espresso mocha

Are you a coffee lover who wants to know the key differences between three classic coffee drinks - espresso, latte, and mocha? In this post, we're decoding the milk, espresso, and chocolate used, the brewing methods, and the taste profiles of these three drinks. Get ready to discover your new favorite coffee drink and become an expert in coffee choices!


Origin and History

Espresso, a popular coffee beverage, traces its origins back to Italy in the early 20th century. At that time, the desire for a faster way of making coffee led inventors to develop the espresso machine, which uses pressurized boiling water to extract a bold and intense coffee flavor quickly.

Coffee Beans and Brewing Process

In making an espresso, coffee beans are usually medium or dark roasted to produce a robust flavor. These beans are ground to a fine consistency, placed in a filter held within a portafilter, and tightly packed to facilitate water flow through the grounds. The brewing process involves forcing hot water, typically at around 195°F, through the compacted coffee grounds at high pressure, extracting a concentrated coffee called espresso.

Taste and Intense Flavor

Espresso is characterized by its intense flavor, with a strong, slightly bitter taste that distinguishes it from other coffee beverages. Traditionally, the ideal shot of espresso contains a golden-brown crema layer on top, resulting from the extraction of the coffee's oils, and contributes to its rich flavor profile. The taste of espresso is further impacted by factors such as the type of coffee beans used, the roast level, and the brewing process.

In summary, espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage that originated in Italy and is made using medium to dark roasted coffee beans. The brewing process involves utilizing high pressure and hot water to extract a bold and intense flavor, suitable for those looking for a stronger coffee experience.


Origin and History

The latte originated from Italy, where it's known as "caffè latte" which translates to "milk coffee." It became popular in the United States in the 1980s, where it's now a staple on café menus everywhere.

Components and Preparation

Lattes consist of three main components: espresso, steamed milk, and a small layer of milk foam. To prepare a latte, an espresso shot is first poured into a cup, followed by steamed milk. The milk is heated and frothed using a steam wand in order to create a smooth texture. The steamed milk is then poured into the cup with the espresso and is topped with a dollop of foam.

Steamed Milk and Foam

  • Steamed Milk: Steamed milk is an integral part of latte preparation. The milk is typically heated to around 150°F (65°C) using a steam wand on an espresso machine. This process helps to create a creamy, smooth texture in the milk while also enhancing its natural sweetness.
  • Foam: The foam in a latte is created by the same steam wand used to heat the milk. The wand is held near the surface of the milk, which introduces air into it and forms tiny bubbles. This creates a dense foam layer that is usually around ¼-inch (0.6 cm) thick in a latte. The foam not only adds to the presentation but also provides a contrasting texture to the drink.

In summary, a latte is an espresso-based beverage with origins in Italy. It contains espresso, steamed milk, and a thin layer of milk foam, which are combined to create a creamy, smooth drink that is enjoyed by many around the world.


Origin and History

The origins of mocha can be traced back to the port city of Mocha in Yemen. Mocha coffee beans are native to this region and are renowned for their distinct flavor profile, which often includes notes of chocolate, fruity accents, and a hint of spice. Over time, mocha gradually evolved into the espresso-based drink that is now enjoyed worldwide.

Coffee and Chocolate Blend

Mochas are a delightful combination of coffee, chocolate, and milk. The blend creates a rich and creamy drink that pleases both coffee and chocolate enthusiasts. A standard mocha recipe comprises two shots of espresso, two ounces of hot chocolate, and one ounce of steamed milk. The result is a caffeinated beverage with more strength than a latte, and a slightly bolder taste than a cappuccino.

Addition of Cocoa Powder and Sugar

Cocoa powder and sugar are fundamental elements of a mocha. They are primarily responsible for imparting the drink's signature sweet and chocolatey flavor. The addition of cocoa powder and sugar distinguishes a mocha from a latte by providing an extra layer of sweetness and indulgence.

Adding chocolate to the drink also impacts its nutritional content. Mochas typically contain more calories than a standard latte, due to the inclusion of sugar and chocolate. However, it is essential to remember that the nutritional values of these beverages may vary, depending on factors such as serving sizes and optional additions like whipped cream.

