What Is a Mocha? And How To Make One

The world of the coffee barista has its own jargon, mostly self-explanatory, like Caramel Latte, but there are some terms that need a bit of explanation, like the word Mocha. 

So, what is a Mocha?

A Mocha is usually coffee with chocolate.

I add the word ‘usually’ because it can also be a specific type of coffee bean. But for most of us when ordering in a café, it is coffee with chocolate.

However it is not quite as simple as spooning cocoa into a cup of Nescafe, so let’s explore this further.

What is a Mocha?

Mocha, pronounced as Moka, has several names. It can be called a Mocha Latte, a Café Mocha, even a Mochaccino. Mocha Latte is probably the most accurate since it is normally a latte with added chocolate.

It can also be a type of bean, grown on Coffea Arabica plants in the mountainous regions of Yemen. It gets the name from the port of Mocha on the Yemeni coast, through which the coffee beans are exported. It has an earthy, deep flavor with a chocolate aftertaste, and this is most dominant in dark roast Mocha beans.

The drink we know as a Mocha was probably developed to recreate this flavor, since the Mocha beans from Yemen are not grown in very great quantities, and their scarcity results in a premium price.

Latte vs Mocha

 The Latte is the most popular way of enjoying coffee in coffee shops and restaurants. It is a shot of espresso with steamed milk and about 2cms of foam on top.

In Europe, it is sometimes served in a special latte bowl, and in other places, it is served in a glass.

Baristas can show off their decorative skills by creating pictures on the top with foamed milk, which we call latte art.

A Mocha Latte, as you may guess from the name, is the same drink but with added chocolate. It can come with whipped cream on top, and often chocolate powder sprinkled over it.

How to make a Mocha

There are no set rules on how to make a Mocha. You can try it with drip or pour-over coffee, or with your French Press. But what could be called ‘the correct way’ is the method that nearly every café uses when a Mocha is ordered.

It starts with a shot of espresso pulled into a cup, mug, glass, or whatever you want.

The chocolate is usually added as a syrup. Powder is not normally used, since this would have to be stirred vigorously to blend it with the coffee, and this would destroy the precious ‘crema’ on the espresso.

The chocolate is always added after the espresso, which makes it easier to blend, and this can be aided by giving the cup a gentle swirl.

Steamed milk is then poured into the coffee and chocolate mixture, topped off with foam, or whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles, and served.

How to make a Mocha with instant coffee

So what do you do when you want to try this sweet coffee variant but you don’t have all the fancy equipment or even ground coffee beans at home?

Well, you can try it with instant coffee.

The simplest and most obvious method is to pour boiling water onto instant coffee granules or powder and then stir in chocolate powder. Then add milk or cream to taste.

A recipe to give a better, richer flavor is to first combine instant coffee, cocoa powder, and a little sugar in a cup. Next, heat some milk on the stove or in a microwave, but be careful to stop just under the boiling point – boiled milk can have a peculiar taste – and blend the milk with the dry ingredients in the cup. 

Stirring vigorously will make it a bit foamy on top, and you can sprinkle it with cocoa powder to give it a ‘barista’ effect.

What is a Mocha Frappe?

If you have never had a frappe, you might think it is just a cold drink. Yes, it is cold, but it is much more than just that.

The word Frappe – pronounced Frappay – comes from the French verb ‘Frapper’, meaning to strike or hit violently. This term is used because the ice in the drink is cracked, smashed, or pulverized in a blender.

There are a number of ways to make a Mocha Frappe, but there are two most popular methods.

The first method can be made at home, even without a blender.

Make a small mixture of hot coffee, sugar, and chocolate powder and stir until smooth. Next, add cold milk to the desired level.

Then you take ice cubes, enough to fill your glass to the top and above. If you don’t have a blender, place the ice in a folded kitchen towel and smack with a rolling pin until all the ice is in small pieces.

Then fill your glass with the ice, pour in the milk, coffee, and chocolate mixture, stir and top with whatever you have on hand: whipped cream, cocoa powder, etc.

In cafes, they are usually made in a blender.

The milk, coffee, and chocolate are placed in a blender with whole ice cubes and blended until just less than completely smooth, so it still has some texture.

In Starbucks this is called a Frappuccino, a name they have licensed to prevent other cafes from using it, but it’s the same drink.

What is White Mocha?

For those who desire something really sweet, they can try a White Mocha. It is made in the same way as a regular Mocha, but instead of chocolate syrup of cocoa powder, it uses white chocolate syrup.

This is an ingredient not readily available for home use, so it is mostly found in cafes and coffee shops.

However, it has a much higher sugar content than regular chocolate syrup and is usually made from sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and sugar.

On average it has twice as much sugar as regular chocolate syrup, so watch out for those extra calories.

What is a Mocha

What is a Mocha drizzle?

Are you getting bored with your plain latte or cappuccino? Do you ever look at your favorite coffee and think, “hmm, looks a little dull”?

Well one way to enliven your drink, is to ask for a Mocha drizzle. This is when the chocolate syrup for Mocha is used in a squeeze bottle, and the barista makes fancy patterns with it on top of your coffee.

Mocha syrup, or Mocha sauce as it is often called, is made from cocoa powder, sugar, and corn syrup. Another interesting way to add Mocha drizzle for iced coffee or iced chocolate is to squeeze the syrup in a spiral around the glass before adding the iced drink.

The only downside is, with that much sugar, it should be a rare treat rather than a daily habit.

Final thoughts on making a Mocha

A Mocha is a delicious coffee drink that can be made at home or in a cafe.

There are many variations, but all include coffee, chocolate, and milk.

A White Mocha is made with white chocolate instead of regular chocolate, while a Mocha drizzle is simply chocolate syrup poured on top of the coffee in a fancy pattern. A Mocha Frappe is A popular variation and is blended with ice for a delicious cold drink.

With so many options, there’s sure to be a perfect Mocha for everyone.

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