Mocha vs. Latte: Taste, Quality, How to Make

There are lots of espresso-based drinks that you can order from a typical coffee shop, and while the variety is a good thing, sometimes it can make things quite confusing.

This huge variety also makes it hard to pick just one, and this is more so when it comes to delicious brews like mocha and latte.

Like most other espresso-based beverages, both have milk and espresso as the base ingredients, but the other ingredients differ. Also, the ratio of the components is different which means that the taste also differs greatly.

But, you do not need to be a highly skilled barista or a coffee aficionado with decades of brewing experience to tell the two apart. In this piece, we highlight the key difference between mocha and latte to add to your coffee knowledge and make it easier for you to choose one.

Comparison Chart

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Mocha

Latte

Origin

American

Italy

Recipe

Espresso, steamed milk, chocolate syrup, whipped cream

Espresso, steamed milk, foamed milk

How it is Made

Pull 2 shots of espresso, add 2 oz chocolate then 1 oz steamed milk and finish with whipped cream topping

Extract 1-2 espresso shots, add 6-8 oz steamed milk and finish with 1 cm foamed milk topping

Common Brew Sizes

12 and 16 oz

 8 and 12 oz

How to Serve it

In glass

In glass/ceramic cup

Flavor

Sweet

Mild

Caloric Intake

Around 300 calories

130-290 calories

Mocha vs. Latte

Most coffee aficionados already know what to order between mocha and latte depending on their moods as they are quite different drinks.

The same cannot be said for the occasional coffee drinkers. And if you are one of them, here are some important things to keep in mind to ensure you can easily know which one to order.

1. Overview and Origin

Despite the mocha and latte being the two coffee-based drinks that most peoples are likely to order in a coffee shop, few know their origins or even what they are all about. If you are a true coffee aficionado or aspiring to be one, it is worth knowing what these beverages are all about.

Cafe Mocha

Cafe Mocha

The cafe mocha or mochaccino as it is also referred to in Italian is a chocolate-flavored espresso-based beverage. In its most basic definition, it is a latte with chocolate or hot chocolate with a shot of espresso.

Mocha gets its name from Mocha, Yemen where most of the coffee beans used to make it originally came from. But, despite its name the beverage is more American given that it was developed and continues to be more popular in the USA.

Besides the addition of chocolate, another thing that sets mocha apart from latte is that the recipe includes whipped cream at the top instead of foamed milk.

Cafe Latte

Cafe Latte

A latte is a classic Italian coffee-based brew that has been around for centuries and has transformed greatly from a simple mixture of Moka pot coffee and hot milk to the fancy drink it is today.

Its cafe latte name comes from this Italian recipe of mixing coffee with milk and it literally translates to coffee with milk.

Besides steamed milk, the modern day lattes will also contain about 1 centimeter of foamed milk at the top and baristas will finish it off with some fancy artwork.

2. How it is Made

Knowing how to make mocha or latte is the most important part for most coffee lovers. And this is more so for those that prefer to make their beverages at home and would want to get something that is as close as possible to what the coffee shops offer.

How to Make Mocha

Mocha incorporates different ingredients that will pamper your taste buds especially if you have a sweet tooth. Making it is quite straightforward and you will need to follow the steps below.

Step 1: Pull 2 shots of espresso into a glass

Step 2: Add about 2 oz of hot chocolate

Step 3: Pour in 1 oz of steamed milk

Step 4: Top up with some whipped cream (quantity often depends on your preferences)

How to Make Latte

Latte is one of the easiest coffee-based beverages to make provided you have an espresso maker and milk steamer. And here are the simple steps to follow.

Step 1: Extract 1 or 2 shots of espresso into a glass/ceramic cup

Step 2: Add 6 to 8 oz steamed milk

Step 3: Top it with 1 cm foamed milk

Step 4: Finish with a fancy artwork to make it more interesting

3. Typical Brew Sizes

With the ever-changing coffee drinkers' tastes and preferences, cafes and coffee shops have been adjusting their coffee brew sizes to suit new customers' needs.

The USA is a good example of this because more and more coffee beverages are breaking away from the traditional standard brew sizes to larger brew sizes to meet consumer needs.

A standard cup of mocha should be around 5 ounces without taking the whipped cream into account but in many coffee shops in the USA, the common brew sizes are 12, 16 and 20 oz.

For the lattes, the standard brew size is 8 oz, but like the mocha, other larger sizes like 10 and 12 oz seem to be more popular with the masses.

4. Ideal Beverage Ratios

One cannot overemphasize the importance of getting your beverage ratios right when making any espresso-based beverage.

Unless you are making your own unique mocha or latte recipe failure to follow the beverage ratio will affect the taste and quality of the resulting beverage greatly.

Both mocha and latte have some simple ratios to master, and so it hard to mess things up. For mocha, the ideal beverage ratio is 2/5 espresso, 2/5 chocolate, and 1/5 steamed milk. The quantity of whipped cream depends on your preferences.

When making a latte, the ideal ration will be 1/6 espresso, 4/6 steamed milk, and 1/6 foamed milk. Given the ratio, a latte is a more milk-based drink with little coffee.

5. Serving Method

How you serve your coffee is as important as making sure you make it properly. For most coffee aficionados, a beverage has to both look and taste good.

The serving method for both mocha and latte will vary from one country to the other. But, in many places, mocha is typically served in a glass and will also include a sprinkle of chocolate powder or cinnamon at the top.

Latte, on the other hand, is also traditionally served in a tall glass to showcase its distinct layers. But, many coffee shops in the USA can either serve it in a glass or a small ceramic cup.

6. Caloric Intake

Almost everyone is conscious about the number of calories that they take in. Hence, when picking between mocha and latte, the number of calories in either drink can come into play.

Depending on the types and amount of milk that you use to make your mocha, you can get anywhere between 130-290 calories in a standard size cup of latte.

Mochas, on the other hand, will have slightly more calories than lattes, but this also depends on what you add to the beverage. However, on average you should expect to take in at least 300 calories from one glass of mocha.

7.  Their Other Variations

Both mocha and latte have different variations which have developed over the years as coffee lovers try to spice up their beverages or come up with something new.

For mocha, the most common variations will entail a booze-up. The Italians will prefer to booze-up their mochas with sambuca but you can still use, cognac, baileys cream or even coffee liquor depending on what will take your drink further.

With latte, you can take your drink a notch higher by adding a sweet syrup if you have a sweet tooth or adding a small amount of chocolate syrup to make mocha latte which should not be confused with a traditional mocha.

Also, you can add other flavorings like vanilla and hazelnut to lattes or make piccolo latte with a higher espresso to milk ratio.

8. Beverage Taste and Flavor

Mocha is the beverage for you if you have a sweet tooth because the presence of lots of hot chocolate, whipped cream, and given that most baristas will also dash some chocolate or cinnamon over the cream.

With mocha, you will hardly feel that bold and strong taste of espresso, and so it might not give you the caffeine kick you need.

Lattes are also milder, and this is more so when compared to other espresso-based beverages like cappuccino. Its milder flavor comes from the presence of a lot of steamed milk. But, despite being almost sweet, it still has a stronger espresso taste than mocha.

Which One is Better?

The choice between mocha and latte is more obvious compared to others like for example picking between cappuccino and latte since the beverages are quite different in taste.

If you have a sweet tooth or are one of those coffee lovers that also love hot chocolate, mocha is the perfect beverage for you. But, if you want something less sweet but still way milder than a shot of espresso, a latte is it.

Given that both are quite easy to make at home, you should make and try both several times to identify which one you like most and what suits certain moods or times.