Macchiato Vs Mocha (Differences Between These Coffees)

If you’re a frequent cafe visitor, you’ll notice a wide variety of drinks available. The most common ones found in these coffee shops are espresso-based drinks, and many coffee lovers find it difficult to tell these drinks apart. For example, everyone knows what a mocha and latte are, but only a few can tell macchiato and cortado apart.  

If you’re still familiarizing yourself with all these coffee drinks, two beverages that you may encounter are macchiato and mocha. Unfortunately, while they both sounded similar, they’re very different. In this article, we will discuss macchiato vs. mocha, how they’re made, and some recipes you can try at home.  

The term macchiato originated from the need for baristas to show waiters the difference between an espresso shot and an espresso shot mixed with a bit of milk. In Italian, the term “macchiato” means marked or stained, which is a perfect description of the drink because of the addition of milk to the espresso. It was initially made to be the ideal afternoon coffee but is now enjoyed at almost any time of the day.  

The macchiato consists of two parts, a shot of espresso and a small amount of steamed or foamed milk. The milk doesn’t overpower the taste of the coffee, allowing the intense coffee flavor to shine. This drink is perfect for people who find an espresso shot too strong but a cappuccino too weak.  

latte macchiato

To make the perfect traditional macchiato, here’s what you need to do: 

  • 1
    Start by pulling an espresso shot. The amount of beans you’ll use depend on your preference.  
  • 2
    Pour the shot in a demitasse cup. These are the smallest cups you can find in a coffee shop. If you don’t have one, anything will do.  
  • 3
    Steam a little bit of milk. Remove the dry foam from the steamed milk and pour it over the shot of espresso. You can play around with this and maybe create a design.  

Mocha Coffees: Overview & How They Are Made 

The word mocha comes from the name of a port city in Yemen called al-Makha or Mocha. During the 15th to early 18 century, this port city was known as the central coffee marketplace. Now,  the term mocha is popularly used to describe a coffee beverage.  

The mocha drink uses a double shot of espresso combined with chocolate (syrup, shavings, etc.) and steamed milk. The type of chocolate used on a mocha drink varies per cafe and can also come with whipped cream or marshmallow, depending on the barista.  

While a double shot of espresso may seem overpowering, a cup of mocha delivers balanced flavors of sweetness and bitterness. This drink is perfect for those who aren’t fans of intense coffee flavor but still want a caffeine kick. Because it contains chocolate, it’s easier to drink than most espresso-based beverages and is perfect during cold weather.  

mocha coffee

Here’s how you can make a cup of mocha at home:  

  • 1
    Pull two shots of espresso and pour it into a tall glass.  
  • 2
    Then, mix one ounce of chocolate syrup or powder in the glass. Followed by steamed milk until the cup is almost full. 
  • 3
    You can top it off with whipped cream or garnish it with chocolate shavings, marshmallows, or anything you like.  

Macchiato Vs. Mocha: Differences + Which Is Most Popular?  

As you can tell from the descriptions above, macchiato and mocha are very different. Apart from how they’re made and the ingredients they used, here are some of the things that set them apart:  

Taste 

Macchiato is simply milk and espresso, so it has a much stronger taste with a hint of creaminess. A traditional macchiato only has a shot of espresso with an almost equal amount of milk foam, but you can mix it up and add more shots if you need more caffeine. It has the same intense flavor and bitterness as a usual espresso, but the layer of milk foam dials this down. You can also add some sugar if you want a hint of sweetness in it. If you love the intensity of espresso but would like a slight creaminess, this is for you.  

On the other hand, if you have a sweet tooth and enjoy dessert-like coffee drinks, mocha is perfect for you. The intense flavor of espresso is drowned with milk and chocolate, ideal for those who can’t handle coffee’s bitterness. However, the coffee taste isn’t completely lost, only quite diluted. This is a delicious drink, but not a very strong coffee.  

Variety 

When it comes to variety, mocha will surely win this round. First, the chocolate itself has various flavors--white, milk, and dark--which means you can make a variety of mocha drinks by simply changing the type of chocolate you add. Apart from that, you can play around with the toppings, adding whipped cream for a sweeter taste, marshmallow to feel more festive, or even a dash of cinnamon for a bit of kick. Furthermore, many coffee shops invite their customers to customize their mochas with a variety of flavored syrups.  

