Mocha Vs Latte: What’s The Difference?

There are a plethora of coffee drinks all around the world and an excessive number of options to choose from. Two coffee drinks that have garnered a significant amount of popularity are mocha and latte drinks.  

While there are distinct differences between the two, there are also a surprising number of similarities. In this guide, we’ll discuss what's the difference between a mocha and a latte, dive into their origins, answer frequently asked questions, and more.  

Both coffee and chocolate have plenty in common – they are both sought after for their beans and are roasted for flavor. The mocha coffee drink is made with both these ingredients, specifically a double shot of espresso, chocolate (shavings, syrup, etc.), and steamed milk).  

The type of chocolate used in a mocha coffee drink will differ between cafes, and it can also come with a wide variety of toppings, from whipped cream to marshmallows and more. A delicious cup of mocha will always have a balanced flavor and isn’t overly sweet or bitter. This is typically achieved by ensuring that the final drink has the right amount of ingredient ratios.  

Origins  

While the word “mocha” is now associated with a coffee beverage, the word actually comes from a location – the city of al-Makha or Mocha situated in Yemen. This city used to be the world's major coffee marketplace in the 15th to early 18th century.  

Now, the mocha coffee drink is known as a drink that appeals to individuals who aren’t fans of a strong coffee taste but still want a caffeine kick. Since mocha also has chocolate in it, it’s easier to drink than most other coffee drinks and is also perfect for the winter.  

mocha with marshmallows

Pros & Cons of Mochas  

What We Like  
  • A great option if you’re just getting used to coffee 
  • Better for you than other sweeter drinks like hot chocolate 
  • Still comes with a good amount of caffeine  
Things We Don’t  
  • Has a good amount of calories in comparison to other coffee drinks 

What Is A Latte? 

A latte is a coffee-based drink that’s made from espresso and steamed milk. In terms of proportions, it’s typically made of ⅓ espresso, ⅔ heated milk, and about 1cm of it is foam. Sometimes, baristas also create images or characters with the foam.  

Interestingly, if you were to order a latte in Italy, you’d get milk instead of a regular coffee-based drink. Outside of Italy, lattes usually come with a standard shot of espresso along with steamed milk and a layer of foamed milk – depending on the country that you reside in, there can sometimes be variations.  

latte with rabbit design

Origins  

The term ‘cafe latte’ was first used in English in 1867 in an essay written by Willian Dean Howells. The drink itself, however, was believed to have been invented in the 1950s in Berkeley, California.  

Cafe Lattes are commonly drunk by those that want a coffee that isn’t overly strong and has a milky finish. As a coffee drink, lattes are quite palatable, and you can easily switch out the type of milk that's being used in your drink or even request to add a touch of additional milk to your latte.  


Pros & Cons of Latte Coffees  

What We Like  
  • A cup of latte can give you a good amount of caffeine
  • Easily customizable – you can use different types of milk and even add more or less milk
  • Latte is made with milk, making the drink a good source of protein and calcium 
Things We Don’t  
  • Depending on the size of your latte and the milk that you’re using, it can come with a healthy dose of calories

Mocha Vs. Latte Differences – The Bottom Line 

If you’ve always wondered what’s the difference between a latte and a mocha coffee drink, the table below will provide you with a great overview. 

Difference between latte and mocha  

Factors  

Mocha  

Latte  

Caffeine Content  

Average of 85mg caffeine

Average of 80mg caffeine  

Milk Content  

Mocha has less milk content than a latte and is stronger.

Latte has more milk content than a mocha.  

Milk Ratio  

1 ounce of steamed milk and a thin layer of milk foam to top it off  

4/6 steamed milk and ⅙ foamed milk 

With or Without Foam

Comes with a thin layer of foam.  

Typically topped with a good amount of foam, and sometimes even adorable designs.  

