Mocha vs latte: learn the difference between these two popular coffee drinks.
There's nothing quite like the simple pleasure of your favorite brew. But, the sheer amount of options on the menu at your local coffee shop can be overwhelming.
In this article we'll focus specifically on the difference between a latte and a mocha so that you can order with confidence, or make your own specialty coffee drink at home.
If you've seen my article on vegan options at Starbucks, you'll know that I'm all about coffee culture.
These days, you can order any coffee drink you want with all the bells, whistles and modifications. But, despite the fact that you can order everything from a Black Eye to a Breve, two drinks drinks top the list of the caffeine obsessed - the mighty latte and the mocha.
Let's dive head first into coffee culture and compare the latte to the mocha.
Mocha Vs Latte
✅What are the differences between a latte and a mocha?
✅How can you modify these drinks to suit your diet?
✅How can you recreate them at home?
I'd rather take coffee than compliments just now.Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
What's In A Latte?
So, what's in a latte anyhow? The latte, or cafe latte as it's sometimes called, originated in Italy. Latte literally translates to "milk" in Italian. So, if you're wondering what's in a latte, there's a hint in the name.
A latte is made with ⅓ espresso, ⅔ milk, and a layer of foam. A tall Starbuck's latte usually contains:
- 10 ounces of 2% milk (or substitute your favorite pant based alternative.)
- 1 shot of espresso (1.5 ounces)
- Topped with a layer of foam
Unlike many other popular espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos and ristrettos, a latte's primary ingredient is, you guessed it, milk.
However, if you're vegan, dairy free or lactose intolerant, almost every coffee shop has a variety of plant based milks on the menu. Alternative milks are becoming more and more popular, especially amongst younger consumers. Starbucks offers oat milk, almond milk, soy milk and coconut milk. If you want to learn to make the perfect latte with almond milk, be sure to check out my almond milk latte recipe.
In addition to the various milk options, there's numerous flavored syrups and toppings that can be added to your latte. Starbucks offers pumpkin spice (seasonal), caramel, chestnut praline, sugar cookie and cinnamon. So, if you ordered your latte with pumpkin spice syrup it would be called a "pumpkin spice latte." The basic ratio of ingredients would remain the same, but there would be additional shot of flavored syrup.
The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
What's In A Mocha?
A mocha, sometimes referred to as a cafe mocha or a mochaccino, is simply a variation on a latte.
Mochas can get a bit confusing, because they can be prepared in a variety of ways. Essentially, a mocha is simply a coffee drink that has chocolate added to it. The chocolate can be cocoa powder with sugar added to it, or a chocolate syrup.
Let's take the Starbucks mocha as an example. A tall mocha is 12 ounces. The ratio of ingredients are as follows:
- 9 ounces of 2% milk ( or substitute your favorite plant based alternative milk)
- 3 pumps of mocha sauce
- 1 shot of espresso (1.5 ounces)
- Topped with a layer of whipped cream (contains dairy)
Naturally, all most all coffee shops will allow you to modify your mocha by adding flavored syrups such as caramel, chestnut, cinnamon, hazelnut and peppermint. Generally the flavored syrups will change with the seasons. The basic ratio of ingredients will remain the same, but you'll get an additional flavor shot in your mocha.
What Are The Differences Between A Latte And A Mocha?
So, now that we know what's in a latte and mocha, what's the difference? The difference is that a mocha contains chocolate, whereas a latte is simply espresso and steamed milk. A mocha will be sweeter than a latte because of the additional added chocolate.
Mochas contain more calories than lattes, given that they are simply lattes with added chocolate and sometimes whipped cream. For instance, a Starbucks tall latte contains 150 calories, whereas a tall mocha contains 290 calories.
Frequently Asked Questions
A latte is made with ⅓ espresso, ⅔ milk, and a layer of foam. A typical latte usually contains 1-2 ounces of espresso and 8-15 ounces of milk. Unlike many other popular espresso-based drinks like macchiatos and ristrettos, a latte's primary ingredient is milk. Lattes can be made with cow's milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk and oat milk.
A mocha, sometimes referred to as a cafe mocha or a mochaccino, is simply a variation on a latte. Mochas can get a bit confusing, because they can be prepared in a variety of ways. Essentially, a mocha is simply a coffee drink that has chocolate added to it. The chocolate can be cocoa powder with sugar added to it, or a chocolate syrup.
A latte does not contain sugar. Many people choose to add sweeteners, but it is typically is free from refined sugar. However, because milk is the primary ingredient in a latte, this beverage contains a lot of milk sugar. Healthline notes that a typical 16 ounce latte contains 18 grams of milk sugar.