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How to Make a Mocha

Created January 26, 2017
If you love espresso, why not try the chocolate-infused American take on the Italian cappuccino?

Chocolate lovers prefer their coffee beverages to be strong, yet sweet. After all, what isn't great about the combination of coffee and chocolate? The mocha is an American-born invention, based off the Italian-born cappuccino.

Much like a latte, mochas rely heavily on steamed milk. The correct proportions for a traditional mocha are one part espresso to two parts steamed milk, not unlike that of a latte – though milk foam is entirely optional on a mocha.

Heating Milk

Mochas, unlike most other espresso-based drinks, actually don't require that you use frothed milk. This means that you can simply heat milk in the microwave or on the stovetop until it is roughly 160 degrees (or the desired temperature of your mocha, more or less).

Using a meat or candy thermometer will help you to track your temperature accurately if you're doing this on the stovetop, which is the method I recommend. If heating in the microwave, do it in cycles. Start off with cold milk and microwave for two minutes on high, then stir. Continue microwaving in increments of 30-45 seconds until you hit your target temperature. After all, the last thing you'd want to do is pour cold milk into the perfect mocha.

Chocolate Choices

Traditionally, mochas are flavored with a sweet cocoa powder. However, busy baristas often appreciate the convenience and easy of a good, high quality chocolate syrup. As far as chocolates go, you can use anything from a milk chocolate to a dark, semi-sweet, or even white chocolate.

These can actually be introduced in chips or flakes as well, as long as you give it a good stir and time to melt into your drink. Using solid chocolates will produce a richer, thicker drink that many people enjoy. Personally I find that dark chocolate plays well with the strong flavors of espresso, but if you like a less bitter flavor, by all means use a high quality milk chocolate.

You can even get creative by adding a small pinch of sea-salt or chili powder to help accent your drink in a new and delicious way.

Sweeten the Deal

Of course, if you're like a lot of mocha drinkers you might find that a little bit of bonus sweetness is welcomed. If you're not sure what sweeteners you could use, here are a few ideas:

  • Sure, you can use plain white table sugar.

  • You can also use raw sugar. Raw sugar is a slightly unprocessed sugar that has a flavor somewhere between brown sugar and table sugar.

  • Of course, there's also agave nectar, a great alternative for diabetics and those watching their sugar intake. It’s becoming more popular and can be found in most large grocery stores.

Now that you know the ins and outs of the mocha, you can create your own perfect, chocolate treat that is great on the go. And remember, we'd love to hear your own tips for making your favorite coffee drinks!