Unlike mocha, a macchiato is straightforward, focusing more on the espresso rather than adding other flavors. This drink currently has two authentic varieties available: traditional or espresso macchiato and a latte macchiato.  The only difference between the two is the amount of milk used. However, some coffee shops offer flavored macchiatos adding caramel or vanilla to the drink.  

Calories

If you are counting your calories, a macchiato is for you. Because it has lesser ingredients, it is on the lower end when it comes to calories. A serving has a little less than 100 calories. Mocha, on the other hand, is packed with calories. Depending on what variety and size you have, a cup of mocha can give you about 300 calories. SO if you’re watching your diet, maybe try a different coffee beverage.  

Milk Preparation 

Macchiato and mocha both use milk. However, the milk preparation for each drink is different, creating a unique and distinct flavor. For example, an espresso macchiato uses the smallest amount of milk and has some foam, while a latte espresso has more milk with microfoam, creating layers when the espresso is poured.  

Mochas may use more milk, which helps even out the drink’s texture, highlighting the flavors of espresso and chocolate.  


Mocha Macchiatos (Overview, Variations + How To Make At Home) 

Starbucks has introduced a new coffee drink variation that marries the flavor intensity of macchiato and the sweetness of mocha called mocha macchiato. While it isn’t an official menu item, mocha macchiato can be ordered by asking for a caramel macchiato with mocha drizzle instead of caramel.  

Mocha Macchiato is simply a macchiato drink that contains vanilla syrup, steamed milk and foam, espresso, and mocha drizzle. You can prepare it at home by simply making a latte macchiato with mocha or chocolate syrup on top. Starbucks and other coffee shops have introduced different mocha macchiato variations. Here are some of them, plus the steps on how you can make them at home:  

Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato 

Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato is a fun spin on Starbucks ’ Iced Caramel Macchiato drink. AS its name implies, it uses coconut milk instead of regular milk. If you want to make this drink at home, here’s how to make an iced coconut milk mocha macchiato: 

Ingredients 
  • 2 tablespoons of chocolate sauce (any brand) 
  • 1.5 ounces of espresso (you can use 1 cup of cold brew if you don’t own an espresso machine) 
  • 1 cup of coconut milk (or more, depending on your preference) 
  • Sugar or vanilla syrup (optional) 
  • Whipped cream  (optional) 
Instructions 
  • 1
    In a glass, add chocolate sauce, espresso, and coconut milk. Then, add some ice.  
  • 2
    Top with some whipped cream if you prefer and some more chocolate sauce.  
  • 3
    Add some sweetener or not, depending on your taste.

Marble Mocha Macchiato 

Another Macchiato Mocha variety you can make at home is Marble Mocha Macchiato. It’s essentially just a mocha macchiato that uses white mocha sauce or white chocolate. Here’s how you can do this drink at home:  

Ingredients 
  • 2 tablespoons of white chocolate sauce (any brand) 
  • 1-1.5 ounces of espresso (you can use 1 cup of cold brew if you don’t own an espresso machine) 
  • 8 ounces of milk 
  • Sugar or vanilla syrup (optional) 
  • Whipped cream  (optional) 
Instructions 
  • 1
    Steam the milk until it reaches 145 degrees. 
  • 2
    In a glass, add white chocolate sauce and espresso. 
  • 3
    Gently pour the steamed milk. 
  • 4
    Top with some whipped cream if you prefer and some more chocolate sauce.  
  • 5
    You can also add some sweetener or not, depending on your taste.  
barista making Mocha Macchiato

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How does a cappuccino differ from mocha and macchiato? 

These drinks use espresso and steamed milk, but cappuccino uses milk foam on top and is often dusted with chocolate powder. Mocha, on the other hand, has chocolate in it as opposed to macchiato, which has steamed milk and espresso only.  

How does a latte differ from mocha and macchiato? 

Latte uses more steamed milk than mocha and macchiato and is often referred to as cafe latte or milk coffee because of the amount of milk it uses. Like cappuccino, it also uses milk foam but not as much as this drink 

Does Dunkin Donuts have Mocha Macchiatos? 

Unlike Starbucks, where Mocha Macchiato isn't on the official menu, Dunkin Donut offers the drink, released last February 2021.  


Conclusion

Now that you know what macchiato vs. mocha is, it will be easier for you to choose a coffee drink. If you can handle intense coffee taste but want something creamier, go for a macchiato. But if you like chocolate and sweet beverages with a little bit of caffeine, mocha is perfect for you.