The Difference Between A Latte And A Mocha Coffee
We explain the single difference between a latte and a mocha and the taste variation between these two delicious coffees.
Popular at coffee shops, cafes, and in coffee-lovers kitchens, lattes and mochas are very similar, and share their principal ingredients.
So What Is The Only Difference Between A Latte And A Mocha Coffee?
They are both espresso-based drinks, topped up with hot milk to create a rich and creamy hot, caffeinated beverage!
There are, however, a few differences in the ingredients. The ratio of the components and how they are combined are also a little different.
We can tell you the principal mocha and latte difference – delicious chocolate is added to one!
What Is A Latte?
A latte, one of the most popular coffees out there.
It is made up of a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and a creamy layer of milk foam at the top of the cup.
The hot milk adds a smooth and velvety texture to the coffee, and the flavor of the coffee really shines.
It is important to choose a coffee that will stand up to the addition of the milk, and be enhanced by its natural sweetness.
How Is A Latte Made?
The ideal latte ratio is 1:1:1.
One third espresso, one third steamed milk and one third frothed milk.
- To make the perfect latte, first, a shot of espresso is served in a larger ceramic cup, often known as a “latte cup”.
- This cup has a rounded, bowl-like shape with a narrow base. It opens up to a wide mouth, allowing for a large surface area for the foam at the top.
- Ideally, the espresso should take up one-third of the cup.
- The next 1/3 of the cup should be filled with freshly steamed milk. Lastly, the remainder of the cup should be filled with frothed milk or milk foam.
- Usually, the final pour of the milk foam is gently mixed with the espresso below by slightly tilting the cup.
Baristas and aficionados alike have perfected a form of latte art. They create designs by combining the dark coffee and the white foam to create a pattern.
The History Of The Latte
The word “latte” means milk in Italian.
Many European cultures have their own equivalent.
- In France, café au lait is often ordered in street-side cafes and served alongside a crusty croissant.
- In Spain, café con leche is brought out by mozos together with plates of churros piled high.
- In Italy, a caffe latte simply means “coffee with milk”.
It is impossible to pinpoint when the term first started being used. Latte did make its popular debut in coffee shops throughout the United States in the 1980s.
Nowadays we often use the term “latte” to describe any beverage, hot or iced, that is served with added milk.
Common coffee shop examples include:
- spicy chai lattes
- matcha lattes
- or even golden lattes made with turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties
What Is A Mocha?
So what’s in a mocha?
Mocha is the blend of strong coffee and chocolate in equal parts, topped with steamed milk and a layer of milk foam.
Sound decadent enough for you?
Mocha vs latte – the ideal ratio is 1:1:1:1 for a mocha.
It is the perfect combination of strong, bitter coffee with rich, sweet chocolate and creamy milk with a foam topping.
Essentially, a mocha is a latte where a percentage of the milk has been replaced by chocolate.
Encompassing all the goodness of coffee, with added sweetness and a chocolate flavor, this is a favorite for many.
How Is Mocha Made?
To make the perfect mocha
- Start by adding the chocolate to the cup. The chocolate syrup or cocoa/sugar/water mix should take up ¼ of the cup.
- Pour in the espresso and mix well.
- The remaining half of the cup should be filled with equal parts steamed milk and frothed milk.
This drink will already be quite sweet due to the chocolate but can be sweetened to taste.
The History Of The Mocha
Interestingly, the term “mocha” initially had little to do with the rich, sweetened hot-chocolate beverage that we associate it with today.
Al Moka was a Yemeni port where the mocha coffee bean was exported from. In all probability, this is how the name came into being.
The popular coffee bean is a variety of Arabica coffee grown in the region. This bean became famous for its deep, chocolatey flavor.
Until recently, “mocha” was a synonym for coffee, rather than the coffee/chocolate combination that we automatically think of nowadays. When exactly this change occurred, is hard to identify. Most attribute it to the Italian influence.
Due to the popularity of European coffee shops and hot chocolate, it is only natural that experimentation would lead to the combination of two well-loved beverages.
Make The Espresso For Your Latte And Mocha Coffee
Espresso is the base for both latte and mocha coffees.
The flavor of the espresso will be diluted by adding milk – and chocolate in the case of the mocha. Therefore, it is a good idea to choose a bean that ensures a stronger, well-defined coffee flavor.
A medium-dark to dark roasted bean will be best in this case. Dark roasted beans also tend to have a higher percentage of oil.
The perfect espresso has a golden hue to the frothy layer that forms on top when the espresso is first pulled. This is known as “crema”.
It is caused by the intense reaction of air bubbles reacting with the natural oils of the coffee. Using a finely ground coffee will increase the likelihood of getting the perfect crema.
It is important to allow the coffee to brew sufficiently long enough to extract as much of the rich coffee flavor as possible.
Be careful not to reach the point of over-extraction. This will create an unfavorable bitterness.
What Milk Is Used For Making Latte And Mocha Coffees?
When making latte and mocha coffees, both frothed and steamed milk is used.
While both are heated, steamed milk is hotter and heavier than frothed milk. Frothed milk has more (and larger) air bubbles incorporated in it.
For coffee lovers who are:
- lactose intolerant
- or simply prefer alternatives to dairy milk
plant-based milk is becoming increasingly popular.
The luscious, creamy texture of oat milk is a particular favorite among baristas.
