What Does Mocha Taste Like? Plus How to Make Them!

Introduction: What Do Mochas Taste Like?

​A mocha is a delicious coffee drink that contains a rich mocha sauce made from chocolate. This decadent beverage stands apart from other espresso drinks due to its intense chocolate flavor that perfectly balances the strong and slightly bitter coffee flavor of espresso. Coffee lovers and chocolate lovers unite with this popular drink that boasts the perfect balance of coffee and chocolate. A cafe mocha is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth and delight your taste buds with an added boost of caffeine. 

What is a Mocha?

A mocha is an espresso coffee beverage that contains milk and chocolate. Although typically made with dark or milk chocolate sauce, this indulgent drink has many variations that can greatly affect what a mocha tastes like. Some of the different ways to make a mocha, which we will discuss more later in this post, include white mochas and peppermint mochas.

blue-green mug containing a mocha. The mug is sitting on a napkin on a wooden cutting board with cocoa powder sprinkled on the napkin and cutting board.

​Where Does a Mocha Get Its Name?

Café mochas get their name from a type of coffee bean known as mocha beans. These coffee beans come from Yemen and are known for having a rich chocolatey taste. The beans themselves are named for a shipping port in Yemen. This port, which is located on the Red Sea is called the Port of Mocha, which is also spelled “Mokha.” 

Although the typical café mocha that is often served in the United States does not actually contain these mocha coffee means, it is certainly an interesting history as to where the name mocha came from.

What is the Difference Between a Mocha and a Latte?

Mochas and lattes are very similar and many people actually debate whether a mocha is simply a variation of a latte. 

Much like a latte, mochas are espresso-based drinks. Most lattes and mochas contain either a single or double shot of espresso. Steamed milk and milk foam are then added to the shots of espresso, creating a creamy coffee beverage. The only difference between a latte and a mocha is that mochas contain added chocolate. In fact, a mocha is often referred to as a mocha latte. 

How are Mochas Made?

To make a mocha, start by adding 1 oz of chocolate sauce to an empty 12 oz mug or cup. 

Next, brew an espresso shot in an espresso machine. You can also make a double depending on how strong you like your coffee. 

In a milk carafe, use a steam wand to steam 6 oz of milk. The volume will increase by about 1/3 as it is steamed. 

Add the espresso to the cup containing chocolate and give it a little stir. 

Pour the steamed milk over the espresso and chocolate mixture. 

You can top your mocha cocoa powder, whipped cream, chocolate shavings or a drizzle of chocolate syrup if desired. 

There is a blue sitting under the spout dispenser for a silver espresso machine. There is espresso pouring from the spouts into the cup.

How Much Caffeine is in a Mocha? 

A mocha has slightly more caffeine than latte due to the small amount of caffeine in chocolate. A 12 oz mocha with a single shot of espresso and 1 oz of chocolate syrup contains about 70 mg of caffeine. 

What Type of Coffee is Best for Mochas?

There is no single best type of coffee to use in a mocha. However, most medium to dark roast types of coffee beans work well in mochas because their stronger, more intense flavor is able to stand up against the rich, intense flavor of chocolate. 

For white mochas, try using light or blonde roasts of coffee. Lighter roasts of coffee have a milder flavor and therefore work well with the delicate white mocha flavor. 

What Type of Milk is Best for Mochas?

Most coffee shops use whole milk for mochas, but they often offer alternatives such as 2%, skim, or dairy alternatives. 

Two hands are holding a silver milk carafe. In side the carafe, there is milk that is being frothed with a steam wand.

What Non-Dairy Milks Taste Best in Mochas?

Nowadays, the options are endless when it comes to non-dairy milks. Gone are the days when the only alternative was soy milk. Now you can find non-dairy milks made from peas, bananas, macadamia nuts, and even cabbage! 

That being said, most coffee shops offer only a few options for non-dairy milks. The most common are soy milk, oat milk, almond milk, and coconut milk. 

In my experience, soy milk produces the best milk foam, and oat milk tastes the best. 

