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Mocha vs Latte: 3 Key Differences (Ingredients, Caffeine, Toppings)

With so many coffee drinks, what is the right drink for you? Want to try a mocha or a latte? Here are the differences between mocha vs latte. Does mocha have coffee? Is it a latte sweet? And is a mocha a latte? 

Mochas are made with espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate (either syrup or cocoa powder). Lattes are made with espresso, steamed milk, and a little milk foam. Mochas/Mochaccinos are a type of latte, but with added chocolate flavor.

mocha vs latte

Baristas make mochas and lattes with similar ingredients. This can give the impression that they are alike in flavor. Despite their similarities, ordering a café mocha and a café latte will provide a different beverage experience. 

Before we get to the differences, let’s define what a mocha and latte are.

What is a Mocha?

Mocha is a beverage made of espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate. People make mochas in various ways depending on the coffee bar you visit. 

Other Names for Mocha

Other names for mocha: caffè mocha, mocaccino, mochaccino, and mochachino.

These names are commonly reduced to just mocha. These words are Italian. Learn how to order coffee in Italian.

what is a mocha

What is a Latte?

A latte is a shot or two of espresso with steamed milk and a bit of milk foam on the top. The name translates to milk since milk makes up most of the drink.

If you’re trying to decide between a caffè mocha and a café latte, there are a few factors to keep in mind. 

Both mochas and lattes are most commonly made with Arabica beans.

3 Differences: Comparing Mocha vs Latte

Most of the differences between a mocha and a latte come down to the taste experience. Each drink has a distinctive flavor and style.

You can break these elements down into differences in ingredients, toppings, and caffeine levels. 

1. Ingredients

The primary difference between mocha and latte is the ingredients.

  • A latte is made of milk and espresso.
  • A mocha is made of milk, espresso, and chocolate

Although a latte can be spruced up with some extra flavoring (such as vanilla or hazelnut syrup), the chocolate flavor is exclusive to the mocha.

You use different ratios and styles of these ingredients depending on the beverage.

  • A latte requires only espresso, a generous serving of steamed milk, and a small topping of milk foam. 
  • A mocha calls for espresso and a portion of chocolate almost equal to the amount of espresso. The drink is finished off with slightly less milk than a latte, and the milk isn’t always steamed. 

These differences in ingredients create different flavor experiences for the drinker. Namely, the chocolate flavor.

  • A latte focuses on the flavor of the espresso itself and can be a more bitter beverage.
  • On the other hand, a mocha has a predominantly chocolate flavor with only a subtle hint of espresso. A mocha is also usually more sugary than a latte.

The differences in ingredients in a mocha vs latte can also impact the mouthfeel.

  • A latte has more milk, which makes the drink feel heavier and creamier.
  • In comparison, a mocha often has a less milky texture.

Furthermore, depending on the type of chocolate the barista uses, a mocha can also have a powdery or syrupy texture. 

latte being made
Latte being made

2. Toppings

Another crucial difference between mocha and latte is the potential topping. The toppings of a coffee beverage are up to the discretion of the beverage maker, but there are certain norms associated with each drink.

A latte is usually simpler than a mocha and is often only topped with the milk foam from the steamed milk. Some coffee shops may serve their lattes with a sprinkling of cinnamon or a drizzle of caramel, but most toppings get used sparingly.

In contrast, many baristas like to add lots of fun, sweet toppings to mochas. Popular toppings for a mocha included: whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and sprinkles.

At some coffee shops, a mocha may end up feeling more like a chocolate milkshake than a coffee beverage.

Of course, toppings vary based on the individual’s taste. Some people enjoy a little whipped cream on their lattes, and others like to keep their mochas free of any toppings. That being said, these are the most common practices at coffee shops. 

Due to these differences in toppings, a mocha is often heavier and sweeter than a latte. It can be a great drink to order if you want a special treat or prefer sugar over coffee flavors.

A latte is an excellent choice if you want something more simple and streamlined. The milk foam creates a satisfying textural experience, and the flavor of the espresso shines through more than in a mocha.

3. Caffeine

When choosing between a mocha and a latte you may also want to think about the differences in caffeine. Although they are both espresso beverages, mochas and lattes have differing quantities of caffeine, which can impact your night’s sleep, energy levels, and overall health.

In most cases, a mocha will have slightly more caffeine than a latte. Both beverages have the same amount of caffeine from the espresso, but a mocha will have additional caffeine from the chocolate

Dark chocolate, a popular choice when making mochas, has around 13 milligrams of caffeine in every ounce. You can add that to the approximate 63 milligrams of caffeine in the shot of espresso. 

The only exception to this is a white mocha, which is a mocha made with white chocolate instead of dark or milk chocolate. White chocolate typically contains no caffeine, in which case the mocha would have a similar caffeine quantity to a latte.

If you’re weighing health concerns or caffeine amounts when deciding between a mocha and a latte, don’t forget to factor in the sugar. A mocha usually has more sugar than a latte, which will further contribute to your energy levels. 

Learn more about other types of coffee.

latte vs mochaccino

Final Thoughts: Which is the Best Drink?

Both mochas and lattes are delicious espresso beverages. Your choice of beverage depends on your mood, health needs, and personal preferences.

I would choose a latte as a great daily morning coffee drink, while a mocha makes a fantastic pick-me-up treat on a Saturday afternoon. 

What’s your opinion about mocha vs lattes? Let us know your thoughts below!