what’s the difference between a latte and a mocha

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Johny Morrisson

The main difference is that Latte is prepared with espresso and steamed milk, while a mocha has espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate syrup, and is often topped with whipped cream. This addition of chocolate gives a mocha a unique flavor.

With its harmonious blend of coffee, steamed milk, and chocolate, the mocha has seduced coffee drinkers’ tastebuds for decades. This sweetened espresso drink has often been confused with its better-known creamy cousin – the latte.

Mocha or latte? This article will help you decide! We’ll dive into the details, contrasting the flavors, make-ahead tips, calorie counts, caffeine levels, and preparation methods for each drink.

Fun Fact: Mocha Coffee is also known as Mocha Latte so essentially Mocha coffee is nothing but a Latte with chocolate flavorings.

Difference between Mocha and Latte

What is Mocha?

Mocha is a sweet coffee drink that is made with espresso, chocolate, and milk. The term “Mocha” is now commonly used to refer to coffee beverages that include chocolate flavoring, such as a “Mocha Latte” or “Mocha Frappuccino.”

Mochas can be made with dark, milk, or white chocolate, and they are often topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

It is a popular choice for those who crave a rich, chocolatey flavor with a hint of coffee. So if you haven’t tried a mocha yet, it’s definitely worth adding to your coffee repertoire!

Mocha coffee

What is Latte?

Latte is the most popular milky espresso-based drink, prepared with frothed milk, foam, and often fancy toppings. The name “latte” comes from the Italian caffè latte, which means “milk coffee.”

Lattes are often customized with flavored syrups, such as vanilla or caramel, to add a touch of sweetness.

The special thing about the latte is the appealing designs and patterns created on top of the latte using milk foam such as heart, Tulip, or Rosetta art.

Lattes are known for their smooth and creamy texture, making them a popular choice for those who prefer a sweet beverage with a milder coffee flavor.


The Type and Amount of Milk used in mochas and Lattes

There is no standard amount of milk used with both a Mocha and a Latte, but in general, a Mocha contains more chocolate flavoring and less milk than a Latte.

A typical Mocha recipe usually includes one or two shots of espresso, around 2 ounces of chocolate syrup or powder, and 6-8 ounces of steamed milk.

In contrast, a Latte is made with one or two shots of espresso and a larger amount of steamed milk, usually around 10-12 ounces.

Whole milk is the most commonly used milk for both Mochas and Lattes, as it produces a creamy texture and a rich taste. However, other milk options are also popular, such as skim milk, soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk.

Mocha vs Latte

The Caffeine Content

A mocha typically contains more caffeine than a latte since cocoa powder and dark chocolate also contain some caffeine.

A standard 12 oz serving of Mocha coffee has around 150 mg of caffeine. While a 12 oz serving of a typical latte prepared with a double shot Espresso has around 120-133 mg of caffeine.

Mocha vs Latte Calorie count

The Calorie count of a Mocha is a lot higher than Latte.

According to Starbucks, a 12 oz serving of Mocha made with whole milk and whipped cream has around 290 calories while a tall 12 oz latte made with whole milk contains 120 calories.

The chocolate flavoring and whipped cream contribute to the higher calorie count in this drink.

So, If you’re watching your calorie intake, a latte may be a better choice

It’s worth noting that the calorie content of mochas and lattes can vary depending on how they are prepared and the type of milk used. If you’re concerned about your calorie intake, you can ask your Barista to use non-dairy milk options.

The Difference in Taste and Flavors

In Lattes, The espresso provides a bold coffee flavor that is complemented by the sweetness of the steamed milk, resulting in a smooth and creamy taste. A Latte can be flavored with syrups such as vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut to add more depth and complexity to the flavor.

In contrast, mochas are known for their decadent and sweet taste, which comes from the chocolate syrup or powder added to the drink. The taste of a Mocha can vary depending on the quality and amount of chocolate used, but it generally has a more pronounced chocolate flavor than coffee.

As a coffee lover myself, I enjoy trying different coffee drinks and exploring the nuances of their taste profiles. Whether you prefer the creamy simplicity of a latte or the indulgent sweetness of a mocha, there is no denying the pleasure that comes from sipping a well-made coffee beverage.

Topping and the Art

Mochas and lattes are often topped with different garnishes. Mochas are typically topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

While lattes are often decorated with latte art, such as hearts, flowers, or rosettas. Latte art is created by pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso, creating a pattern or design on the surface of the drink.

Latte art has become a popular trend in coffee culture, with baristas competing to create the most appealing and stunning designs. As a coffee lover myself, I always appreciate a beautiful latte with a creative design on top. It adds an extra element of enjoyment to the drink, making it both delicious and visually appealing.

Some baristas even incorporate chocolate syrup into their latte art, creating stunning designs that incorporate both milk and chocolate.

Latte art
Mohca coffee toppings

Mocha vs Latte: So what’s better?

Well, that depends on your personal taste and preferences. If you love chocolate and want a sweeter, richer coffee drink, then a mocha is the way to go. If you prefer a mild, creamy coffee flavor, then a latte might be more your style.

In the end, it’s all about what you enjoy. As coffee expert Kenneth Davids says, “The most important thing is to drink what you like and not worry too much about what other people think.”

You’ll love to read about related coffee drink comparisons


Is mocha stronger than a latte?

Yes, the mocha tends to be stronger in flavor compared to Latte. The mocha contains chocolate syrup or cocoa powder, which adds a rich, deep chocolate taste that is more pronounced compared to the predominantly milk flavor of a latte.

Is mocha healthier than a latte?

It depends on what you mean by “healthier.” Mochas are typically higher in calories and sugar because of the added chocolate and whipped cream. However, dark chocolate has health benefits, such as antioxidants and flavonoids, which can be beneficial to heart health.

Which is sweeter mocha or latte?

Mocha is sweeter than a Latte because chocolate flavorings add sweetness to the drink, which can balance out the bitterness of the espresso.
This sweetness is also enhanced by the addition of whipped cream on top of the drink, which adds another layer of sweetness.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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