There's nothing better than a fresh cup of coffee in the morning — but what if, one morning, you're not in the mood for a black cup of coffee? What if you find yourself craving something sweeter? Whether you're looking for a way to liven up your morning cup of joe or a way to combine coffee and dessert, mocha is the way to go.
The best part about a mocha is you don't even have to leave the house to get one. Regardless of whether you own an espresso machine or not, you can craft your own homemade mocha and enjoy chocolatey coffee bliss in the comfort of your own home.
In this article, we'll answer all your homemade mocha FAQs and give you a recipe for how to make a mocha at home, along with extra recipes for those who have an espresso machine and those who don't.
How Do You Make a Mocha?
A mocha is essentially a latte with chocolate. Traditionally, a mocha consists of one shot of espresso, hot frothed milk, and chocolate, which can be in the form of chocolate syrup, melted chocolate, cocoa powder, or some other type of chocolate. These three ingredients are what you'll get in your cup, whether you order a mocha from your local Starbucks or go to a sidewalk cafe in Italy.
The sweet taste of a mocha coffee starts with the beans. A good mocha is made with Arabica coffee beans, which are naturally less bitter than other types of coffee beans and enhance the drink's chocolatey flavor. But just because a mocha contains chocolate doesn't mean it has to be overly sweet or sugary. Instead of a sugar-loaded syrup, the espresso can be mixed with pure cocoa powder to make a more bitter beverage.
It's especially easy to control the sweetness of your mocha if you're the one making it. The simplest way to make a mocha at home is to basically make hot chocolate and add coffee. This homemade mocha shortcut uses regular coffee instead of espresso and is great for busy mornings when you need to cut down on prep time but still want a caffeinated pick-me-up.
Here's all you have to do to achieve mocha goodness at home:
- Start by brewing some coffee using your preferred method.
- Then, add some chocolate syrup to your hot coffee and stir. You could also use melted pieces of chocolate or cocoa powder to add the chocolate flavor. However, if you use cocoa powder, you will likely need to add sugar as well if you want it to be sweet.
- Then, it's time to add the milk. You can add the milk as-is, or you can take the extra time to heat and froth the milk, so it tastes more like a traditional mocha. The easiest way to froth milk is with a milk frother, but if you don't have one, try whisking the milk, blending it in a blender, or shaking it in a mason jar.
- Once you've added your milk to your coffee-chocolate mixture, it's ready to enjoy!
Congratulations — you just made your very own mocha! This is a basic mocha recipe, but there are many other mocha options to consider if you want to put your barista skills to the test.
Here are some mocha coffee recipe variations for those who want to turn their mocha into a masterpiece:
- Mix up the milk. Ditch the dairy in favor of almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, or any other plant-based beverage to give your mocha a unique flavor or texture, depending on which milk substitute you choose.
- Personalize the flavor. Jazz things up by using white chocolate, a squirt of hazelnut flavoring, or a dash of cayenne spice. Let your imagination run wild, and concoct customized mocha flavors like mint chocolate, peanut butter fudge, or dark chocolate-covered orange.
- Spike it. If you're looking for something a little stronger than a caffeine buzz, splash in some alcohol to turn your mocha into an Irish coffee. Try adding Sambuca, Baileys, brandy, or whiskey to your coffee beverage for an added kick.
- Chill out. There's no rule that says mochas have to be hot. You can make your mocha an iced beverage or even frozen by blending it with ice to create a mocha frappuccino.
- Top it off. Make your mocha complete by adding a swirl of whipped cream, chocolate shavings, marshmallows, chocolate sprinkles, or even cookie crumbles on top.
How to Make a Mocha at Home with an Espresso Machine
If you're lucky enough to have your own espresso machine with a steam wand attached, making a mocha at home will be easy. All you will need is milk, a shot of espresso, and some chocolate syrup.
Follow this cafe mocha recipe to make the perfect mocha with your espresso machine:
- Begin by pouring your milk of choice into a frothing pitcher.
- Next, use the steam wand attachment on your espresso machine to froth the milk by inserting the steam wand into the pitcher of milk until it is submerged. Submerge the steam wand quickly, so you heat the milk without making too much foam or excess bubbles.
- Once you feel the bottom of the pitcher getting too hot to hold, it's time to remove the steam wand. Be sure to wipe down and blow out the steam wand after removing it from the pitcher, so the milk doesn't clog the wand.
- Swirl your hot milk around in the pitcher to mix it in with the foam you just created. You should be able to clearly see the texture of your milk become richer as you fold in all of the foam. Keeping the foam and milk separate will give you a lighter milk texture with thicker foam.
- After you achieve your desired milk consistency, set the milk aside while you prepare the rest of your mocha.
- Choose the cup you want to use for your mocha and pour your espresso shot. Add as much cocoa powder or chocolate syrup to the cup as you'd like and mix it with the espresso until it's well combined. Stirring the chocolate into the espresso before adding the milk makes it easier to attain a smooth and consistent chocolatey flavor throughout the mocha.
- Once the chocolate and espresso are thoroughly combined, pour the milk you frothed into the chocolate espresso mixture.
