What Is Mocha – Definition, History & Easy Recipe

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Amit Ahuja

What is Mocha

Mocha is quite a popular and well-loved term in the world of coffee. A lot of global coffecianados love calling themselves the biggest appreciators of this chocolaty, milk-based coffee-induced beverage. But, the secrets, histories, myths, and legends associated with mocha are not only interesting but awe-inspiring too. Today, we will take you through the amazing story and tell you exactly as What is Mocha – the Darlo of millions of coffee lovers!

Mocha – Looking Back at the Unfolded Pages of the Past

The history of mocha dates back thousands of years. The beverage gained its name over a coastal city in Yemen, which was once used to be considered a famous coffee hub. The port city was located on the southwestern coast of Yemen, which borders the red sea. Britannica (Encyclopedia) says The city’s relation with coffee has been in existence since the 1300s. 

However, the heyday of its trade with Europe started in the 1700s when the European coffee culture emerged. Mocha was amazingly famous as Arabia’s chief coffee exporting center. The Encyclopedia says; for Yemen, coffee was everything.

In the words of businessman Sheikh Shabbir Ezzi – “it’s a gift from our ancestors. You can see how important coffee was for Yemen from the emblem of the country.” Here it’s worth mentioning Yemen’s emblem depicts an eagle holding a scroll with the “Yemeni Republic” written on it in Arabic. The chest of the eagle looks like a shield that depicts a coffee plant.

A few steps further …

Coffee plants need high elevation to thrive, and fortunately, Mocha is surrounded by highlands that meet ideal coffee growing conditions, making the port city a significant export point. The locals named it qahwa, and it’s believed that this term later gave birth to the words coffee and cafe.

The enriched history of mocha consists of a lot of interesting stories. It’s said that in 1400, the Arabian monks started drinking coffee as it would aid in staying awake for their midnight prayers. In the books of author Mark Pendergrast, it’s mentioned that – “While coffee was first considered a medicine or religious aid, it soon enough slipped into everyday use.”

There’s an obvious and well-recognized reason behind the popularity of mocha – in 1436; the Ottoman Turks occupied Yemen. With this, coffee’s popularity reached new heights. With the expansion of the empire, the coffee favoritism among common people also increased vigorously. By the end of the 15th century, Muslim pilgrims started introducing coffee throughout the Islamic world. The Yemeni port of Mocha was the primary export point of the beans, and this is the reason the coffee from that region took on its name. 

Yemeni Port

Mocha in the late 1600s: the crowd of European ships around the port| source: Wikimedia Commons

Gradually, ‘Mocha’ reached Europe, and there it started making strong impressions, which introduced the coffee love of the continent to a new horizon. By late 1600, Europeans’ coffee affection crossed all the boundaries, and they started looking for more improvements in their favorite beverage. As a result of this thirst, Mocha tied the knots with chocolate – another pretty pricey substance of that time. 

Mocha adopted an all-new dark and aromatic nuance, and the coffee buffs of Europe started connecting it to Cocoa. Gradually, Mocha created a global footprint, and talking about the contemporary time, coffee-appreciators from the U.S.A, Russia, Turkey, Italy, and even oriental countries don’t hesitate to flaunt their mocha love.  

What is Mocha?

Well, after going through the engrossing history of Mocha, readers who’ve recently enlisted their names in the happening community of coffee lovers must have started wondering – 

What is mocha? How is it different from a regular cuppa joe?”. Let’s find out the answer now!

Put simply: mocha is the colloquial term for ‘mocha latte’ or ‘Caffe mocha.’ When a generous dose of chocolate syrup is added to a cup of latter, it turns into a mocha. Talking about its ingredients and the size of the drink, a cup of mocha typically contains 1-4 pumps of chocolate syrup, 2-4 shots of espresso, and steamed milk complemented perfectly by the soft touch of little milk foam.

How did the Recipe for Mocha Derive?

We’ve already talked about the history of the name – Mocha. But how did the magical recipe of turning lattes into mouthwatering mochas formulated? Here’s what you must know!

As the modern-day mocha emerged as a classy variant of regular lattes, it’s quite an obvious fact that it somehow has its roots in Latin America. While the caffe latte started to boom by the 1980s, the authentic mocha recipe was introduced soon after. 

Inspired by Bicerin, the native hot beverage, Mocha reached the highest degree of perfectionism with its sweet, creamy, rich, and chocolaty taste. The key difference between Bicerin and the Mocha is – mocha’s rich espresso, milk, and chocolate are carefully layered on top of one another.

How to Distinguish Mocha from the Other Look-alike Coffee Beverages?

Yes, like doppelgangers, Mocha also has a number of look-alikes. Let’s dig deeper and find them out and figure out what makes the mocha distinguishable. 

Mocha vs Cappuccino

Hail from Italy, cappuccinos are typically more robust. They feature a fuller flavor and texture than the mocha. A cup of cappuccino is usually served with a third layer of milk foam, making it exceptionally dense. Besides, it fails to beat the sweetness of mocha. 

Sweet, rich, and chocolatyRobust, less sweet, foamy
Served with a layer of whipped cream and sometimes chocolate shavingsServed with a third layer of milk foam 
Made with espresso, milk, and chocolate syrupMade with espresso and steamed and frothed milk

To make a cup of cappuccino, you need a maximum of 2 shots of espresso, 2 oz. steamed milk and 2 oz. frothed foamy milk for the topping. After adding the espresso shots to your cup, you need to add the steamed milk. When you almost fill your cup, you simply need to top it with the rich, dense milk foam, and your cappuccino is ready to serve!

