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Mocha Recipe Guide: Espresso And Chocolate And Milk – Oh My!

what is a mocha. how to make a mocha at home. mocha recipe guide

Ah. Mocha. Chocolaty mug of heaven. Ask any coffee lover which flavor combination they like the most. And they’ll likely answer “chocolate and coffee.”

Chocolate and coffee are match-made in heaven. The sweet smoothness of chocolate paired with the warmth and bitterness of espresso creates a creamy, chocolaty treat that makes every coffee lover’s mouth water.

What is the mocha? What’s In a Name? Who Invented the Mocha? How to make a delicious mocha at home? Which coffee should you use in a mocha? What kind of chocolate do you put in mocha? What is the best milk for your mocha?

You have questions. We have answers.

This mocha recipe guide is all you need to know about this delicious espresso and chocolate combo.

What Is A Mocha?

What exactly is this drink, then? To simply put, the mocha is short for a “Mocha latte” or a “Caffe mocha,” which is brewed with espresso, steamed milk, and delicious chocolate syrup or sauce on top. It’s basically a chocolate latte!

The Mocha is a delicious chocolate-flavored espresso drink that makes coffee’s bitter and earthy flavors noticeable with a touch of sweetness. The creaminess of the steamed milk and the whipped cream adds to the powerful chocolate and coffee flavor combination.

In the 1980s, the mocha rose to popularity in America as part of Starbucks’ culture. One of the main attractions for many coffee aficionados is that lattes are able to be customized, and the mocha is an excellent illustration of that. The amount of its components, as well as the type of chocolate—such as chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, or a hot chocolate mix—varies considerably. Some coffee shops offer iced mocha lattes and mochaccinos (a cappuccino with added chocolate), while others serve white mochas (made with white chocolate). The mocha latte is one of the most popular varieties.

what is a mocha & how to make a mocha at home - mocha recipe guide

Legend Of The Mocha: The History

The mocha has taken the world by storm and is now sipping in popularity everywhere. The term “mocha” came to be widely used as a shortening for “cafe mocha,” just like the name “latte” was used as a shortened reference for “cafe latte.” Let’s discuss how this beautiful chocolaty creation first reached us.

Originally, the term “mocha” came from a place in Yemen called Mocha City or Al Moka. This port city was well-known for its exportation of particular high-quality Arabica coffee beans. These Yemeni coffee beans known as ‘mocha beans’ had earthy and “chocolatey” undertones compared to stronger floral and fruitier flavor profiles of their Arabica cousins. It is said that the mocha drink, like Mocha beans, took its name in honor of this city. However, Mocha’s connection with the chocolatey drink we know and love today is a little more ambiguous. The port of Al Moka is long gone and the city is now composed of the ruins of a once-great civilization.

Instead, Bicerin, a Turin coffee drink, is said to be the inspiration for it. The Bicerin is a native hot coffee beverage that dates back to the early 1700s when Caffè al Bicerin opened in Italy. The espresso, milk, and chocolate are carefully positioned on top of one another, as opposed to the mocha, which involves mixing these three ingredients. The Bicerin is known as the predecessor of the modern-day mocha latte.

From the Bicerin, we can trace the drink’s popularity across Europe and to the Americas, where it began as a variant of the classic “caffe latte.” Although Seattle’s coffee scene was revolutionized in the 1980s with the introduction of the caffe latte, which became known as a latte in American culture, the mocha did not lag far behind. The melding of coffee and chocolate flavors into mocha (and sometimes, mochaccino) quickly gained popularity around the globe and encircled its chocolatey embrace around our hearts.

mocha recipe guide: history of mocha

Making The Mocha

If you own an espresso machine, it will be super easy (and less expensive) to prepare your own beautifully chocolatey and rich mocha at home. A caffè mocha is an a little more free-form drink, so there’s no “definitive” mocha recipe. 

Start with espresso

The espresso is the first element in a mocha! Technically, you may use very strong coffee in this drink because mochas are more free-form. However, the true mocha contains espresso!

mocha recipe guide: coffee beans
mocha recipe guide: pulling a great shot of espreso for mocha

Can You Make a Mocha Without an Espresso Machine? Yes, there are a surprising number of ways you can craft a kinda-sorta espresso shot that doesn’t involve espresso machines.

The milk to use for a mocha

The other primary component of mocha is milk! A general rule of thumb in choosing your milk is: the richness of a cup of coffee is determined by how fatty the milk is. The creamier and richer a cup of coffee tastes, the more fat there is in it. This makes the “whole milk” the best milk for a mocha. It froths the best with an ideal balance of taste and texture at about 3-4% fat content to produce smooth microfoam without being too creamy.. Alternatively, you may use 2% milk. It also works great, but you sacrifice a bit of the richness.

What about vegan mocha? Oat milk is the way to go. Oat milk froths up well, just like dairy milk. Oat milk is ideal for mocha because it has a greater richness and creaminess than other non-dairy milk.