- Now, it's time to drink up!
How to Make a Mocha at Home without a Machine
Aside from the true coffee connoisseurs, most of us don't have an espresso machine in our kitchens. But a lack of an espresso machine doesn't mean you can't whip up a homemade mocha. As long as you have a microwave, you are fully equipped to make a mean mocha.
To make a mocha at home without using an espresso machine, follow these simple directions:
- Pour your preferred milk into a mason jar and put it in the microwave on high for just long enough to get it warm and slightly steaming.
- Meanwhile, place a small saucepan over medium-low heat and start melting your chocolate in it.
- Add in as much sugar as your sweet tooth desires along with a single shot of instant espresso to the saucepan, and stir until the chocolate has completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
- To avoid clumping, incorporate the heated milk into the chocolate mixture slowly, adding only a tablespoon at a time and reserving a quarter cup of the milk for later. During this process, you might want to increase the burner's heat to medium to help your chocolate to continue to melt and the mixture to keep heating.
- Next, make the foam for your mocha by placing a lid on the mason jar containing the remaining milk and shaking it vigorously until bubbles start to form, and the milk gets frothy.
- Transfer the chocolate mocha mixture to a mug, pour the newly foamed milk over it and top it with whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate shavings — whatever your heart desires! Once you're happy with your toppings, it's finally time to take a sip of your homemade mocha and savor the fruits of your labor.
If you do not have a fancy espresso machine but have an AeroPress, Moka Pot, or even a simple French press, you will still be able to make your own espresso. After you've made your espresso shot, simply add it into the saucepan in the recipe above when you would add the teaspoon of instant espresso powder.
Homemade Mocha FAQ
With so many coffees and specialty espresso drinks on the market these days, it can be hard to keep them all straight. If you still have some questions about mocha making and the drink in general, you're not alone. We've put together a list of the mocha-related questions we hear most often to help you become an espresso expert.
Before attempting your first at-home mocha, check out these common questions to build your mocha knowledge and perfect your art:
What Is the Difference Between a Latte and a Mocha?
The main difference between a latte and a mocha is chocolate. Although both coffee-inspired drinks are espresso mixed with steamed milk, only a mocha includes chocolate. Usually, a mocha provides a stronger coffee experience with bolder flavors, as a latte is regarded as the lightest and most mild espresso-based beverage available.
Does a Mocha Have Caffeine?
Yes. Most mochas contain caffeine because they're made with espresso and have the same amount of caffeine as one espresso shot — about 77 milligrams. If you make your own mocha at home, however, you could make it with decaf coffee to cut down on the caffeine content.
What's the Best Chocolate to Use When Making a Mocha?
There are three different forms of chocolate that you can use to flavor your mocha: chocolate powder, chocolate syrup, or melted chocolate. Of these choices, there's no definitive "best" option, and what you choose will largely depend on how much time you have. If you don't have time to wait for the chocolate to melt, opt for a powder or syrup.
Once you've chosen your method, the flavor is up to personal taste. Some prefer pure dark chocolate because it embraces the bitterness of the coffee, while others like milk or white chocolate because it sweetens and lightens up the coffee.
What Food Pairs Well with a Mocha?
A mocha brings in different flavors than the usual morning cup of coffee, so you should pair your food accordingly for the best breakfast experience. However, it can be a challenge to find a food that works well with both the bitter undertones of coffee and the sweet notes of chocolate. But fear not — we've put together a list of the five best mocha and food pairings for you.
Here are our top five mocha mates:
- Scones. A scone complements a mocha quite nicely, especially if it's a sweeter flavor, like blueberry or chocolate chip.
- Croissants. What could be better with a mocha than a buttery, flaky croissant — all the better if it's chocolate stuffed!
- French toast or pancakes. Sipping on a mocha alongside one of these breakfast classics is basically a slightly more sophisticated way to wash down a mountain of pancakes with hot chocolate and feel like a kid again.
- Nutella anything. You can never have too much chocolate, right? Some mornings you just have to full-heartedly commit to the chocolate for breakfast and pair your mocha with something drenched in Nutella — be it toast, a waffle, or a tart.
- Tiramisu. Who says coffee's just for breakfast? If you're having a mocha as an after-dinner drink, tiramisu is the dream dessert to pair it with because the coffee flavor in the tiramisu will complement the mocha perfectly.
Shop Real Good Coffee Co
Ready to get started on your quest to make the ultimate at-home mocha? Check out the coffee selection offered by Real Good Coffee Co to make sure you're using the highest quality ingredients for your homemade mocha.
At Real Good Coffee Co, we're just real good people making real good coffee. We like to keep it as simple as our name and don't add any extra flavorings to our coffees to allow the natural flavor of the coffee beans to shine through. Our coffee is made from 100% Arabica whole beans, making it perfect for creating a mocha at home.
In addition to being good to drink, our coffee products are 100% recyclable, so they're good for the planet, too. If you're looking for a straightforward coffee brand that's dedicated to bringing customers the best coffee possible without any extra frills, check out Real Good Coffee Co today.