Other common varieties include soy, almond, coconut, and hazelnut milk. These options are often considered to be more sustainable and cruelty-free.
It is important to note, however, that using a milk alternative will also change the flavor profile of the coffee.
What Is The Difference Between Steamed Milk And Frothed Milk?
The main difference between steamed milk and frothed milk is that frothed milk has much larger air bubbles and it is much lighter.
Frothed milk is made by incorporating more air into steamed milk by vigorously whisking or shaking the milk.
At home, it is much easier to make frothed milk than steamed milk. The addition of frothed milk to home-made coffee beverages elevates them to another level – both in taste and texture!
How To Make Steamed Milk
To make steamed milk you can use a variety of techniques:
Commercially, the most common method of making steamed milk is to use the steam wand on the coffee machine. However, at home, it is possible to make steamed milk on the stove or in the microwave.
- It is important to start the process with cold milk. Avoid heating the milk too quickly or overheating it.
- The milk should not boil but should reach a temperature of between 60-70°C.
- The aim is to create thick, velvety milk that has a glossy finish, similar to white paint.
- Add the cold milk to a small pot
- Heat slowly over a low heat. Do not put a lid on the pot.
- Do not stir the milk.
- Remove when the milk reaches approximately 60 degrees C if you have a thermometer. Alternatively, watch the surface of the milk. When microbubbles start forming around the walls of the pot, the milk is ready to add to the cup!
- Pour slowly. If necessary, use a spoon to scoop some of the bubbles into the cup.
How To Make Frothed Milk
Frothed milk is vital to create the signature foamy topping on lattes and mochas.
There are several methods of frothing milk at home.
The simplest option is to do so in the microwave. It is also possible to froth milk using a traditional French press with excellent results. Or use an electric frothing wand.
To make frothed milk in the microwave:
- Add milk to a glass jar. Only ¼ or ⅓ full is ideal to create more bubbles.
- Close the lid tightly on the jar and give it a shake.
- Remove the lid and microwave until hot.
- Pour the frothed milk into the cup, as the final layer. When pouring, the foam tends to stick to the side of the jar but can be spooned out.
To make frothed milk in a french press:
- Heat milk in the microwave or on the stove-top.
- Pour the milk into the jug of the french press.
- Be careful to fill it more than halfway.
- Replace the lid, and gently push down the filter.
- Once the filter has been pushed all the way down, slowly, but firmly, pull it back up. This step is easier to perform using one hand on the lid to ensure that it does not come off.
- Repeat the process of pushing down and pulling up the filter. This motion incorporates air bubbles into the milk.
- The milk will increase in volume and resistance to the movement of the filter will decrease.
- Once the desired consistency is achieved, pour or spoon the milk foam over the coffee and milk.
Frothing wands are also nifty little gadgets that are useful for frothing milk quickly and easily. They are mini battery-operated whisks that incorporate air into previously heated milk.
These milk frothers are not expensive and are a handy tool for coffee aficionados.
Adding Chocolate To Mocha Coffee
There are a number of ways to add chocolate to the coffee.
One of the simplest solutions is to use chocolate syrup.
Chocolate syrups are available commercially but can also be made at home using pantry staples.
Homemade Chocolate Syrup
- Mix ½ cup cocoa, with ½ cup hot water in a small pot and allow to bloom.
- Add 1 cup of sugar and a small pinch of salt
- Heat over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Stir constantly and make sure that all the sugar granules are fully dissolved.
- Reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer for a minute before removing from heat.
- Mix in 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
- Let it cool before storing in the refrigerator.
When making your chocolate coffee place the chocolate syrup in the cup first, before adding the espresso.
Other Chocolate Flavoring Options Include:
Mix one tablespoon of cocoa powder with one tablespoon of sugar (or sweetener of choice) and two tablespoons of water. It is best to use hot water to dissolve the sugar.
If using a liquid sweetener, such as honey or agave syrup, then less liquid can be added.
Melt a few pieces of chocolate in hot milk. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to soften. Then stir to incorporate the chocolate in the hot milk. Or else, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave.
Tips For Different Mocha Flavors
Other ingredients can be added to the mocha. These bring their own individual qualities to the mix.
- Some firm favorites include sprinkling cocoa powder on the milk foam, or adding vanilla.
- Condensed milk or a thick, sweet caramel sauce such as dulce de leche is delicious.
- Honey or maple syrup can be substituted for the sweetener.
- Whipped cream toppings with additional chocolate sprinkles or chocolate chips are tasty. Even toasted nuts can be added, too.
- A shake of cinnamon or using a cinnamon stick to stir adds warmth and a bit of spice. Marshmallows also make a delicious topping!
- Different chocolates, such as milk chocolate or white chocolate, can also be used. These are a great alternative to the chocolate base of the drink.
There are many more coffee flavor additives that you can use to make your drink taste really good.
Lattes And Mochas Are Very Popular And It’s Not Difficult To See Why!
Latte vs mocha – which one will be your favorite?
Lattes are a great way to savor the simple pleasure of drinking a cup of coffee. They allow one to appreciate the full flavor of espresso, without it being too strong or bitter.
A mocha combines the bitter notes of the coffee with the sweetness of the chocolate and the creaminess of the milk. These produce a richer experience, perfect for those coffee lovers with a sweet tooth.