love coffee. You might even be a coffee enthusiast. But do you know the meaning of the different types of coffee drinks that you enjoy? If not, no need to panic, not only is your secret safe with us, but we’ll even help you fix it. 

We are going to take an in-depth look into what constitutes a mocha or a latte, how there are made, how they are similar, and how they differ. We will also break down how each one generally tastes, in case you have never had them, or are maybe looking for something different and tasty.

What is a Mocha?

Mocha is named for the variety of coffee beans that are used. They are named after the region in Yemen that they originate from. They are roasted and used to brew espresso to which chocolate and milk is added.

How to Make a Mocha

Recipes can vary widely, but a very well-loved basic recipe that is used is many coffee shops is:

  • 2 shots of espresso
  • 2 ounces of chocolate syrup or 2-3 squares of dark chocolate
  • One ounce of steamed milk
  • A thin layer of milk foam
  • (Optional) One ounce of Sambuca

First, pump your syrup into the cup, or place your dark chocolate squares in the cup, and place it under your espresso machine. Extract, or brew, two shots of espresso directly onto the chocolate in the cup, this will heat it up and make it easier to incorporate. Then steam your milk and add that to the cup. Top with a thin layer of foamed milk. Traditional Italian cafes add a shot of Sambuca for an extra bit of fun.

What Does Mocha Taste Like?

Mocha beans naturally have a very strong flavor that is accented with chocolate. Combined with the hot chocolate used in the recipe and the steamed milk, it makes for a deep and rich hot coffee drink with dark chocolate accents. It is heavily caffeinated and stronger flavored than a cappuccino.

What is a Latte?

A latte, or café latte, is a coffee drink that contains the same amount of espresso coffee as a mocha, but a much larger amount of milk. It is largely preferred by coffee drinkers who enjoy a smooth finish, and a creamy and diluted coffee flavor.

How to Make a Latte

Again, recipes can vary incredibly but the recipe for a basic café latte is:

  • 2 shots of espresso
  • 5-6 ounces of steamed milk
  • Top with a thin layer of foamed milk
  • (Optional) Syrups or other flavorings

A latte is generally served in a tall eight-ounce cup. Two ounces of espresso are added to the cup, then five to six ounces of steamed milk are added to that. To finish, it is topped with a thin float of foamed milk. If flavors and syrups are used, they are added after the espresso but before the milk.

What Does a Latte Taste Like?

A latte will have a smooth and creamy taste that is lightly coffee-flavored. It is a much lighter way to enjoy espresso, particularly for those who are not fond of the stronger, more robust, and occasionally bitter taste of a mocha. The coffee flavor is retained, simply diluted by the milk.

Mocha vs Latte

The variety of beverages that 2 shots of espresso can create is amazing. Let’s take a look at these two delicious coffee drinks head to head, and find out what makes them unique, and what makes them similar.

Similarities Between a Mocha and a Latte

Both a mocha and a latte are espresso-based coffee drinks. Regardless of what else is done to them before you take the first sip, you must be a fan of the mocha beans and how super dark roasts taste. Both drinks will have a coffee taste that is reflective of that deeper flavor that comes from dark, high-temp roasts.

Difference Between a Latte and a Mocha

While both mochas and lattes are espresso-based, that’s where the similarities end as they each take a wildly different path to completion.

Mochas are going to be a very strongly flavored drink because the coffee is nearly full strength, only being diluted by an ounce of milk. A mocha also has a bit of either hot chocolate or dark chocolate added, which enhances the chocolate and caramel undertones of the espresso.

A latte has the same amount of brewed espresso as a mocha but the 5-6 ounces of milk help dilute that coffee strength. It makes it much creamier and opens it up to appreciation by those who shy away from strong and often bitter coffee drinks.

Final Note

Whether you are looking for a deep rich coffee that is full-flavored and accented with the bite of dark chocolate, or a light and creamy drink that has an airy taste of coffee without being too overwhelming, there is an espresso for you. Perhaps you’ll even enjoy both, just at different times of day, maybe starting the day with a light and bright latte, and bringing it to a warm and comforting close with an after-dinner mocha. There is so much to be enjoyed and appreciated about both drinks!

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