In summary, mochas are espresso-based drinks that originate from the port city of Mocha in Yemen. Their enticing blend of coffee, chocolate, and milk creates a rich beverage that caters to both coffee and chocolate lovers. The addition of cocoa powder and sugar lends a unique sweetness, which distinguishes it from other coffee drinks like lattes. While mochas are more calorific than lattes, their extra indulgence is often worth the trade-off for a satisfying and flavorful treat.

Comparing Espresso, Latte, and Mocha


Espresso: A pure espresso is simply made of finely ground coffee beans and hot water, with the water being forced through the grounds using high pressure. This results in a concentrated, rich coffee flavor.

Latte: A latte combines one or more shots of espresso with steamed milk and a small amount of foam. The proportions are typically 1/6 espresso, 4/6 steamed milk, and 1/6 foamed milk.

Mocha: A mocha is similar to a latte but includes the addition of chocolate sauce, which is blended with the espresso before the steamed milk is added. It's often topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings or sprinkles.

Flavor Profile

Espresso: The flavor profile of an espresso is bold, robust, and rich. The brewing process extracts the intense flavors present in the coffee beans for a concentrated taste.

Latte: The latte has a more balanced, smoother taste, as the espresso is diluted with steamed milk. This results in a velvety, creamy coffee drink preferred by those who enjoy milder flavors without sacrificing the coffee taste.

Mocha: The mocha adds sweetness from the chocolate sauce, making it a popular choice for those who prefer sweet coffee beverages. Despite the added sweetness, it still retains a hint of the espresso's robust flavor.

Caffeine Content

Based on a 12-ounce serving:

  • Espresso: A standard single-shot espresso contains around 64 mg of caffeine.
  • Latte: A latte typically includes one shot of espresso, resulting in a caffeine content of about 75 mg per 12-ounce serving.
  • Mocha: A mocha has more caffeine than a latte since the chocolate used in the sauce also contains caffeine. A 12-ounce mocha has approximately 95 mg of caffeine.

In summary, each of these espresso-based beverages offers a different experience in terms of ingredients, flavor, and caffeine content. While the bold flavor of a pure espresso appeals to some, others prefer the smoother taste of a latte or the sweet addition of chocolate in a mocha. If you’re keen on delivering these delicious beverages to a larger audience or thinking of opening your own café, it's essential to invest in the right equipment. Check out our commercial espresso machine collection to find the perfect espresso maker for commercial use. With a commercial quality espresso machine, you can ensure that every cup you serve is as flavorful and authentic as it should be.

Similar Coffee Drinks


Cappuccinos are a popular espresso-based drink, made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk. Most often, it is topped with a sprinkle of cocoa powder or cinnamon, giving it a rich flavor and attractive appearance. The frothed milk on top creates a creamy and delightful texture that distinguishes cappuccinos from other espresso-based drinks.

Cappuccinos and lattes are quite similar, both containing espresso and steamed milk. However, the main difference lies in the milk-to-espresso ratio and the frothed milk present in cappuccinos. Lattes have a higher milk ratio, making them creamier and milder in flavor, while cappuccinos offer a more balanced taste between the bold espresso and smooth milk.


A frappe is a cold coffee drink, originally hailing from Greece. It is made using brewed coffee or instant coffee, water, sugar, and ice. These ingredients are typically blended together, resulting in a frothy, refreshing beverage. Depending on personal preferences, frappes can be served with milk or whipped cream, making them an ideal choice for hot days or when a chillier, sweeter drink is desired.

Frappe differentiates itself from other espresso drinks like lattes and mochas not only by being a cold beverage but also by using brewed coffee instead of espresso. Additionally, frappes often have a higher sweetness level compared to traditional espresso drinks.

In summary, cappuccinos, lattes, and mochas are all espresso-based drinks with varying ratios of milk and additional flavorings. Cappuccinos have a balanced milk-to-espresso ratio with frothed milk on top, lattes are creamier with more milk, and mochas incorporate chocolate for a sweet twist. On the other hand, frappes are a cold, frothy, and often sweeter option, made with brewed coffee instead of espresso.

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Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

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