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Mocha vs. Latte: Ingredient Differences, Comparison & Which Has More Calories?

Cold ice latte. pours into a glass. Cold brew.

Mocha vs. Latte: Ingredient Differences, Comparison & Which Has More Calories?

Are you a coffee drinker? If so, you've probably struggled with choosing between a mocha and a latte at some point. While they may appear similar, these two popular drinks have some differences. For instance, a mocha is made with chocolate; a latte is made with espresso and steamed milk. In this article, we'll explore the world of mocha vs. latte, examining their ingredients, brewing techniques, calorie content, and more. Let's begin by exploring the origin of both.

Mocha vs. Latte: The History

Mocha, a term that now refers to a well-liked coffee beverage, actually dates back to the 15th century. Originally, Mocha (also known as Mokha) was a port city on the Red Sea coast of Yemen. It served as the birthplace of the coffee trade and quickly gained fame for its chocolate-flavored coffee beans. Mocha's strategic location and rich coffee taste shaped coffee culture. Both were instrumental in its success in the early days of the global coffee trade. While Mocha may not hold the prominence it once did as a port city, its legacy lives on through the delicious coffee beverages we savor today.

The origin of the latte is unclear. Some say although they did not call it a latte, Europeans have been mixing coffee with milk since the 17th century. On the other hand, William Dean Howell was the first person known to use the term “caffè latte” in 1867. He wrote about having this delightful beverage when traveling from Trieste to Venice on a steamship. Additionally, Lino Meiorin (an Italian barista working in California) claims he created the beverage in the 1950s after his customers complained about his strong cappuccinos.

Although the origin is debatable, historians primarily agree that the drink became popular in Seattle in the 1980s. Eventually, it won over millions of coffee enthusiasts, becoming a beloved coffee staple. The beverage has since evolved, and whether you enjoy your latte with a splash of soy milk, vanilla syrup, or simply iced, the available options will only increase as time goes on.

Mocha vs. Latte: Key Ingredients

Now that we understand the history of mochas and lattes let's explore their ingredients and how they differ.

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Both mochas and lattes share espresso as their base coffee ingredient. The brewing process involves high-pressure water passing through ground coffee beans, producing a concentrated and robust flavor. Typically, one shot of espresso contains about 64 milligrams of caffeine, providing a stimulating effect in either beverage.


Steamed milk is the next essential ingredient in both mochas and lattes. It offers a smooth texture while mellowing down the flavors of espresso. Usually, more milk is used in a latte than in a mocha because mochas need space for the chocolate.


What sets the mocha apart from a latte is the addition of chocolate. When combined with espresso and milk, it creates a remarkable blend that transforms the drink into a dessert-like beverage.

Mocha vs. Latte: Brewing Methods

Now that we know that mochas and lattes primarily differ due to the use of chocolate in mochas.  Let's discuss the difference in their brewing process.


To make a mocha, add chocolate syrup, ganache, or cocoa powder to the bottom of the cup. Next, pour brewed espresso over it, allowing it to melt, then stir. Finally, top it off with milk to achieve a velvety texture. Although optional, add whipped cream or milk foam and garnish with more chocolate for flavor.


The brewing process for a latte varies a little due to the lack of chocolate use. Start by pouring espresso into a cup and then add milk. Lastly, top with a layer of milk foam to enhance the flavor. If you're feeling creative, make latte art by creating a design while pouring the milk.

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Mocha vs. Latte: Which Has More Calories?

The number of calories in mochas and lattes can vary based on the ingredients used. Generally, lattes have a higher calorie content than mochas; however, this can change depending on the ingredients that are used. The overall calorie content also depends on factors like the amount of milk and additional toppings used, such as whipped cream.

Mocha vs. LatteNutritional value of each.
The nutritional value of beverages can fluctuate based on how they are prepared.

Mocha vs. Latte: Caffeine Content

When deciding between a mocha and a latte for a caffeine boost in the morning, it's essential to consider their ingredients and caffeine levels. The difference in caffeine content varies by the number of expresso shots in each drink. Typically, mochas have more caffeine than lattes since the chocolate also has caffeine. As a result, the amount of caffeine can vary based on the amount of expresso and chocolate used.

Mocha vs. Latte: Downsides

While mochas and lattes are fantastic coffee beverages for any time of day, they have their drawbacks. For instance, there will likely be better choices than both for those aiming to reduce their sugar consumption.

Mochas are sweeter because they use chocolate. As a result, this will not suit everyone's taste preferences. Additionally, it tends to be pricier than a latte, most likely due to the chocolate used. 

On the other hand, a latte can be quite creamy, which may not appeal to individuals who prefer a bolder coffee flavor. 

Nevertheless, both beverages are worth giving a shot during your coffee-drinking journey.

Latte vs MochaYoung african man pouring milk into coffee making espresso. Professional barista preparing coffee on counter.
If you're having difficulty choosing a drink, baristas can provide helpful recommendations.

©Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com

Mocha vs. Latte: Creative Variations & Expert Opinions

Next, let's explore some variations of these two drinks and hear what expert baristas say.

Inventive Mocha Blends

Baristas have created various imaginative mocha options like white mocha, hazelnut mocha, vanilla mocha, and more. These alternatives offer flavor combinations for those seeking a variety.

Inspired Latte Innovations

A latte provides a little more room for experimentation and creativity. Baristas have popularized beverages such as caramel latte, almond latte, and pumpkin spice latte, among others. Adding flavored syrups and spices opens up an endless world of possibilities.

Barista Insights

The consensus among baristas is that both beverages have numerous flavor combinations, which allows them to be customized to match individual taste preferences. It ultimately boils down to what you prefer and, better yet, what your taste buds crave.

Mocha vs. Latte: Mocha Recipe

If you want to save some money by making your drink at home or simply crave the feeling of a homemade beverage, creating a mocha is simpler than you might imagine. You can quickly whip up your delightful mocha with a handful of ingredients and a little practice. Follow the steps below to ensure your mocha turns out perfect every time.


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  • 1 cup of coffee
  • ½ cup of Milk
  • ¼ cup of Chocolate or unsweetened cocoa powder


  1. Brew your coffee- To craft a mocha, it's critical to start by brewing a cup of coffee. If you're using a drip coffee maker, brew a pot of coffee with a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part coffee grounds. This ratio will provide a concentrated brew similar to expresso. Alternatively, consider using a French press or pour-over method if you prefer a more hands-on approach.
  2. Gently melt the chocolate- In a saucepan, slowly melt your chocolate or mix cocoa powder with some milk.
  3. Mix the coffee and melted chocolate- Once your coffee is brewed and the chocolate melted, you can combine them by stirring or whisking. Mix them so that the chocolate is spread evenly throughout the coffee.
  4. Add milk- To complete your mocha, add milk. First, heat your milk to 150 Fahrenheit. If you’re feeling fancy, use a milk frother or a whisk to create froth-steamed milk, then pour it into your coffee and chocolate mixture. 
  5. Add toppings- Treat yourself with some added flavor, sprinkle some cinnamon, cocoa powder, or shaved chocolate on top!

Whether you're looking for a cozy weekend treat or to impress your guests with your barista skills, making a mocha at home is enjoyable and satisfying. Give it a shot. Your taste buds will appreciate it!

latte vs mochaBoth mochas and lattes are highly popular coffee drinks.
Both mochas and lattes are highly popular coffee drinks.

Mocha vs. Latte: Latte Recipe

You don't need an espresso machine or professional training to make a latte at home. You only need a few kitchen items and some time set aside to try something new. Follow the steps below to learn how to make a homemade latte.


  • 2 oz coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Toppings of choice


  1. Start by preparing the coffee-  If you're using a drip coffee pot, brew a pot with a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part coffee grounds. The concentrated brew will mimic the boldness of an expresso. If you prefer using an expresso machine, insert the capsule and let it brew. Once your espresso shot is ready, pour it into a cup.
  2. Next, froth the milk- This is done using a milk frother if you have one. If not, it can be done by shaking the milk in a jar or whisking or by using a hand mixer, french press, or blender. Before using any of these methods, warm the milk up in the microwave for 45 seconds. Be careful not to overheat the milk; this may impact taste and texture. If you're using a milk frother, follow its instructions to create light and airy foam with your milk. Alternatively, if you're utilizing a press vigorously, pump its plunger up and down until your milk turns foamy. 
  3. Combine your ingredients- Pour the milk gently over the coffee; use a spoon to hold back the foam. The proportion of coffee to milk can be adjusted according to your taste, although a typical latte consists of one-third espresso and two-thirds milk. You can add sugar or flavored syrup if you prefer a sweet latte.
  4. Add the final touches- You can sprinkle a dash of cinnamon or cocoa powder to give your latte a delicious topping. Another option is to showcase your creativity using a milk frother to create latte art. It might take a bit of practice; however, it's an excellent way to impress your loved ones. Experiment with designs and have fun!
  5. Indulge in your homemade latte- Now that it is ready, it's time to sit back, relax and savor every sip. Take pleasure in the luxurious taste as you enjoy this beverage. Whether starting your day or taking an afternoon break, homemade lattes are a well-deserved treat. With some practice, you'll soon become an expert at crafting them.

Making a latte in the comfort of your home may seem intimidating, but rest assured that it's pretty simple. So grab your mug and give it a try!

In conclusion, choosing a mocha or latte depends on taste preferences such as flavor, texture, and caffeine levels. No matter which coffee beverage you choose, it is guaranteed to bring some joy to your day. If you're feeling adventurous, consider making your own! Don't hesitate to experiment with different ingredients and brewing methods.  Each sip of your homemade drink will be rewarding. Want the best of both worlds? Try making a mocha latte. The options are limitless!

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