Mocha vs Macchiato

You can define macchiatos as bold espresso drinks with added steamed milk and foam. Though they are rich, robust, and creamy, they don’t offer a full range of flavor alternatives. On the other hand, Mochas are sweet chocolate and espresso drinks with steamed milk, and they come in an extensive range of flavors like caramel, peppermint & so on. 

Rich, velvety, filled with sweetnessRobust, less sweet
Whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or syrups are used for toppings and servings. Served with a spoon of milk foam 
Comes in various flavorsMade with espresso and steamed and foamed milk, don’t have many flavor options

To make macchiatos, you need freshly ground coffee and cold milk. First, you need to prepare a shot of espresso and steam milk at 160-degree. To create foam, you need to hold the steam wand just beneath the surface. Once done, you need to pour milk into the espresso to taste. Before serving, add a spoon of foam to the top. 

Making macchiatos requires a sound sense of personal ratio, and you need a few rounds of practice to excel in it. 

Mocha vs Latte

As said before, the relationship between latte and mocha is more like that of father & son. Mocha originated from latte; however, both are different in terms of flavor and nuance. While lattes are more espresso-forward and less sweet, Mochas contain chocolate-flavored espresso made with steamed milk and topped with whipped cream and, often, chocolate shavings. 

Focuses more on sweetness and richnessEspresso forward, less sweet
Chocolate shavings and whipped cream go best when it comes to decorating the cupServed with milk foam 
Key Ingredients: espresso, milk, and chocolate syrupMade with espresso and steamed milk

To make a latte, you need espresso-roasted coffee and steamed milk. Once you prepare your espresso shot, pour it into the cup and add frothed milk. Top it with a little foam, and your job is done!

How to Make Mocha

Making mocha will look amazingly easy if you have hands-on latte-making experience. Besides, it’s worth keeping in mind that having an espresso machine handy will help you perform the job with convenience and efficiency. Before you get your hands dirty with brewing, gather all the ingredients. 

What do you need to make a mocha?

The ingredient list required for making a cup of delectable mocha looks like the following:

  • Coffee Beans (16.5 gm)
  • Latte cup (10-12 oz.)
  • Steamed milk (8 oz.)
  • Whipped cream, chocolate syrup
  • Chocolate shavings (optional)

Preparation Time: 4 Min

Serving size: 10-12oz.

Calories: 230 | Total Fat: 7g

Step by Step Recipe

Step # 1: It’s all about measurement and gathering

Before you start, gather all the ingredients and supplies. Grind the beans. Besides, pour the chocolate syrup into the latte cup.

Step # 2: Extraction

Now is the time to extract 2 shots of espresso in the latte cup, where you’ve already poured the chocolate syrup. The chocolate will be warmed up by the heated espresso, and both of them will turn into a unique blend. Once you’re done with the extraction, stir the mixture of the espresso and chocolate syrup thoroughly, as this will significantly contribute to creating an awesome flavor profile. 

Step # 3: Steaming Milk

Start steaming 8oz. milk and ensure that a paper-tiring sound is being made while running the steaming process. It signifies that air is blending with the milk, which will eventually create a good foam. When the milk pitcher touches the temperature of 165-degree Fahrenheit and turns too hot to touch, the steaming is done!

Step # 4: Pouring

Once the steaming is done, you can pour it into your latte cup. Try creating a thin layer of foam on the surface so that your cup adopts a slightly velvety feel.

Step # 5: The Final Touch-up

The best part of a mocha is you can craft it in the way you want! Go ahead and add whipped cream and chocolate shavings to give your cup an amazingly delicious look. You can also consider adding white chocolate syrup or cubes of dark chocolate if your preference permits. Your cuppa mocha is ready – don’t give it a second thought to enjoy it while binge-watching your favorite shows. Needless to say, once you make it perfectly, your cup of mocha will astonish your guests as well.

Here is a simple graphic if you would like to understand it visually.

How to Make Mocha

You can download our ‘How to make Mocha‘ in high resolution if you want to print it.

How to Order a Mocha at a Cafe

Being a highly-customizable drink, mocha can be made in a variety of ways, and each of the brewing methods adds a unique flavor to the drink. So, try the modifications when it comes to ordering a mocha at a cafe! 

Depending on the ingredients and the cafe you visit, you can choose options like the following.


Yes! You can get your mocha prepared with French or dark roast coffee, chocolate, and steamed milk. Aficionados say this mocha variant tastes amazing!

Chocolate Milk

Mocha with chocolate milk holds the ability to steal your heart – why won’t you give it a try?!


Iced mocha can help you experience a piece of paradise on earth!

Cocoa Powder

Chocolate + cocoa = Divinity! You can definitely try ordering a cup of mocha with cocoa when you visit your favorite cafe next time. 


While a regular mocha is made up of milk and chocolate syrup, a white/dark refers to the type of chocolate syrup to be used. White mocha is the ideal pick for those who want their cups to be sweeter, while the dark one renders a bittersweet taste. You can even go for mixing both of these syrups to enjoy a cup of the well-known ‘marble mocha’! 


Well… the tale of mocha ends here! Hope you’ve enjoyed checking it out! Try the wonderful mocha at your next coffee fix, and let yourself be introduced to a piece of wonder in the world of coffee!

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