What is a Mocha? Everything You Should Know

By Robert Parsons February 23, 2021

Here at Le French Press, we love a good mocha. If you are into this sweet drink as much as we do, you’re at the right place. Today, we’ll go over everything you need to know about mochas answering the following questions:

  • – What is a mocha latte?
  • – What is in a mocha?
  • – How do you make one? 
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What Is It?

Putting it plainly, mocha is a short word used for mocha lattes. These drinks are regular lattes with some chocolate syrup added to them. Lattes are super customizable (hence their popularity), and the mocha is a prime example of that.

What is in a mocha? Traditional mochas are made using three ingredients: espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate.

A Brief History of Mocha Beverages

The mocha is a staple in almost any café. This drink has grown in popularity all over the world. It’s sold in every café you walk into, and millions are handcrafting their own in their homes.

The mocha is a variant of the classic caffe latte. It is an American beverage that became popular shortly after the latte boomed in Seattle in the 1980s. The term “Mocha” became known as the short version of “café mocha”. Since then, it has become a widely known and beloved beverage.

How Do You Make a Mocha?

Alas! The part you’ve been waiting for. How to make the famous caffe mocha. After this recipe, you won’t want to leave your home for your daily coffee fix!


A mocha is basically a latte with chocolate. The three ingredients you will always get in your cup whether you purchase one from Starbucks or a café in Italy are:

  • – Shot(s) of espresso
  • –  ¼ cup hot frothed milk
  • – 1 tablespoon chocolate (syrup, melted chocolate, or cocoa powder)
  • – 1 cup coffee (optional)

Let us add that you can handcraft your very own handmade mocha regardless of you owning an espresso machine or not. If you don’t have access to espresso, supplement it for a cup of dark and rich drip coffee.

Step 1: Add Your Chocolate

Begin by pouring some chocolate into your cup. One tablespoon should suffice, but you can add more depending on the level of sweetness you like. You can use chocolate syrup, melted chocolate, or cocoa powder.

Which method is the best? It’s really hard to say since it largely depends on personal liking and how much time is at hand. If you are limited on time, use powder or syrup.

Step 2: Extract Your Espresso

Do you want a single or double shot of espresso? Extract your desired amount into your mug right over your chocolate. The hot espresso will melt the chocolate nicely. Stir a few times to blend the flavors creating a beautifully delicious mixture. If you don’t have access to espresso, mix a cup of coffee with the chocolate.

Step 3: Steam Your Milk

While your espresso and chocolate are getting to know each other, steam your milk. Once it’s nice and hot, we strongly suggest you froth your milk. This will give it a more traditional taste. To do so, us a frother. If you don’t have one, you can whisk the milk or shake it up in a mason jar.

Pour the steamed milk over your espresso/chocolate mixture. You should notice a thin layer of smooth foam forming on the surface. This will offer a nice texture with every sip.

Step 4: Decorate Your Drink

There are so many ways to decorate your traditional mocha. If you wish, you can add some whipped cream, sprinkles, nutmeg, or cinnamon. Afterwards, all that is left to do is sip on your new handcrafted creation!

Can You Drink It Iced?

Let’s face it – many of us prefer iced beverages, especially on those warmer days. Perfectly crafted mochas are easy to make. All you need to do is extract your espresso like normal, mix it with some chocolate syrup, pour in cold milk, and add ice. Voila! A delicious, perfectly crafted iced mocha.

White or Dark Mocha?

You may often be asked the question “Would you like a white or dark mocha?” when you order at cafes. If you want the traditional milk chocolate, just ask for the standard option. The difference between traditional and white/dark mochas is the chocolate used.

White mochas use white chocolate flavored syrup. These drinks tend to be on the sweeter side. If your palate enjoys slightly bitter chocolate, go with a dark chocolate mocha. Can you mix all three flavors? Absolutely! This is known as a marble mocha. Like we mentioned earlier, mochas are very customizable.


So, what is a mocha? It is chocolatey coffee bliss right in the comfort of your home! Now that you know the ins and outs of this drink, all that’s left is making your very own. The ideal drink from those who enjoy their cups of joe with a kick of espresso, chocolate, and some frothy milk. 

Happy caffeinating!