Marocchino Coffee: What is It + Recipe
Marocchino coffee is a layered Italian drink that combines espresso, cocoa powder, and milk foam. There are many variations on the Marocchino, but the concept remains the same: chocolate and coffee make a delicious match.
Here’s what you need to know about Marocchino coffee, plus a simple recipe for making this drink at home.
What is Marocchino coffee?
Marocchino coffee is traditionally a shot of espresso covered with a light layer of cocoa powder and topped with milk foam. The drink’s creation can be traced back to Bar Carpano in the town of Alessandria in Italy, sometime after the Second World War. It was inspired by a very similar drink popular in Turin known as a bicerin, which was based on an 18th-century drink called bavareisa (1). These combinations of chocolate and coffee also gave birth to the mocha drink.
The word marocchino (pronounced ma-roh-KEE-no) means “Moroccan” in Italian and is usually used to refer to a type of light brown leather. The town of Alessandria was famous for its custom-made fedoras, which featured a strip of marocchino leather around the inside – represented by the layer of cocoa in the drink.
For more ways to mix up your routine, here are some other cool coffee drinks to try. And now, here’s our Marocchino coffee recipe.
What you need
- 18 g coffee beans
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 3-4 oz milk
- Coffee grinder
- Espresso machine
- 2 oz shot glasses for serving
AT A GLANCE:
How to make Marocchino coffee
Making a Marocchino at home is easy; you just need an espresso machine. If you don’t have one, you can substitute strong coffee, but you’ll still need a way to froth milk.
1. Brew the coffee
As always, we recommend you grind your beans just before brewing. Pull your espresso directly into the serving glasses. This recipe makes two single-shot Marocchino coffees – if you prefer a double shot, you’ll also need to increase the amount of milk foam and upgrade to a bigger serving glass.
2. Froth the milk
Froth the milk using the steam wand on your espresso machine. You’re looking for the light and airy foam used for the top of a cappuccino rather than the silky, dense milk you’d expect in a latte (2). You want to be able to spoon the froth, not pour it.
3. Assemble the drink
Marocchino is served as a layered drink, with different elements visible through the serving glass. Sprinkle the cocoa powder over the espresso until you have a thick layer, but reserve a little for the top. Spoon on your foamed milk to match the amount of espresso, then dust with the remaining cocoa powder. After admiring the layers, stir to incorporate the cocoa powder before drinking.
Variations on the Marocchino
The recipe above represents the most traditional version of the Marocchino. You’ll come across a wide array of variations on the drink in different parts of Italy or worldwide – all of which still bear the Marocchino name.
Minor changes include using chocolate powder instead of bitter cocoa for sweetness or frothed milk instead of just the milk foam. You can also opt for ristretto rather than regular espresso for a more concentrated coffee taste.
The most significant variation of the Marocchino recipe is how people add the chocolate flavor to the drink.
In the town of Alba, the birthplace of Nutella, the cocoa powder is replaced with a spoonful of the famous chocolate hazelnut spread. Another typical recipe involves coating the inside of the glass with chocolate syrup.
The most severe chocoholics have been known to use a bigger glass so that they can add hot chocolate to the mix, making something more like a mocha.
If coffee and chocolate make the combination for you, why not try one or more of the following:
- Starbucks copycat of Toasted White Chocolate mocha
- Spicy Mexican coffee recipe
- Espressino recipe
- Viennese (aka Vienna) Coffee Recipe
The key difference between Marocchino and Macchiato is the use of chocolate. The Marocchino has a layer of cocoa powder and a light sprinkling of cocoa on top. The Marocchino also uses more milk foam – a layer equal to the amount of espresso, and on a Macchiato, there is only a tiny dollop of foam.
A Marocchino coffee contains approximately 41 calories when prepared with a single shot of espresso, whole milk, and unsweetened cocoa powder. If you use hot chocolate powder instead of cocoa powder, the drink contains approximately 56 calories but will depend on the brand you use. Prepare it with a teaspoon of Nutella, and the calorie count will jump to around 100.
The Cafe Bombon is a coffee drink made with espresso and sweetened condensed milk. It’s a layered drink usually served with the condensed milk on the bottom and the espresso on the top, which is then stirred together before drinking. The Bombon originated in Valencia, Spain, but there are similar drinks in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore which use strong coffee instead of espresso.
- Lebovitz, D. (2006, December 2). Bicerin Recipe. David Lebovitz. https://www.davidlebovitz.com/il-bicerin-1
- Hedlund, J. (2022, March 11). Frothed vs Steamed Milk. Era of We. https://www.eraofwe.com/coffee-lab/en/articles/frothed-vs-steamed-milk