Mocha vs. Latte – What’s The Difference?

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If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a latte and a mocha, then this article is for you. Of course, both drinks are delicious, but a few key differences set them apart. Okay, coffee lovers, let’s take a closer look.

What’s a Mocha?

A mocha, aka a mocha latte, is a sweet espresso drink made with chocolate syrup, steamed milk, and espresso. It’s often topped with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle or sprinkles. Mochas are perfect if you love the flavor of both chocolate and coffee.

a mocha in a ceramic mug
A mocha | Photo by Koushik Pal on Unsplash

The espresso and the chocolate give a mocha its sweet flavor and caffeine, while the milk thickens the texture and balances the acidity of the coffee. Mochas come in various flavors, such as milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate.

Mochas are an incredibly popular drink you shouldn’t have trouble ordering from local coffee shops. You can think of a mocha as a latte with chocolate added or a hot chocolate with espresso added.

Mocha Ingredients:

  • Espresso
  • Steamed, hot milk
  • Chocolate syrup or cocoa powder

What’s a Latte?

A caffè latte is a coffee beverage made with espresso and steamed velvety milk. The espresso gives the drink its intense, sweet bitterness, and the airy milk gives it its light texture. In addition, people often add flavored syrups to their lattes, such as vanilla syrup, cinnamon dolce syrup, or pumpkin spice syrup.

Caffe Latte Ingredients:

  • Espresso
  • Steamed, foamy milk
a barista serving a latte
A latte | Photo by NajlaCam on Unsplash

Mocha vs. Latte: Similarities

Mochas and lattes have a lot in common. First, both drinks’ main ingredients are espresso and steamed milk (which are made using an espresso machine). But what other characteristics do mochas and lattes share? Let’s take a closer look.

1. Both Have Steamed Milk & Espresso

Mochas and lattes are made with the same basic ingredients: espresso shots (doppios) and steamed milk. However, mochas have the addition of chocolate syrup and are sometimes topped with whipped cream. Like lattes, mochas are often served to showcase beautiful latte art.

2. Both have caffeine

A 12-ounce mocha and a 12-ounce latte have almost the same amount of caffeine. Both use a single shot of espresso, which has 64 milligrams of caffeine. But a mocha also has chocolate which bumps up the caffeine content slightly.

3. Both can be served hot or iced

While hot versions of both drinks are popular year-round, iced lattes and iced mochas remain two of the most popular drinks on menus. An iced latte is made by mixing espresso and milk and then pouring over ice. An iced mocha is made by mixing chocolate and espresso with cold milk and then pouring it over ice.

Iced mocha with whipped cream and chocolate syrup
Iced mocha with whipped cream and chocolate syrup | source

Note: Adding hot espresso directly to ice isn’t ideal. For one, it will shock the espresso, causing it to become bitter. Secondly, it melts the ice prematurely. Now you know what to look for when watching your barista make your drink!

To make iced, espresso-based drinks, the shots should be mixed with milk and/or chocolate before adding any ice.

The correct steps to make an iced latte:

  1. Add cold milk to a glass or plastic to-go cup
  2. Pour espresso shots into cold milk and stir
  3. Top off with ice

The correct steps to make an iced mocha:

  1. Add cold milk to a glass or plastic to-go cup
  2. Mix espresso shots with chocolate
  3. Pour mixture into cold milk and stir
  4. Top off with ice

Latte vs Mocha: Differences

The main difference between a mocha and a latte is that a mocha has chocolate syrup. Let’s dive into the details a bit more so that you can choose the right drink.

latte vs. mocha comparison infographic
latte vs. mocha comparison infographic

1. Mochas Have Chocolate

Mochas and lattes are almost identical, except for mochas–which have chocolate sauce added. The chocolate is combined with shots of espresso before the steamed milk is added. Mochas can be topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles or shavings. (Chocolate Sprinkles™ was my wrestling name in Middle school).

2. Mochas have more calories

A caffe mocha has more calories than a latte. This is due to the addition of chocolate syrup in a mocha. For example, citing Starbucks nutrition: a tall 2% latte has 150 calories, and a tall 2% mocha has 290 calories.

Mocha vs. latte calorie comparison:

Size (ounces)LatteMocha
8 (short)100200
12 (tall)150290
16 (grande)190370
20 (venti)250450
Latte vs. mocha calorie info from Starbucks

3. Mochas have less Milk foam

A mocha is typically made with less foamy milk, and a latte is often “free-poured,” which means a skilled barista will pour milk directly into the cup without holding back the foam.

Note: Certain drinks require different methods of steaming milk. For example, milk for a cappuccino will have many more air bubbles than what’s needed for a caffè mocha. It’s a precise science that has a lot to do with the placement of the steam wand.

4. Mochas Get Whipped Cream

Whipped cream with chocolate drizzle is a popular addition to mochas. People from the United States have quite a sweet tooth and are used to getting whipped cream on their mochas by default. That said, whipped cream is rarely added in other countries. For example, many Europeans believe that espresso should be the star of the show and that adding too much sweetness ruins the taste.

Recap of the Basic Differences & Similarities:

Here’s a summary of the fundamental differences between the two drinks.

  • Mochas are made with chocolate syrup, and lattes aren’t.
  • Mochas have more calories.
  • Mochas have slightly less foam.
  • Mochas are often topped off with whipped cream, while lattes aren’t.
  • Both have caffeine.
  • Both are made with espresso and steamed milk.
  • Both can be made into iced drinks.

FAQ

Which is sweeter, latte or mocha?

A mocha is sweeter because it has chocolate in it. A latte has a slight sweetness from the crema on the espresso, but it’s no match for the sugary chocolate flavor in a mocha.

Is a latte stronger than a mocha?

A mocha contains a slightly higher amount of caffeine than a latte because it has chocolate. The more chocolate that is used in a mocha, the more caffeine it will contain.

Which is better: latte or mocha?

A mocha will likely be a better option if you prefer sweet drinks. If you like espresso, then a latte will likely be a better option.

White Mocha vs. Latte

White chocolate mochas are made with a type of chocolate that is sweeter and less rich than regular chocolate. In contrast, a latte is simply espresso and steamed milk.

What’s the difference between a mocha and an au lait?

An au lait is steamed milk mixed with regular drip coffee. A mocha is steamed milk mixed with espresso and chocolate. So they’re two very different drinks.

Mocha vs. Latte vs. Breve

“Breve” is a fancy name for half-and-half. So a “breve latte” is made with half-and-half instead of whole or non-fat milk. You can ask for a “breve mocha,” – which is also made with half-and-half as the milk.


Thanks a latte for reading! I hope this article was helpful! Here are some additional blog posts that will aid your coffee journey.

Everything I brew, I brew for you.

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