What is a mocha coffee?


by Alex Chapman

https://www.roastycoffee.com/mocha/

Mocha is a common flavour - it's splashed across most coffee shops boards, adorns milk cartons, features on the labels of pre-packaged caffeinated drinks and is a popular ice cream choice. While many people have heard of the term mocha and know that it's a chocolate and coffee drink, that's often as far as their knowledge goes.

So, what exactly is mocha? Here, we break down what a mocha drink actually is, where it came from and how you can make it yourself.

What is a mocha drink?

A Mocha drink is commonly confused with a mocha flavour. A mocha drink is short for 'caffè mocha'  or 'mocha latte' and is a latte drink with chocolate flavouring added (usually chocolate syrup). The mocha flavour on the other hand isn't necessarily caffeinated and represents the flavour of chocolate and expresso mixed together.

Mocha's are a sweet and decadent choice of espresso-based drinks, that's popular amongst sweet tooths. While a mocha should always have a mix of espresso and chocolate, it can be modified ingredients like whipped cream, chocolate sauce, marshmallows, white chocolate or chocolate sprinkles to make it even more indulgent.

Different types of mocha

Mocha drinks began with a traditional version that fuses the bold taste of espresso with the velvety rich taste of cocoa. However, over the years different variations of mochas have popped up. Mochas are a highly customizable drink that can incorporate any flavour that mixes well with chocolate and coffee. Some of the most popular mocha variations are listed below:

Original mocha

The original mocha is a regular latte that's been mixed with chocolate syrup. The base of this drink starts with one of two shots of espresso that is topped with hot water and steamed milk and mixed with a chocolate flavouring. A traditional mocha is usually served hot.

White mocha

A white mocha is a white chocolate version of the original. Instead of using milk chocolate flavoured syrup, white chocolate syrup is used for a creamier and less bitter flavour.

Iced mocha

An Iced mocha is a cold variation of a traditional mocha. This drink tends to have normal cold milk as compared to the steamed milk that's in a traditional mocha. Traditional mochas are usually made with an espresso shot and steamed milk. Whereas, an iced mocha is made with espresso shots and topped up with cold milk. Toppings like whipped cream or sprinkles are optional and can be added to traditional mochas or iced mochas.

Hazelnut mocha

The difference between a traditional mocha and a hazelnut mocha comes down to the syrup. The two drinks are similarly made, however, a hazelnut mocha will either have additional hazelnut syrup added as well as the chocolate syrup or a specially infused hazelnut and chocolate syrup will be used in the place of chocolate syrup.

Caramel mocha

A caramel mocha is very similar to a traditional mocha; it counts hot milk, hot water and espresso amongst its ingredients. Like a hazelnut, the difference comes with syrup. A caramel mocha will either have additional caramel syrup added to the drink, or some baristas may use a syrup that's infused with both chocolate and caramel.

Dark Chocolate mocha

A dark chocolate mocha encapsulates the richer and more bitter flavour of dark chocolate, as compared to milk chocolate. This type of mocha is usually made with a chocolate sauce, or a dark chocolate cocoa powder is added to the drink.

Marble mocha

A marble mocha is a more complex variation of mochas as compared to the other customised versions. This drink has white chocolate sauce on the bottom with milk and espresso on top. The drink is then finished off with drizzles of dark chocolate sauce.

The history of mocha

The term mocha actually comes from a specific coffee bean that was called Arabian Mocha coffee beans, these beans were shipped from the port of Yemen, the city of Al Moka, or Mocha. The city's name was actually derived from the coffee beans. These beans are now commonly known as Arabica coffee beans.

While these beans are called mocha beans - they're not technically chocolate flavoured. However, many people - even in this day and age - commonly describe Arabica beans as having a chocolate undertone to them. Regardless of this, a mocha can be made with any beans, the beans don't have to be Arabica beans.

However, the well-known chocolate and coffee drink that we know today as mocha, actually originated in the United States of America in the 1890s. It was inspired by Bicerin, an Italian drink that is a mixture of espresso, milk or cream, and chocolate or cocoa in a small glass.

How to make a mocha

Because mochas are a variation of a caffè latte, to make one you'll need to have the equipment required to make a latte. So, you'll need something that can extract espresso shots and something to froth or steam the milk. Most people use an espresso machine to achieve a good mocha.

However, it's is possible to make a mocha without an espresso machine - but the drink will be unlikely to be of as high quality as when a machine is used.

Once you've gathered up the equipment you require, you can go ahead and make your own cafe mocha by following the below steps.

With an espresso machine

  1. Pour a generous amount of chocolate sauce into the bottom of your coffee cup, Try and squirt the syrup around the sides too for a good distribution of flavour. If you're looking to make a variation of a traditional mocha, like a caramel or hazelnut mocha, you should squirt this flavour in the cup now too.
  2. Extract the required amount of espresso shots into the cup over the sauce. Most people use one or two espresso shots for a mocha, however, the strength is customisable depending on your preference.
  3. Use a milk frother to steam your milk and make sure there's some milk foam on top so that the mocha will be creamy.
  4. When the milk forth is done, pour it over the mocha so that the cup is entirely filled.
  5. From here, you can choose to decorate or customise the drink as you like. Some people add whipped cream, extra sauce and chocolate shavings to make the drink even more decadent.

Without an espresso machine

  1. Pour a cup of milk into a mason jar and pop it into the microwave until it's warm.
  2. Squirt chocolate sauce into the bottom of your coffee cup, Try and squirt the syrup around the sides too for a good distribution of flavour. If you're looking to make a variation of a traditional mocha, like a caramel or hazelnut mocha, you should squirt this flavour in the cup now too.
  3. You'll need to add a shot or two of espresso into your cup. This espresso can be made with ground coffee beans and 30mls of water that's infused in a plunger, or by mixing one scoop of instant coffee with 30mls of boiling water.
  4. Pour half of the warm milk on top of the espresso shot and flavoured sauce.
  5. Put the lid on the mason jar and vigorously shake the jar to create a foamy milk mixture.
  6. Pour the milk forth into your mocha so that the cup is entirely filled.
  7. From here, you can choose to decorate or customise the drink as you like. Some people add whipped cream, extra sauce and chocolate shavings to make the drink even more decadent.

 

Mocha modifications

If you're making your own mocha, then you leave the door open to many delicious topping combinations. It's not rare to see indulgent mocha drinks topped with a huge range of toppings, so now is your time to have some fun! Below are some common toppings that are used on mocha drinks.

  • Shaved chocolate
  • Sprinkles
  • Flavoured sauces
  • Crushed Oreos
  • Whipped cream
  • Malt
  • Crushed kit kat
  • Crushed snickers
  • Crushed mail teasers
  • Honeycomb
  • Nutella

 

FAQ

Do mocha coffees require a special type of bean?

No, not necessarily. Some baristas like to use Arabica beans because they have undertones of chocolate in them. However, the chocolate flavour is delivered through the chocolate sauce, so it's fine to use regular coffee beans in your mocha.

Because all coffee beans have different flavours and undertones, you can experiment with different types to find your perfect cup. We suggest using beans like our signature blend, which is slightly sweet and have notes of honey, or Colombian Coffee Beans, which is full bodied and rich in flavour.

Does mocha coffee have caffeine in it?

Traditionally, yes. Mocha coffees are very similar to cafe lattes, varying only in the way of using flavoured sauce, as well as additional toppings. However, it is possible to get decaf mochas. This means that a decaf bean would be used, instead of a caffeinated coffee bean.

 


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