What is Mocha?

What is Mocha?  Well, the quick answer most will give you is that it’s coffee with chocolate.  But, there is actually a little more to it if you want a truly great mocha.

Nowadays, when we walk into a Starbucks for our morning coffee fix, there seems to be a few dozen choices when it comes to what kind of coffee we want.  Some options are “half-caff,” dark roasted, mocha, cappuccino, Frappuccino, espresso, or drip coffee.

And, then there’s what we want with it or on it: whipped cream, half and half, some cocoa powder, or maybe some sprinkled cinnamon on top.

Craving Great Mocha?  This Secret Ingredient does the Trick!



It seems that there’s nothing that we can’t have or add to our morning dose of caffeine.  But, in order to figure out what you want, you have to know what all of those words mean!

Primative mocha

“Primative mocha” by Gregory Bodnar, via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

And believe me, there are some complicated orders I’ve heard at Starbucks before:

“I’ll have a double whip, half-caff Venti® soy latte with a shot of vanilla and extra whipped cream with chocolate sauce please.  Oh, and I’ll have that decaf.”

Coffee seems to have its own unique language when it comes to the ridiculous number of options available to make your perfect mix.

What does all of this mean?

Well the short answer is that there are simply different layers of ingredients in each of these.

For example, a cappuccino is a layer of espresso, a layer of milk, and two layers of foam on top.

A latte is a layer of espresso, two layers of milk, and some foam on top.

An Americano is a layer of espresso and two layers of water.

Sweet Tooth

But, one of the most popular drinks for those with a sweet tooth is mocha. So, what is mocha?

Nice mocha

“Nice mocha” by Kathryn Yengel, via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Mocha is a drink composed of one layer of espresso, a layer of chocolate syrup, a layer of milk, and foam on top.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: isn’t that just a cappuccino with a layer of chocolate syrup in it?

Well, yes and no.

Yes, it is if we’re strictly talking about the layers and the makeup. But, there’s more to it than that.

There are many benefits to drinking Mocha over some of its caffeinated counterparts.

Well, for one thing, IT HAS CHOCOLATE!

If that’s not enough to convince you, though, there’s more.

You can replace the layer of chocolate syrup with the less sugary cocoa powder, which can give you the satisfaction of the rich and chocolaty flavor without the sugar and fat it’s often associated with.

Plus, the cocoa powder is high in anti-oxidant cocoa flavonoids that offer health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, reducing LCL cholesterol, and improving insulin sensitivity.

Need more reasons to choose mocha as your caffeinated morning beverage? Well, it turns out that there are more ways than one to create the highly sought-after mocha right in your very own home.

Using Brewed Coffee

Golden Gate - What is Mocha?

“Golden Gate” by David Goehring, via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

One of the simplest ways to create mocha in the comfort of your home is to brew your coffee fresh from your home coffee maker.

For this method, you will need to brew some coffee using whatever method you usually use: drip coffee maker, French press, pour over, or single-serve coffeemaker.

While your coffee is brewing, you can gather your ingredients:

  • Milk,
  • Cocoa powder or chocolate syrup
  • Sugar to sweeten your coffee
  • Whipped cream

So, if you’re still waiting for your coffee to finish brewing, you can go ahead and steam your milk.

You can use your stove to heat up the milk until it starts to make little bubbles, but before it starts boiling.

Once your coffee is finished brewing, pour it into your mug until it’s between a third and half full.

Now, just prepare your coffee however you usually take it. Add some sugar if you don’t usually take it black.

Don’t forget to wait to add the milk until after the chocolate syrup or cocoa powder.

Now all that’s left to do is assemble the mocha within the coffee mug!

Just add either the cocoa powder or the chocolate syrup to your coffee, and fill the rest of the mug with the steamed milk.

If you like your coffee to look nice and appetizing, try adding some whipped cream to the top, garnish with a sprinkle of cocoa powder, nutmeg, or cinnamon, and enjoy!

Using Espresso

Enjoying my post night mocha :9 Happy marathon to all!

“Enjoying my post night mocha :9 Happy marathon to all!” by Denise Chan, via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The other way to answer the question What is Mocha? is to create this masterpiece in a more authentic way.

That is, it’s the method used by the barista in your neighborhood coffee shop.

This method utilizes the authentic taste of espresso rather than your traditional drip coffee.

In order to use this technique effectively, it’s best to gather your ingredients right off the bat.

You’ll need:

  • Espresso roast
  • Hot water
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • Half a cup of milk
  • Tablespoon of flavored syrup (optional)

Step for Creating that Perfect Mocha

Here is the technique we’ve tried that always leaves us in ecstasy and wanting more.

  1. The first thing you’ll want to do for this technique is create the chocolate flavor.

To do this, simply combine some hot water (about two tablespoons), a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, a tablespoon of sugar, and the pinch of salt right in your mug.

This will create that hearty chocolate flavoring that is so much more satisfying than pouring Hershey’s syrup into your coffee, trust me.

2. Next, you’ll need to brew up some espresso.

You’ll want enough to fill your mug to the halfway point.

3. While the espresso is brewing, steam up your milk.

You will need to do this much the same way as the chocolate technique.

You’ll need to steam the milk by heating up half a cup of milk on the stove until small bubbles form, but before it starts full on boiling.

Once the milk is finished, your espresso should be just about done.

4. Once everything is done cooking, assemble your Mocha.

Add your steamed milk to your chocolate syrup concoction, combine that with your freshly brewed espresso, and top it off with some whipped cream.

5. Enjoy!!

If you’re feeling extra fancy, feel free to add in some flavored syrups, such as caramel, strawberry, or raspberry.

I personally like to garnish my mocha with a sprinkle of cocoa powder, but that’s just me! Once it is completely finished (and looking fabulous), enjoy your morning mocha!

Mocha Was Mokha?

While researching Yemen Coffee Beans, we discovered a little history with regard to the origination of Mocha.

Turns out the term Mocha originally was born from Yemen coffee that was exported from the Yemen port of Mocha (or sometimes spelled Mokha).  Read our article (follow the link above) on Yemen Coffee Beans for more interesting details about the evolution of Mocha.

What is Mocha?  Resolved!!

Now that you have the answer to What is Mocha?, hop on over to this article we wrote on How to Make Homemade Iced Coffee.  I feel like if you savored this post all the way to the bottom, that your knack for a sweet drink is strong.

The Homemade Iced Coffee article has some wonderful suggestions for how to quench that sweet tooth on a hot summer day!!

Craving Great Mocha?  This Secret Ingredient does the Trick!


If your feeling the need for chocolate, but your not in a liquid mood.  Maybe this article about the best Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans is what you’re looking for.

Or, if you prefer, our article on How To Make Cappuccino at Home might be the perfect alternative if you’ve exceeded your sweet tooth budget for the week.

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