The last and most important step is to use the freshest milk possible! When milk is near its expiration date, it does not foam as well.

mocha recipe guide: what is a mocha and how to make a mocha. milk to use for mocha

How to Steam Milk for a Mocha: With an Espresso Machine

When it comes to frothing milk for your foamy mocha, that’s when things start to get a little dicey. If you already have an espresso machine with a steam wand, it will make the job easier. Technically, a steam wand will steam your milk rather than frothing it. Frothing yields a slightly different texture in the bubbles than steaming. Nonetheless, both produce a very enjoyable textured foam. Let’s look at how to steam milk for a mocha with an espresso machine:

  • Pour the milk in your frothing pitcher, just below the spout.
  • Purge the steam wand and then place it just below the surface of the milk.
  • Engage the steam output dial and start frothing. Once the mixture doubles in size, turn it off. Temperature of the milk should be around 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit.
best milk frothing pitchers - using steam wand to steam milk for your coffee drink

How to Froth Milk for a Mocha (cheater method!)

A good espresso maker with a steam wand can be a worthwhile investment if you’re someone who wants to enjoy Caffe mocha more often. However, if you don’t have one, there is no need to fret. There are still a few options to froth milk, depending on what you already have in your home.

steaming milk with french press

Chocolate Choices for Mocha

Espresso and chocolate are a classic combination. The sweetness of the chocolate balances the bitterness of the espresso in the mocha. 

In this mocha recipe, we will be using chocolate syrup. Traditionally, cocoa powder and chocolate syrup are used to flavor mocha. Some prefer cocoa powder over chocolate syrup due to its true cocoa taste. Alternatively, you can mix flaked chocolate or chocolate chips into your espresso for a richer mocha. You can also use instant hot chocolate packets; however, the taste will be much sweeter than a typical mocha.

Dark, white, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate? Unsweetened, hazelnut, or mint chocolate? It totally depends on you! All of these can be used in your mocha as long as you give them a good stir and time to melt into your espresso.

mocha recipe guide: chocolate choices for mocha

How to Make a Mocha

If you know how to make a latte in general, making a modern-day mocha would be relatively simple for you. The only exception is that the Caffe mocha includes chocolate syrup instead of the caffe latte, which doesn’t.

Here’s how to make a mocha at home!


  • 17 g espresso beans (preferably dark roast)
  • 8 ounces whole milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate sauce
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Steps To Make:

Step One: Gather Ingredients

Start with gathering your ingredients. Grind about 17 grams of espresso beans (preferably dark roast). Pour the chocolate syrup into a large mug or latte cup.

Step Two: Make Your Espresso

Pull two shots of espresso into the latte cup containing the chocolate syrup. After you’ve extracted your espresso, thoroughly stir to blend the flavors together.

mocha recipe guide: pulling a espresso shot

Step Three: Steam Your Milk

Pour about 8 ounces of milk into a milk frothing pitcher. Place the steam wand near the center of the frothing pitcher. Turn it on and slowly lower the frothing pitcher down until the steam wand is 1-½ inch from the surface of the milk. After holding it there for about three seconds, bring the steam wand back into the bottom of the milk frothing pitcher. Continue steaming the milk until the temperature of the milk reaches about 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit or when the outside of the pitcher is a little too hot to the touch.

Step Four: Pour

After steaming the milk, pour it into the chocolaty espresso. Spoon the creamy milk foam on top for a smooth, slightly velvety texture. 

mocha recipe - pouring milk in mocha

Step Five: Serve

Pour the steamed milk into the chocolaty espresso. Then serve with whipped cream, chocolate shavings or sprinkles, on top and enjoy!

Just remember: Nothing you can read will train you to make a good mocha coffee more than training your palate by tasting, tasting, tasting, and experimenting, experimenting, experimenting.

mocha recipe guide: how to make a mocha at home

5 Fun Facts About Mocha

  1. The National Mocha Day is on September 29th.
  2. Mochas are just chocolate-flavored lattes.
  3. If you order a mocha in Italy, you will get a glass of chocolate milk.
  4. The word “mocha” refers to both a coffee bean and a chocolate espresso beverage.
  5. Caffe mocha was invented by the Ottoman Turks in the 1500s.

Last Words On Mocha

That’s all there is to it! You can now enjoy a mocha at home. While experimenting with a mocha at home, put your own spin on this delicious chocolate-flavored espresso drink and find your own signature style.

This drink is ideal for people who want a little kick of espresso while still getting plenty of milk in their cup of coffee. So, if you have a strong sweet tooth and just love sipping on your cup of coffee since it’s so delicious, then give the mocha a try the next time you need some caffeine.

Happy caffeinating!

what is a mocha -mocha recipe - how to make a mocha at home

Mocha Recipe: How to Make a Mocha At Home

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 230 kcal


  • 17 g espresso beans (preferably dark roast)
  • 8 ounces whole milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate sauce
  • Whipped cream (optional)


  • Grind the espresso beans. Pour chocolate syrup into the latte cup or mug.
  • Pull two shots of espresso over the chocolate syrup. Stir to blend them together.
  • Steam 8 ounces of milk to about 150-160°F using the steaming wand.
  • Pour the steamed milk into the espresso-chocolate mixture, using a spoon to hold back the foam.
  • Lastly, garnish your drink with chocolate shavings, whipped cream, sprinkles, cinnamon, etc. Enjoy!
Keyword caffe mocha, mocha, mocha latte, mocha recipe

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