Latte vs Mocha: How Are They Different?

Lattes and mochas are both very popular drinks throughout the world, especially since they became as readily available as a standard cup of filter coffee. If you’re looking to get in on the new wave of coffee drinks, you’ll want to know what differentiates one from the other.

What Is the Difference Between a Latte and a Mocha?

The main difference which separates a mocha from a latte is the presence of chocolate. Simply put, a latte consists of an espresso base, steamed milk, and a thin layer of milk foam. In the case of mocha, chocolate is added on top of the espresso base before steamed milk and frothed milk are added.

Even though you can’t really go wrong with either drink, a mocha will please the ones who enjoy a sweet taste in their coffee, while a latte will be more favorable for those who prefer the taste of espresso.

Latte

Latte is one of the lightest espresso drinks you can have, which makes it a highly preferred choice at the coffee shop.

Consisting of espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk, a latte allows you to enjoy the taste of espresso without any extra flavors. If you are someone who enjoys their coffee with milk instead of water, a latte is a great choice.

For those who prefer a bit of sweetness in their coffee, flavor syrups can be added to a cup of latte to shape the flavor of the drink to desired preferences.

Origin

Just like espresso itself, latte originates from Italy. Originally known as caffè latte (which translates to “milk coffee”) in Italy, the original latte is slightly different than how we know it today. Prepared exclusively at home for breakfast purposes, the original latte was basically coffee combined with heated milk.

While Italy is considered to be the origin of a latte, coffee and milk have been a part of European cuisine for a long time, which is why you will hear this drink be called different names such as café au lait (France) or café con leche. (Spain)

The latte we are familiar with today is a more commercialized version of the drink, popularized in Seattle in the 1980s.

How to Make a Latte

Making a latte is very simple, which definitely contributes to its popularity. That being said, a latte is a drink where you’ll mostly taste the flavor of the espresso, which means that you should ensure your shot of espresso is well made.

  1. Start by pulling a shot of espresso. If you prefer stronger coffee, you can also go with two shots instead of one.
  2. If you’d like to add flavored syrup, simply add it on top of the espresso. Else, you can skip this step.
  3. Steam and froth milk. Note that steamed milk will increase in volume, which means that you should use less milk than what would fill the cup.
  4. Pour the steamed milk, making sure that the milk foam stays in the pitcher. You can use a spoon to hold the milk foam back if necessary.
  5. Top the drink off with milk foam.

That’s all! In five simple steps, you will be able to enjoy your latte.

Mocha

Almost everyone loves chocolate, so there is no surprise that mocha is also up there with the most popular coffee drinks.

Consisting of espresso, chocolate, steamed milk, and frothed milk, a mocha is a great drink for those who prefer a sweeter taste in their coffee. The presence of chocolate causes mocha to be a heavier drink than most, making it a good snack for mid-morning, or a treat after a long day of work.

For those who would like to go the extra mile in terms of sweetness, a whipped cream topping with extra chocolate can be added.

Origin

The origins of mocha are fairly unknown, other than the fact that the name of this drink comes from a city in Yemen. This city was considered to be an important part of the coffee trade between the 15th and the 18th centuries, specifically known for the Mocha coffee bean.

On the other hand, Italy is known to mix coffee and hot chocolate for hundreds of years now, which sheds some light on the origination place of the mocha we know today.

How to Make a Mocha

Making a mocha is extremely easy, and not too different from making a latte. Since the only difference between the two is the presence of chocolate, the steps remain more or less the same.

  1. Start by pulling a shot of espresso. If you prefer stronger coffee, you can also go with two shots instead of one.
  2. Add cocoa powder on top of the espresso. If you wish, you can also use chocolate shavings or chocolate sauce instead of cocoa powder.
  3. Steam and froth milk. Note that steamed milk will increase in volume, which means that you should use less milk than what would fill the cup.
  4. Pour the steamed milk, making sure that the milk foam stays in the pitcher. You can use a spoon to hold the milk foam back if necessary.
  5. Top the drink off with milk foam.
  6. If you would like to have even more sweetness in your drink, you can add a layer of whipped cream on top with more chocolate shavings or chocolate sauce.

Enjoy!

Choosing Between a Latte and a Mocha

If you’re struggling to choose between these two tasty beverages, we may be able to help you decide as these two drinks have different characteristics even though they are quite similar in terms of contents.

To start, there is a big difference between the two drinks in terms of heaviness. While a latte isn’t exactly the lightest coffee drink you can have as it contains milk, it’s a whole lot lighter than a mocha. You’ll find that a latte works great as an early morning drink, giving you the caffeine boost you need while keeping your drink light enough to not make you feel bloated. On the other hand, a mocha would work better as a mid-morning drink or an afternoon dessert due to its chocolate content.

The second difference, and most likely the difference that really shapes our preference is taste. A straight latte may not be too enticing for those who are looking for sweetness but will please the ones who just want to enjoy the taste of espresso. In the case of mocha, there is a distinct chocolate flavor that may prove to be too much for those who are just looking to have a regular cup of coffee but will certainly be preferred by those who don’t really enjoy the taste of unsweetened coffee.

Finally, while a latte contains almost no calories, a mocha can prove to be quite high in calories. Depending on things such as the type of chocolate, and usage of whipped cream, the calories add up rather quickly. For this reason, it’s very easy to intake a lot of calories without really noticing it, which is an important factor to be aware of while enjoying a cup of mocha.

We feel like by taking these three factors into account, it becomes much easier to choose between the two drinks.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is a mocha sweeter than a latte?

Yes! Since mocha contains some form of chocolate such as sweetened cocoa powder, chocolate syrup, or chocolate shavings, you’ll find that mocha is sweeter than a latte. That being said, flavor syrups such as vanilla or caramel syrup can be used to make a latte just as sweet as a mocha.

Is a mocha stronger than a latte?

The strength of your drink depends on the ratio of coffee to other things such as milk or chocolate, which means that mocha can be stronger than a latte or vice versa depending on the ratio of ingredients used.

Is a mocha heavier than a latte?

You’ll find that mocha is a lot heavier than a latte as it contains chocolate. With the addition of chocolate, there is a considerable amount of sugar and fat which goes into the drink that you wouldn’t find in a latte.

It goes without saying that the heaviness of mocha also means that you’ll be taking in a lot more calories compared to a latte.

Does a mocha have more or less milk than a latte?

It’s only natural for a mocha to have less milk than a latte, as the chocolate in mocha takes the place of milk.

Conclusion

Both lattes and mochas are easy-to-prepare espresso drinks that cater to different preferences even though they look quite similar at the first glance.

That being said, we can promise you that you won’t regret trying either of them.

Enjoy your coffee!