Hot or Cold Options

Yes to both  

Yes to both  

Sweetness Level 

One main difference between a mocha and a latte is that mocha is sweeter as it comes with chocolate or chocolate syrup. 

Not sweet (just milk and coffee usually).  

Extra Additions  

Chocolate chunks  

Chocolate shavings at the top  

Sometimes there’s even the addition of marshmallows  

Whipped cream  

Not really a whole lot of additions for the latte, but there are plenty of variations.  

Variations  

Variations are typically based on the type of chocolate. You can use white chocolate, dark chocolate, or even a mixture of both (also known as a Tuxedo Mocha).  

Matcha latte (with green tea)  

Soy latte (swapped with soy milk) 

Almond latte (swapped with almond milk)  

Chai latte (using chai tea instead of espresso)  

Plenty of other variations were created by Starbucks, from the pumpkin latte to an eggnog latte and more.  


Making Mochas & Lattes at Home: Barista Tips  

Looking to make a mocha and latte coffee drink at home? Below are two recipes, along with some tips to get you started.  

Mocha 

Ingredients: 

  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (5g, about 1 tbsp)
  • Granulated sugar (12g to 25g, 1 to 2 tbsp)  
  • Coffee (espresso, but you can also use regular coffee) (1 cup)  
  • Milk (your choice, 2% milk or even non-dairy milks like almond milk) (¼ cup milk)  
  • Heavy cream (optional, but can add richness to your coffee) (1 tablespoon)  
  • Toppings (whipped cream, chocolate, etc.)  
  1. 1
    In a small pot or microwaveable cup, stir together your sugar, cocoa powder, and water before heating it. Stir and make sure that the sugar and cocoa powder has completely dissolved.  
  2. 2
    Stir in the coffee and milk and continue to heat until steaming.  
  3. 3
    Top with your favorite toppings (whipped cream, shaved chocolate, marshmallows).  

Latte

Ingredients: 

  • ½ cup of milk (whichever milk you’d like, it can be soy, almond, etc.)  
  • 6 ounces of strong brewed coffee  
  • Any other ingredients that you'd like to add to your coffee
  1. 1
    Heat the milk in a pot or in your microwave. 
  2. 2
    Once the milk is heated, take a small whisk and vigorously whisk until you’ve got a nice and frothy milk.
  3. 3
    Pour the coffee over your frothed milk or brew it over the frothed milk. 
  4. 4
    Feel free to add sugar into your latte or even some vanilla syrup to make it into a vanilla latte instead. Prefer something more chocolatey? You can also consider adding one to two tablespoons of chocolate syrup (make sure you do this before you heat the milk!) 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Which is stronger: latte or mocha? 

Interestingly, mocha actually has more caffeine than a latte! A mocha coffee drink has about 85 mg of caffeine, while a latte has an average of 80mg.  

Is a mocha sweeter than a latte?  

 When it comes to the sweetness level of cafe mocha vs. latte, a mocha is definitely sweeter as it contains chocolate in it. In some instances (such as vanilla or caramel lattes), lattes can be equally, if not sweeter, than mocha.   

Which is the best coffee for non-coffee drinkers, latte or mocha? 

If you're someone that isn't a fan of the bitterness of coffee, mocha is a great drink to start with as it's a lot more palatable.  

Are lattes healthier than mochas?  

Generally speaking, lattes are healthier than mochas as they don’t have as much sugar. It is, however, highly dependent on the latte that you’re drinking. Vanilla lattes and other sugary lattes such as the Starbucks Brown Sugar Shortbread Latte come packed with sugar.  

Is a mocha just a latte with chocolate?  

No, it isn’t. They’re actually very different drinks. While they both contain milk and caffeine, the flavors between the two and the percentage of caffeine differ.  


Conclusion

Whether you’re new to coffee or are an avid coffee drinker, you should give these two coffee drinks a shot. After you’ve tasted both a mocha and a latte, you’ll have a better understanding of the stark differences between the two and how they cater to different individuals.