What Is 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 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 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 difference between a Latte and a Mocha – delicious chocolate is added to one!
What Is A Latte?
A latte is 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 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 equivalents.
- 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 (attendants) with plates of churros.
- In Italy, a caffe latte simply means “coffee with milk”.
It is impossible to pinpoint when the term first started being used. However, lattes did make their 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 a 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 the foam topping.
Essentially, the difference between a latte and a mocha is that 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 it 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. 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, it 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 these two well-loved beverages.
Make The Espresso For Your Latte And Mocha Coffee
Espresso is the base for both lattes and mochas. There is no difference between a latte and a mocha when it comes to the expresso ingredient.
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 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 overextraction. This will create unfavorable bitterness.
What Milk Is Used For Making Latte And Mocha Coffees?
When making latte and mocha coffees, both frothed and steamed milk are used. For this ingredient there is no difference between a latte and a mocha.
While both are heated, steamed milk is hotter and heavier than frothed milk. Frothed milk has more (and larger) air bubbles incorporated into 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 is much lighter.
Frothed milk is made by incorporating more air into steamed milk. This is done 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 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 be added 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 creating the signature foamy topping on both lattes and mochas.
There are several methods for 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 for creating 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 stovetop.
- 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 with 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
This is the major difference between a latte and a mocha.
There are a number of ways to add chocolate to 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 it 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 it in the refrigerator.
When making your chocolate coffee, place the chocolate syrup in the cup first before adding the espresso.
Additional Chocolate Flavoring Options Include:
Other ways to influence the difference between a latte and a mocha:
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.
Melt a few pieces of chocolate in hot milk. Let it stand for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to soften. Then stir to incorporate the chocolate into 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 to make the difference between a latte and a mocha even wider. These options 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.
- 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 coffee drink taste really good.
Final Thoughts On What Is The Difference Between A Latte and A Mocha
Lattes and mochas are very popular, and it’s not difficult to see why!
Is there a big difference between latte and mocha drinks?
Latte vs Mocha
Which one will be your favorite?
Let us recap the difference between a latte and a mocha.
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.
Therefore, chocolate is the mocha and latte difference.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it called a mocha?
Originally, the word mocha was not associated with coffee or chocolate in any way. It came into being when the coffee beans originating from the port of Al Mokha in Yemen were named after where they came from. Mocha coffee beans are used in making the espresso part of the drink.
What is the difference between a latte and a mocha?
The basic components of these drinks are exactly the same, except a mocha has chocolate as an extra ingredient. Mocha has a ratio of one part espresso, one part steamed milk, one part chocolate, and one part foam.
Which is healthier, a latte or a mocha?
Both drinks are milky, but the mocha definitely has more calories and carbohydrates with the addition of chocolate in its recipe.
Which is sweeter, latte or mocha?
Mocha coffee is sweeter than a latte. A mocha has added chocolate (either cocoa or a chocolate-flavored syrup) as an ingredient that would increase the sugar content.
Does a mocha have coffee in it?
Coffee, generally espresso, is included in the mocha recipe. It is not a chocolate drink but rather a coffee drink that has an added chocolate flavor.