Latte vs Mocha – what’s the difference? The short answer is that a latte is a shot of espresso with steamed milk and some milk foam. Mocha is a much sweeter version of a latte, with hot chocolate as the secret ingredient.

The menu at the coffee shop can be confusing, with so many espresso-based drinks, with Italian names. Two of those easy-to-confuse drinks are latte and mocha.

In this post, we’ll discover the main differences between Latte and Mocha to help you feel more confident when ordering at the cafe near you.

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What is a Latte? The classic latte vs. modern latte drinks

A latte is perhaps the most popular espresso-based coffee option, and any coffee shop makes it. If you visit a coffee shop or any restaurant selling good espresso drinks, your latte will be served in a usual coffee mug or tall glass.

Latte in Italian means milk, so latte (or “Cafe Latte” in Italian) means milk-based espresso drink. The classic recipe for making a latte includes a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and some foamed milk. The steamed milk gives the latte its refined sweet taste and a unique smoothness.

SO essentially, a latte is an espresso-based coffee drink that contains coffee and milk. However, these days you can make a latte from various ingredients, such as a chai latte, a chocolate latte, and a matcha latte.

A Matcha Latte contains matcha tea added to steamed and foamed milk. Another example is the Indian chai masala which has chai tea rather than espresso. It is then topped with steamed and foamed milk. Another example of a latte is a turmeric latte.

Traditionally, cow milk is used for lattes. However, you can still have it with alternative drinks such as oat or soy milk. Many local cafes offer lattes with a variety of flavors and syrups.

When talking about traditional latte – this drink is for coffee lovers who love the smoothness of steamed milk and just a bit of foam. However, if you love your coffee sweet, a latte may not be sweet enough.

What is a mocha? A latte with hot chocolate.

Mocha is another type of espresso-based drink, but it has yet another secret ingredient: hot chocolate.

Contrary to what many people think, a mocha contains coffee and caffeine.

Making a mocha starts with an espresso shot into a cup and then adding hot chocolate to it. If you don’t have hot chocolate, you can choose to add chocolate syrup, but that’s not the same. The next step is topping the mixture with steamed milk and milk foam.

Mocha can be prepared using regular hot chocolate or white hot chocolate. The hot chocolate gives the mocha its increased sweetness levels compared to a latte.

In other words, a mocha is a latte with hot chocolate. It’s the high-sugar version of the latte. This means that if you take a mocha regularly, you’ll end up adding more calories to your body. This is why you should enjoy a mocha every once in a while and avoid too much sugar regularly.

Coffee shops often prepare variations of the classic mocha coffee drink. Examples of the mocha coffee variations you’ll find in coffee shops will contain the following: hot chocolate hazelnut, gateaux syrup, salted caramel, and much more.

One of the advantages of a mocha coffee drink is the delicious combination of coffee and chocolate. Moreover, there are multiple flavor options when drinking a mocha. If you love this combination, this is an ideal drink for you.

However, one of the disadvantages of the drink is that it can be too sweet, and too much sugar is not for everybody. If you’re watching your sugar levels or don’t like extra sweet drinks, a mocha may not be the ideal drink for you. Another disadvantage of a mocha is that it is not as espresso-forward as a latte.

Mocha is a latte with hot chocolate.
Mocha is a latte with hot chocolate.

So what’s The Main Difference between a Mocha and a Latte?

Both a mocha and a latte are espresso-based drinks. Another similar element with them is that they contain foamed and steamed milk.

The only significant difference between the two is that a mocha includes hot chocolate. It is the hot chocolate element that makes a mocha more sophisticated and more sugary.

Different coffee shops will produce drinks with different tastes. Also, flavors will vary depending on the recipes used to make both drinks.

Which one Should you Choose?

If you want an espresso-based coffee drink with a sweet experience, you can consider trying a mocha.

However, if you want a drink that will give you a bold espresso taste, you should go for a latte.

The bottom line is that it is a matter of personal preferences. I, for one, will always go for the clean espresso, no sugar, no cream, no chocolate, and most definitely not chocolate syrup!

Having said that, I realize that both drinks can genuinely represent fine coffee drinks for coffee lovers. The exciting thing about Latte and Mocha is that you can easily make these drinks at home. You just need a good espresso machine, coffee beans, and high-quality chocolate.

Check out our Macchiato Vs. Mocha guide!


How to make a Mocha Latter?