What is a Mocha? A “Bridge” into Great Coffee

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Who is this drink for? Who isn't it for? What recipe should you use? Learn all about this delicious chocolatey coffee here.
what is a mocha

A mocha, or a mochaccino, is an espresso-based milk coffee full of chocolatey goodness. In this short article, we’ll quickly explain what is a mocha and define what makes up a mochaccino. I’ll share my thoughts on this drink being the perfect one to introduce someone to the world of coffee.

Table Of Contents

What is a Mocha?

“A mocha is a double espresso mixed with chocolate, topped with frothed milk.”

Double Espresso

A double shot of espresso is what you get when you double everything in the recipe of a regular espresso shot. From 16-20g of coffee grounds, it is brewed for around 30 seconds and produces around 60ml (2 oz) of concentrated espresso.

Chocolate

This chocolate can come in the form of a scoop of chocolate powder, or chocolate syrup. 

If it’s the former the barista uses, he or she will scoop the powder into the cup first, and then extract the espresso shot on top of the powder, so the hot espresso liquid can help dissolve it.

Some creative baristas even break off a solid block of chocolate to make their mocha! As the espresso drips onto the chocolate block, the heat melts it into a rich, gooey paradise.

Frothed Milk

A mocha typically has rich, thick milk. Lots of air has been injected and mixed into the liquid milk. When you take that first sip, you’ll probably get that mustache of foam over your upper lips. 

The foam can be as thick as that of a traditional cappuccino, but the trend lately is for most cafes to tone down on the thickness of the froth. You’ll find the foam level somewhere in between a latte and a cappuccino. This gives the whole drink a good, textured mouthfeel.

Bonus Points

Some cafes opt to add a sprinkle of chocolate powder over the coffee once it’s been made to really emphasize the chocolate. Others add that extra dusting of chocolate powder over the espresso shot, and then pour the milk in. 

Marshmallows, or other little sweet bites, are sometimes served on the side too.

How Much Chocolate Should I Add?

diagram of a mochaccino

If you’re making it from home, it’s really down to your personal taste. How sweet do you want your mocha? 

Just be wary of the fact that if you put too much chocolate into your mocha, you risk completely masking the taste of the coffee. 

The espresso already has to struggle to cut through the thick taste of milk, so if it has to further compete with the sweetness of chocolate, it may very well get drowned out.

My Recipe

Here’s my suggestion as to how much chocolate you should mix into your mocha:

“20g – 30g of chocolate for a double shot of espresso. Or, in other words, about half the amount of espresso or less.”

Use that as a starting guide. Dial those numbers up or down according to the type of chocolate used. Put slightly more if it’s unsweetened cacao powder, or less if you’re using a block of white chocolate, for instance.

A Bridge Coffee?

mocha coffee beside a plant

Who is a Mocha For?

For those who have only ever drunk instant, flavoured coffee, and are looking to get into drinking proper coffee for the first time, a mocha is what I would recommend.

I see it as the coffee that bridges the gap and helps make that transition easier. There are many people who may be put off by the strength and bitterness of coffee at first. A mochaccino, if made well with a good balance of espresso and chocolate, helps ease their taste buds into the wide world of espresso. 

So hey, if you have a friend whom you’re trying to rope into drinking coffee, start them off with a mocha!

Who is it Not For? 

If you want to improve your palate and learn how to detect the delicate flavours of certain coffee beans, a mocha is not for you. Yes, you can taste the coffee still, but it’ll be too muted for you to discern its origin and flavour profile.

You won’t be able to taste a bright cherry flavour of a single origin coffee if it’s been doused in chocolate and milk!

On that note, a mocha can also be a good drink to taste different beans with – to see which one holds up its flavour better. A great, fun little taste test for cafe owners and baristas (or you home brewers!) for when they want to pick a new house blend that can stand on its own as a black coffee, and stand the addition of milk.

Want to know more about single origin beans versus house blends? Click that link to check out our article on that!

Chocy Conclusion

A mocha may be seen by some coffee snobs as not a real coffee, because it’s been sweetened with chocolate. I say, if you enjoy it, drink it!

Every coffee has its place, and at times when I’m groggy and craving some sweetness and caffeine, a mocha is a wonderful pick-me-up drink. 

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