Coffee is the nation’s favorite hot drink. For the caffeine lovers out there, it gives us the necessary boost to get ourselves going in the morning and through the afternoon. Take your favorite milk-mixed coffee and throw in a delicious dash of chocolate, and you’re roaming free in the world of heavenly mocha. When it comes to making mocha, there’s a certain art to the pour that means it's typically best left to the professionals; throwing a teaspoon of cocoa powder into your instant coffee won’t cut it. Now you know what’s in a mocha, let’s find out everything there is to know about this delicious hot beverage.
What Is Mocha?
If you’re sitting there drawing a blank while wondering to yourself, “What's a mocha?” you’re in the right place. Short for “caffe mocha” or “mocha latte,” it’s simply a latte with a dash of chocolate syrup thrown in. The customizable nature of the regular latte is one of the reasons why it’s considered a coffee fanatic favorite worldwide. When it comes to mocha ingredients, all you need is your go-to coffee bean, a couple of chocolate syrup pumps, two espresso shots, and steamed milk with foam poured over the top.
A Brief History of the Mocha
Over the past couple of decades, the mocha has burst in popularity worldwide. Although we don’t know the exact date the mocha was invented, we know that mocha and espresso were first mixed back in 16th century Italy. Skip forward a couple of centuries, and coffee shops began to add milk into the mix. After tracking the Turin bavareisa drink (espresso/chocolate) through the likes of Venice and Turin from the 16th to the 18th century, the trail goes cold. The next time we heard of the mocha was in 1892 when it appeared in a Betty Crocker recipe book.
The mocha we all know and love today entered the scene much later in America when the latte was modified - most likely in the 1980s.
So Many Options!
As we’ve already mentioned, people all over the world love a creamy latte. The greatest part about the traditional latte is that you can customize it to create a range of different flavors. Every coffee shop you go to will make the mocha in a different way, likely due to the great versatility of the latte. Throughout the following sections, we will take a look at the different methods you’re likely to see.
Chocolate Milk Vs. Cocoa Powder
Typically, the mocha is made by adding chocolate syrup into a latte. However, some people opt to make them with cocoa powder or chocolate milk. There are plenty of powders out there, and some of them can add extra flavorings to your coffee. Using cocoa powder is beneficial because you can control how much chocolate is going into your mocha.
Alternatively, if you’re in a pinch, you could use chocolate milk. This would save you from having to add syrup or powder. All you would do is foam your chocolate milk and pour it into the espresso. Although this may appear convenient, there’s no way to control the level of chocolate, and the milk will be more expensive.
White or Dark?
If you head down to your favorite coffee shop and order a mocha, the chances are that they’ll ask you whether you’d like your coffee white or dark. If you’re uninitiated to the ways of the mocha, this may leave you feeling baffled when there’s no need to be - all they are doing is asking whether you’d like white or dark chocolate syrup.
Choosing which mocha variation to go for is entirely up to you. Typically, dark chocolate will leave a bitter taste, and white chocolate will be sweeter. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can mix them together and have yourself a “marble mocha.”
What About Coffee?
When you’re making your mocha, you will need to use espresso to get the optimal beverage. However, if you don’t have this to hand, you can use basic drip coffee combined with syrup and milk. To mix your mocha with drip coffee, make sure you’re using French roast, dark, or medium roasted beans.
The type of coffee bean you use for your coffee will depend entirely on your preference. The two main coffee beans are arabica and Robusta. Robusta beans contain lower acid levels and will leave a less-sweet taste in your mouth. Due to the low acid levels, the robusta bean tends to have overtones of wood and rubber.
Arabica beans, on the other hand, will be much sweeter and come with tastes of chocolate or hints of fruit. The reason for their sweet flavor is the higher acidity content. The type of bean that you choose will depend completely on your tastebuds. However, the arabica bean will complement the mocha because of its chocolate hints.
Mocha On Ice
Don’t worry, “Mocha on Ice” isn’t the name of coffee’s very own musical. Instead, we refer to taking the mocha and making it iced. The principle is essentially the same as the hot mocha, with the difference being that it’s perfect for the warmer months. All you need to do is brew your espresso and mix it with syrup, milk, and pack it with ice.
If you’re an iced coffee connoisseur, you can buy your own iced coffee machine for a flawless beverage. All you will need to do is add your favorite chocolate syrup and decorate it to your heart’s content.
The Step-by-Step Mocha Making Guide
Now that you know what a mocha is, where the mocha came from, and the many different ways your mocha can be made - it’s time to find out how to make a mocha. If you already know how to make a latte, you’ve won half the battle. If you’ve got a proper espresso machine at home, you’re most of the way there. Before you get started, you will need to have access to a milk foamer, latte cup, 8 ounces of steamed milk, ½ ounce of ground coffee, your go-to chocolate syrup, and toppings to your liking.
1. Choose Your Favorite Coffee
With all of your equipment gathered, you will need to decide on the type of coffee you want. If you don’t have an espresso machine, you will need to work out another method of brewing your coffee. Further, if you can’t lay your hands on a coffee grinder, you will need to purchase pre-ground beans. If you’ve got the time and patience, you should taste different coffee beans to find out which one your favorite is.
2. Brew Espresso
Next, you need to brew your espresso. To do this, you will need to compact your coffee grounds into a portafilter using your tamper. Ensure that you’ve leveled off the coffee and put the basket in place. If you’ve put too much coffee in the basket, your espresso won’t have the correct flavor. If you don’t put enough coffee in, your espresso will have bits in it.
If you don’t have a coffee machine at home, you can make instant coffee using a saucepan if you’re desperate. Alternatively, for around $20, you can buy yourself a cheap Moka pot. The Moka pot is the closest brewing method in the absence of an espresso machine.
3. Milk Steaming and Pouring
Steaming and foaming milk is easy if you’ve got an espresso machine. All you need to do is fill your milk jug with 8 ounces of milk, insert the wand, and hold at an angle until you’ve hit the optimal temperature and foam level. Then, all you need to do is bang the bottom of the jug on a surface to settle before pouring over your other ingredients.
If you don’t have an espresso machine, the milk heating/foaming can prove difficult. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it. No matter how you froth the milk, you will need to heat your milk to around 140-150°F. The most straightforward method of foaming warmed milk is to seal it in a jar and shake it until foamed. Alternatively, you can whisk your milk by hand or using a machine. If you don’t have either of those, you can use a food blender to get the job done.
4. Finishing Touches
Once you’ve poured your milk and have your chocolatey caffeinated beverage, you can decorate your drink. Some people enjoy chocolate sprinkles on their drinks, and others like to put cream on top. You can get as creative as you’d like with this part. As well as your chocolate syrup, you could add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg, which is especially tasty during the festive season.
Now, if you’re ever asked, “What is mocha coffee?” you can ramble on to your heart’s content with all this helpful knowledge sat in your head. There is no set recipe for a mocha. As long as you’ve got espresso, chocolate, and milk, you can let your imagination go wild.