Mocha vs Latte: What’s the Difference?

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mocha vs latte

If you find yourself staring at a coffee menu for way too long, it’s probably because there are so many options and they all sound so tasty. Among these tasty options are two espresso drinks, the latte, and the mocha. Some people are very familiar with these, but if you find yourself enjoying a latte or a mocha, and not quite knowing what it is you’re drinking, we are here to explain.

What is a Mocha?

Two words: chocolate and coffee. This is the epitome of a mocha. Mochas are a very satisfying option if you like to live on the sweet side. They have a subtle coffee flavor with yummy chocolate and creamy milk. So, how exactly is this drink made? First, the espresso shots get pulled and go into the cup. Chocolate sauce is added to the coffee in a beautiful marriage. Then the milk is steamed and poured on top, but with the foam held back. Sometimes you get whipped cream or chocolate shavings on top if you’re lucky!

There are also a lot of other flavors that can be added to your mocha to make it your own style. One example is a salted caramel mocha. These tend to come around during the holidays, but if you’re lucky enough you can find them at other times of the year, or just make one at home.

A Mocha

Credit: Stephanie Watson, Flickr

What is a Latte?

A latte also has espresso and steamed milk, just as a mocha would. In fact, it is the same amount of espresso and milk. Lattes do tend to have a thin layer of foam on the top, unlike the mocha.

There is no flavor that comes standard in a latte like chocolate does with a mocha. This means you can taste the espresso flavor much better in a latte. If you would miss having a sweet flavor, don’t worry. Coffee shops are dedicated to your satisfaction. You can ask your barista to add one of a wide range of flavors to your latte to make it taste just the way you want.


Image credit: Takeaway, Wikimedia

Differences to Consider When Making These Drinks at Home

While some don’t mind the wait in line, others agree that we shouldn’t have to go to a coffee shop every time we want an espresso drink. As long as you have the equipment to make espresso, like a moka pot or an espresso machine, you can make almost any espresso drink at home, including the latte and mocha. There are some differences to account for when making them at home, however.

To make a latte, you just need to add hot milk to the espresso you brewed. If you have a frother, this will work the best. If you don’t have a frother, don’t fret; you can also heat the milk on the stovetop or in the microwave. That is all you need to make a latte.

If you are craving a mocha, you need chocolate sauce to add. Unless you buy some chocolate sauce, this is something you should make first. Try heating up some chocolate chips or bars on the stove with a little bit of milk added. This should give you the right consistency for your mocha. After the sauce is finished, make your espresso shots and heat up your milk. No foam is required for a mocha, so don’t worry about using a frother unless you want a foamy mocha. Add the espresso first, then the chocolate sauce, and stir them together. Add your milk last. This process is the best way to mix all the flavors.

Highlighting the Differences

  • Lattes and mochas are similar, but at the same time, they are on different sides of the coffee family. Here’s a list to give you a quick breakdown of their differences:
  • Mochas come with chocolate flavor, while a classic latte does not have flavor added.
  • Mochas do not have foam, while lattes have a thin layer.
  • Lattes do not come with any toppings, while a mocha most likely will.
  • The classic latte lets you taste the espresso more so than a mocha.
  • A mocha is a much sweeter drink than a latte.
  • Lattes can be easier to make at home (especially with the invention of new equipment such as the latte maker).

Header image credit: Eric T Gunther, Wikimedia