What's the Difference Between the Latte and the Mocha? 

As an espresso aficionado, you surely want to know about all the things that make each caffeinated beverage special. But even if you are not a well-versed home barista, you are not likely to confuse a mocha for a latte.

Still, it won’t hurt to get an expert insight into the fine intricacies that adorn these two popular coffee drinks. This article, something of a mocha vs latte battle, outlines the main points of departure between the two. Here, you will find recipes for mocha and latte, plus a short historical overview of both drinks.

Mocha vs Latte: Similarities and Differences

Like a lot of coffee beverages, these two feature espresso and milk. It is best to use an espresso machine, but there are also recipes that allow you to make a decent cup of espresso or mocha without the machine. However, the taste might not be the same without the machine.

Aside from the tools and basic ingredients, mocha and latte have few other similarities. The quantities of ingredient are different, and mocha features a special addition that makes it unique. Without much further ado, let's take a closer look at each drink (1).
Mocha is also a distinct variety of Arabica beans which are harvested in Yemen and Ethiopia.

mocha vs latte compared side by side

What is a Mocha?

The ingredient that makes mocha special is dark chocolate. It is best to make ganache, but chocolate syrup or even chocolate chunks are also commonly used.
The basic layout includes two-fifths of espresso, followed by the same amount of chocolate, and one-fifth of steamed milk. Some coffee shops might use two shots of espresso as a base for mocha and latte.

There are also a mocha latte and a mochaccino, which feature different ratio of the ingredients. Mochaccino has one-third of espresso and the same amount of steamed milk and milk froth. As a latte spinoff, mocha latte has five-eighths of steamed milk and one-eighth each of espresso, hot chocolate, and milk foam.

“Start off with high-quality cocoa. Something that’s not too sweet … but just a little bit of sugar so that the cocoa flavor mixes well.” – Mike Jones, Third Rail Coffee

What's in a Latte?

For a latte, you need four-sixths of steamed milk and equal amounts of espresso and foamed milk – one-sixth of each to be precise. In general, a latte is more of a milky drink with just a touch of coffee. Of course, a double shot of espresso infuses more caffeine, but the taste of milk is still dominant.

The true craft comes with the steamed milk pouring technique. It’s important to pour the milk through the espresso base. This way, it mixes in evenly, and when it's about two-thirds full, you have a nice canvas for latte art. Plus, it’s important not to rush through the pour to avoid getting an under-aerated latte. (2)

History and Origins

Now, let's move on to each drink's origins.

History of the Latte

The history and origins or latte are not that exotic, but this doesn’t make the drink any less interesting. According to the legend, Americans coveted a cup of cappuccino that’s not too strong. Adding extra steamed milk was a logical thing to do. And voila – a latte was born about a decade the WWII was over.

Its popularity really took off over the past 20 years, and there are even latte art competitions to support the rising trend.

History of the Mocha

Speaking of mocha origins, one thing needs to be made clear. The term mocha coffee can refer to two different things. The coffee drink discussed in this article is an espresso-based beverage with chocolate or cocoa, and it comes as a result of a European take on espresso and milk drinks.

As said, there are also mocha beans, and the coffee that’s made with those beans is also called mocha. The name itself was originally used in the 18th century only for the beans that came through the Al Mokha port in Yemen (3). Fast forward to today, and the word mocha mostly refers to the chocolate-infused drink while the bean is just called Arabica.

Al Mokha beans still grow in mountainous regions of Yemen, but they are rare and fetch high prices.

Final Thoughts

When all is said and done, latte and mocha are two completely different takes on espresso and milk drinks. If you have a sweet tooth and enjoy a good punch of espresso, mocha should be a perfect choice, so go on and give it a try. If sweet drinks aren't your cup of tea, see our list of coffee types and find the drink that suits your taste.

FAQs

Which is sweeter latte or mocha?

Mocha is sweeter than a latte. Remember, mocha features chocolate, cocoa, or chocolate syrup. Whichever ingredient is added, it adds some extra sweetness to the drink.

Are lattes healthier than mochas?

Yes, lattes are healthier than mochas. Mocha coffee is high in the amount of fat and can have about 310 calories per cup. So, if your heart craves mocha, it is best to limit your intake to one a day.

Is latte stronger than mocha?

No, mocha is stronger than latte because it has less milk, plus the mocha beans taste of chocolate naturally. In addition, mocha can also be stronger than some cappuccinos.


References

  1. History of the Mocha Coffee Bean. (2015, March 28). Retrieved July 4, 2019, from http://boropulse.com/2015/03/history-of-the-mocha-coffee-bean/
  2. How to Do Latte Art - A Beginner's Guide. (2018, October 17). Retrieved July 4, 2019, from https://www.coffeescience.org/latte-art-beginners-guide/
  3. Troy, E. (2018, May 23). Why is Chocolate Flavored Coffee Called Mocha? Retrieved July 4, 2019, from https://culinarylore.com/drinks:why-is-chocolate-flavored-coffee-called-mocha/
Alex
 

Alex is the Founder and Editor of Homegrounds.co. He is passionate about brewing amazing coffee at home, and teaching others to do the same.

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