What Type of Chocolate Tastes Best in Mochas? 

There are several different types of chocolate that can be used in a mocha. 

  • Dark
  • Milk
  • White
  • Cocoa Powder
There is a dark chocolate bar that has been partially chopped into small pieces at the front end of the bar. This is laying on a white-gray background.

White chocolate is best for those who do not enjoy a very rich chocolate flavour. On the other hand, if you love chocolate and are not afraid of strong flavors, dark chocolate is the best option. 

If you are staying away from dairy, you can still have a mocha. Opt for non-dairy milk and see if the dark chocolate sauce has any milk in it. Dark chocolate typically has less milk than other varieties of chocolate, but they are not always completely free from dairy. Stay away from white chocolate and milk chocolate sauces though, as these both contain milk. 

Best Variations of Mochas

Iced Mocha:

To make an iced mocha, mix espresso with your regular or white chocolate syrup in a glass. Then, add several ice cubes and pour milk or your favorite milk substitute over the mixture. 

White Mocha:

White mochas are made the same way as a regular mocha, however they use white chocolate sauce instead. 

Peppermint Mocha:

Peppermint mochas are made by adding a little bit of peppermint syrup to a traditional mocha or a white chocolate mocha. This is a great flavor of mocha to have during the Christmas season. 

Salted Caramel Mocha:

Salted caramel mochas can be made by adding caramel sauce and a pinch of sea salt to a regular mocha. 

Easy Mocha with Hot Chocolate Mix:

If you want to make an easy variation of a caffe mocha, you can make a cup of hot cocoa but substitute some strong black coffee for some of the liquid. Hot chocolate powder mixes usually give the option to use either hot water or hot milk to make the beverage. I recommend using hot milk as this will result in a creamier drink that is more similar to a traditional caffè mocha. 

What is the Difference Between a Regular Mocha and a White Chocolate Mocha?

Regular mochas are typically made with either dark chocolate or milk chocolate. Most of the time, the chocolate is added in the form of a syrup, but occasionally, they are made by melting chocolate directly into the milk, or by adding cocoa powder and sugar. 

​White mochas are made the same way as a milk or dark chocolate mocha, but use white chocolate syrup instead. 

There is a stack of pieces of a white chocolate bar in the center. On the ground around the white chocolate, there are several scattered whole almonds.

What Does a White Mocha Taste Like? 

White mochas taste quite difference from a regular mocha drink. White chocolate has a different flavor than milk or dark chocolate because it lacks a part of the cocoa bean known as the cocoa solids. This part of the bean gives chocolate its brown color and distinct rich, slightly bitter taste. White chocolate is made only from the cocoa butter and therefore has a rich buttery texture. White chocolate also contains milk and sugar and is sweeter and creamier than dark chocolate. 

Can I Make a Mocha in a Regular Coffee Machine?

Traditional mochas require espresso as their coffee base, so you need an espresso machine to make a true mocha. However, if you do not have an espresso machine, you can still make a mocha-like coffee that will satisfy your chocolate craving. 

To do so, brew a strong cup of coffee in your regular coffee machine. Then, add some whole milk or half and half to your cup, along with a chocolate syrup of your choice. This will produce a delicious, chocolatey cup of coffee that tastes similar to a mocha with espresso. 

Best Espresso Machines for Mochas

​Espresso machines are known for being pricey but fortunately, there are great options at every budget. 

Best budget espresso machine:

De’Longhi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine, Latte & Cappuccino Maker

Best Easy Espresso Machine: 

Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville with Milk Frother

Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine:

Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine

Best Mid-Tier SuperAutomatic Espresso Machine: 

PHILIPS 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine – LatteGo Milk Frother


As you now know, mochas are a delicious espresso-based beverage that are sure to indulge your chocolate cravings. A good mocha should taste strongly of coffee but is balanced by the rich flavor of chocolate. There are many variations of mochas which will have a huge impact on its flavor. 

I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know in the comments what your favorite type of mocha is!

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