Latte vs Mocha: What’s the Difference?

There’s so many different kinds of coffee out there as well as tons of different types of coffee drinkers! Some coffee lovers like the actual taste of the coffee or espresso while others like to mix things up with each order and try new flavors and drinks.

There’s a very good chance that you’ve heard of both a latte and a mocha before but do you know the difference between the two? Depending on the type of coffee drinker you are, you likely already know the difference between a latte vs mocha but today we’re going to dig into each and learn a bit more about both!

Main Difference Between a Latte vs Mocha

latte in a mug on a marble counter

In case you need the cliff notes version of a latte vs mocha, here you go!! What’s the main difference between a mocha and a latte? A mocha includes chocolate while a latte does not!

Espresso Drink Basics

As we all know, most espresso drinks contain the same 3 main ingredients. Those are espresso, steamed milk and milk foam. The ratio of these and what else is added creates different types of drinks.

A latte and mocha both start with an espresso shot. An espresso shot is made out of coffee beans (just like regular coffee) but it’s made different. Most shots of espresso are made using an espresso machine.

Next is the steamed milk! In most coffee shops you’ll see this being made using a steam wand off of their espresso machine. There are other ways to do this, including milk steam and froth machines that can be used at home.

Finally is the milk foam. This is made from the steam milk. It’s whipped to create air bubbles that will be placed on top of the coffee beverage. Skilled baristas can create latte art out of the foam! It’s one of my favorite things about getting coffee from a skilled barista.

Now let’s chat specifics.

What’s a Latte?

latte

A latte is one of the most simple of of espresso drinks and one of the most popular drinks around!. At its core, a latte is a single or double shot of espresso and steamed milk (typically 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk). It also has a layer of foam on top (unlike the flat white) where you’ll often find latte art. 

A latte is the perfect drink for those who love the taste of espresso but want it toned down just a tad. You’ll still get the flavor of the espresso shot but it won’t be quite as strong as a straight shot of espresso.

Lattes can be customized in a ton of different ways. It can be served as an iced coffee or can be flavored with any type of flavoring.

A latte is also often called a caffe latte or cafe au lait.

History of the Latte

latte sitting on a table

Although people have been drinking a combination of milk and coffee since the 1600s, the first drink we might think as the founding ancestor to the latte comes from Vienna and Trieste in the late 1700s called Kapuziner. They say it comprised of coffee with cream, spices and sugar. 

Fun fact – caffè latte means milk coffee in Italian!

How to Make a Latte

A latte is made up of 1/3 espresso and 2/3 steamed milk with a thin layer of foam on top. In most lattes, this consists of 2 ounces of espresso with 4-6 ounces of milk.

Here’s how to make a latte at home:

  1. Make your espresso
    • Do this with either an espresso machine, espresso maker, Nespresso or Aeropress
  2. Steam your milk
    • For the best latte, use whole milk. For one with less calories, use skim or 1% milk. If you have an espresso machine use that to steam your cold milk. Otherwise use a milk frother or heat it on the stove to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Combine the two!
    • You can simply mix the two together, adding a thin layer of the microfoam on top or attempt to make latte art!

What’s a Mocha?

mocha

Are you a chocolate lover? Than this one is for you! A mocha is similar to a latte (espresso + hot milk), but with chocolate, added via cocoa powder or chocolate syrup. Think of a mocha as a grown-up hot chocolate.

The name derives from Mocha, Yemen, a city that was one of the centers of early coffee trade.

A mocha is also often called a caffè mocha or mocha latte.

History of a Mocha

making a mocha

The mocha coffee originates from the Red Sea coastal town of Mocha, Yemen. It’s from this town that coffee was exported and it had a chocolatey taste to it. It was given the name mocha to describe the addition of chocolate to the coffee!

It became extremely popular in the United States back in the 1980’s thanks to Starbucks!

How to Make a Mocha

A mocha is made up of espresso and steamed milk combined with chocolate and a thin layer of foam on top. Like the latte, this can be customized in a variety of different ways to the type of chocolate you use to the type of milk you choose!

Here’s how to make a mocha at home:

  1. Make your espresso
    • Do this with either an espresso machine, espresso maker, Nespresso or Aeropress
  2. Add chocolate to your mug
    • You can add some chocolate chips, chocolate sauce or chocolate powder (even hot chocolate mix would work! You can also add whatever chocolate flavor you like (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, etc!) to your mug.
  3. Add the espresso to your mug to mix together the chocolate and espresso.
  4. Steam your milk
    • For the best latte, use whole milk. For one with less calories, use skim or 1% milk. If you have an espresso machine use that to steam your milk. Otherwise use a milk frother or heat it on the stove to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Add the milk
    • Add the milk to your chocolatey espresso mixture. Then add a thin layer of the microfoam on top! (If you want it to be extra rich, swap the foam for whipped cream!)

How is a Latte and Mocha Similar?

A latte and mocha are both espresso drinks mixed with warmed milk.

How is a Latte and Mocha Different?

The main difference between a latte and a mocha is that the mocha includes chocolate and a latte doesn’t. The caffeine content is also different – more on that below!

Which is sweeter latte or mocha?

You guessed it! A mocha is sweeter than a latte with its addition of chocolate. If you have a sweet tooth , you’ll likely want to choose a mocha over a latte!

Does a mocha or latte have more caffeine?

The caffeine content can also differ! While the ratio of espresso is the same, the mocha includes chocolate and chocolate naturally has a small amount of caffeine in it!

The darker the chocolate the more caffeine it has. So if you order a dark chocolate mocha you’ll be getting quite a bit more caffeine then if you had a regular latte.

And there you have it! The difference between a latte vs a mocha.

They’re extremely similar drinks with similar ingredients. The biggest difference is that a mocha includes chocolate while a latte doesn’t! So they next time your out at your local coffee shop, try ordering both to compare the two to see which one of these popular coffee drinks you like the best.

Want to learn about more types of coffee? Here’s 19 different types of coffee to know! Or here’s the difference between a latte and an americano and the difference between a latte and a frappe and the differences between a cappuccino and a mocha!

Enjoy!

About bit of cream

Rishi and Jen are the creators behind Bit of Cream. They start each morning with a cup of coffee and are on the hunt to make that simple cup of caffeine better and brighter. Feel free to send them a message or follow along on Instagram!

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