Mocha vs. Latte: What’s The Difference?

By Robert Parsons August 20, 2021

Welcome back to another coffee centered article that is guaranteed to teach you something that you weren’t aware of. Today, we are talking about two fan favorites: the mocha and the latte. While there are loads of reasons to love each of these drinks, it can be difficult to understand what’s the difference between a mocha and a latte. 

With so many latte flavor options, mocha gets squeezed in as part of the crowd, but there are a few key differentiation between the two and we are going to compare each to show the pros and cons to help you decide which you prefer and simply so you know what you are ordering next time you step in the cafe.

What is a Mocha?

The biggest thing to understand about a mocha is that it is heavy on the chocolate mixed with some espresso and some milk. If chocolate and coffee isn’t your cup of tea or cup of coffee for the matter, then you might want to steer away from mochas. 

The exact measurements get quite specific, as each variation has entirely different drink names. For a classic mocha, there is two-fifths chocolate, two-fifths espresso, and one-fifth milk. Now, this milk is not just poured straight. The milk is steamed which can look a lot of different ways. However, unlike other steamed milk drinks, there is no extra foam or milk stretching involved, so it is definitely more simple to make. 

Mochas are a drink that can easily be made at home with an espresso machine that has a built-in milk attachment and a bit of dark chocolate. Put a cube of the chocolate in the bottom of the cup before you start the machine and watch the mocha transform before your eyes. 

Another important note to mention is that there is a separate meaning for mocha, which are the mocha coffee beans. These are a type of Arabica beans that are grown primarily in Yemen and Ethiopia. These are not exclusive to the mocha drink or even related, so if you have been quite confused, now you know. 

What is a Latte?

Another extremely common espresso drink is a classic latte. These are also made up of espresso milk but not chocolate. They are four-sixths steamed milk, one-sixth espresso, and one-sixth foamed milk. The key to a latte is foam. This sits at the top of the drink and is the part of the drink that is used for latte art you might be familiar with. 

Unlike a mocha, lattes can come with no added flavors or any flavor under the sun. This is where flavored syrups thrive. Vanilla, caramel, mocha even are the most common flavors that are used to give something extra to a latte. However, mocha flavored syrup in a latte is not the same as a mocha drink. While they might mimic each other, the foam and the type of chocolate are the key differences. 

Lattes also can come cold or hot, but when they are served cold, you lose the foam aspect as well as the potential for art. It becomes ice, espresso, and milk. However, this is one of the MOST popular drinks at any coffee shop, so it definitely isn’t something to underestimate. 

Lattes are actually American, believe it or not. They originated during WWII time. The goal was to create a less extreme version of a cappuccino and here we are today. That being said, if you are a fan of a stronger kick in your coffee, lattes are heavy on the milk which can overshadow the espresso at times for the real caffeine addicts. 

The larger latte you order, the more espresso and milk comes in the drink, so you could order up to three whole shots of espresso. This would involve quite a bit of milk though and probably give you the jitters without even meaning to since the drink is so smooth. 

Pros and Cons

Now that we know the true definitions of each, we can compare the two and their pros and cons. 

Mocha

Chocolate Flavor 

This is a chocolate lover’s dream. With equal parts chocolate and espresso, this is the perfect mixture of a morning pick me up and a sweet snack to indulge with. However, there is no mocha without chocolate, so keep this in mind when you decide to order one. 

No foam

The mocha is strictly steamed milk, so there is no art or foam at the top of this warm beverage. Only melted chocolate, milk, espresso. However, the steamed milk does bring the coziness for a perfect winter treat. 

Latte 

Foam Central

Lattes take more practice and perfection to master how to stretch milk to create the espresso and steamed milk ratio with foam to rest on top. It also is offered cold which will taste quite differently. 

Flavor Options

If you are looking for something else other than coffee flavor, you can add in loads of syrups to spice up your latte. The syrup and the milk and the two most prominent flavors in a latte, so keep this in mind if you like the intense taste of espresso shots.