What is a Cafe Mocha?
Whether you call it a Mochaccino or spell it with an extra “f” as in Caffe Mocha, a Cafe Mocha is a coffee drink combining the flavor of hot chocolate and espresso. Most café mocha recipes suggest a sprinkling of cocoa or chocolate shavings on top because who doesn’t want more chocolate, right?
About the Cafe Mocha
|Coffee : Milk Ratio||2 : 1 plus 2 parts of hot chocolate|
|Type of Milk||steamed|
|Cup||glass cup – like an Irish coffee mug or a glass|
|Supplies||espresso, milk, hot chocolate (or other chocolate), whipped cream|
|Sugar or Added Flavors||the sweetness is in the hot chocolate and the whipped cream|
|Notes||you can substitute microfoam for the whipped cream for a version that’s slightly less sweet|
Hot, Cold, Similar to a Latte
The Cafe Mocha or Mochaccino can be enjoyed both hot and cold, making it an ideal year-round beverage. It’s one of the most popular specialty coffee drinks among cafegoers and experts alike, as its combination of flavors creates a complex yet delightful taste. And, despite starting with espresso, steamed milk and hot chocolate offset the bold flavor that some people find too strong.
You can think of a Café Mocha as a latte with two extra layers of flavor – chocolate and whipped cream. Half of the steamed milk that goes into a Latte is replaced by hot chocolate. There are several ways to get that infusion of chocolate into the drink, such as you can use hot cocoa, drinking chocolate, or even chocolate syrup or chocolate milk. And if you’re not a fan of whipped cream (really?), you can use a microfoam or froth similar to a latte.
Recipe for a Traditional Cafe Mocha
To make a Cafe Mocha at home, you will need some espresso, some type of chocolate*, steamed milk, and whipped cream.
*We’re focusing on homemade hot chocolate (and have a recipe below). But you can substitute it for packaged hot cocoa, chocolate sauce like Torani, chocolate syrup, or drinking chocolate.
And don’t worry if you don’t have an official espresso maker, as there are other options – even if you don’t even have a coffee maker, period.
Spillin’ the Beans Espresso Making Alternatives
How To Make a Cafe Mocha
For a large, 8-ounce Café Mocha, you’ll create four 2-ounce layers:
- Steamed Milk
- Whipped Cream (or Microfoam)
1. Make your hot chocolate. Homemade is best, and there’s a recipe at the bottom of this post. But you can also use instant, Keurig-brewed, drinking chocolate, or even chocolate sauce or syrup. You only need two ounces, so you can share the rest or refrigerate it and try another Café Mocha recipe.
2. Pull two shots of espresso or make two ounces of espresso in a Nespresso machine, Moka pot, or by using another method – you can even buy espresso coffee sticks for a bolder instant espresso.
3. Steam one to two ounces of milk. If you don’t have a proper steaming wand, heat the milk and use a handheld frother to give it a little foamy consistency. Alternatively, you could put hot milk in a jar with a tight cover and shake it well.
4. It’s time to put it all together
First layer – Start by putting the espresso in the bottom of a mug or glass
Second layer – Add two ounces of hot chocolate
Third layer – One ounce of steamed milk
Give it all a gentle stir unless you prefer to drink through the layers
Fourth layer – Whipped cream adds a touch more sweetness, but you can also double the amount of steamed milk and turn half of it into microform
5. Sprinkle the top with unsweetened cocoa powder, or add chocolate curls, jimmies, or anything else that focuses on the chocolate notes.
Other Cafe Mocha Recipe Twists
Not everyone likes their cafe mochas with just the standard ingredients. So, here are some variations that may pique your interest:
• White Chocolate Mocha: Replace regular cocoa powder/syrup with white chocolate sauce for a sweeter twist on the classic recipe!
• Toasted Marshmallow Mocha: Add half a teaspoon of toasted marshmallow flavoring to your mixture before adding the steamed milk. Top it off with a toasted marshmallow instead of whipped cream.
• Peppermint Mocha: Add peppermint flavoring to the hot chocolate mixture or chocolate sauce for a festive seasonal treat year-round.
• Salted Caramel Mocha: Add a layer of caramel syrup and a little dash of salt for an extra flavor boost.
Cafe Mocha can be topped with whipped cream or a silky smooth microfoam topped with a dash of cocoa powder
Hot Chocolate Recipe for Cafe Mocha Making
Hot Chocolate – for Cafe Mocha
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the cocoa and sugar
- Add the water and whisk into a thick paste (add extra water if it's too thick to whisk or stir)
- Heat the mixture on medium-low for a minute or two
- Add the milk and continue whisking
- When the mixture starts to steam, turn the heat off and whisk in the vanilla
Frequently Asked Questions
A Cafe Mocha is a chocolatey espresso drink that you can enjoy hot or cold. It consists of espresso, hot chocolate, steamed milk, and whipped cream.
They’re similar, but Caffe Lattes have more steamed milk and are topped with froth or microfoam, whereas whipped cream is a more popular topping for the Cafe Mocha.
There are different ways to make Cafe Mocha, and they primarily vary based on the chocolate. Some baristas prefer hot chocolate, while others turn to chocolate syrup. If you’re making the drink at home, you could also use chocolate sauce, like Torani’s, or drinking chocolate.