What Is A Mocha? A Full Guide + Recipes for Beginners

what is a mocha

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You just joined the coffee club but still don’t know what is a mocha!

No shame! This post will help you to learn a little about the popular drink!

By the end of this article, you’ll be able to order a mocha coffee, without needing any more help!

Without any further ado, let me explain in simple plain English what is a mocha.

What Is a Mocha?

Mocha, short for mochaccino, is a delicious blend of coffee and cocoa.

Multiple variations exist for this drink, but the most common one includes a shot of espresso, steamed milk with foam on top, and melted chocolate.

However, variations include chocolate sauces (or simply melted chocolate) poured over the drink, or substituting frothed milk for espresso.

The proper pronunciation is [moh´-kah].

But if you want to fit better in your new coffee club, don’t hesitate to use the [moh-kah] variation (which would be how it sounds like in the United States).

The variations come from the fact that you’re mixing two different words: mocha and caffè.

What Does Mocha Mean?

The word “mocha” comes from the name of a port city in Yemen, Mocha.

The drink was first named like this after the coffee beans that were first shipped from there and one of the main ports for its trade.

Over time, the pronunciation changed and we ended up with mochaccino!

Mocha or Mocha?

Most people prefer to use “mocha” for both written and spoken language.

But some people prefer to write “mochaccino” (because of the spelling), so I’ll be using both versions throughout this article.

A bit of trivia: the word “mochaccino” is commonly used in the US, while most other English-speaking countries prefer to use “mocha”.

So if you’re American, don’t worry if you feel like you’re being too formal by saying “mochaccino”! Coffee with Cocoa

At this point, you might be wondering why people mix cocoa into their coffee.

Coffee and cocoa are natural friends.

It’s a very common thing to give a child chocolate to help them have a good night’s rest.

Coffee contains antioxidants, which have been found to be helpful for health and can prevent many diseases.

For example, coffee can help minimize the risk of liver cancer, diabetes and hypertension.

And cocoa is traditionally used as an aid for sleep and to improve skin health.

In other words, it will make you feel calmer and more relaxed! Mmmm… Chocolate

Alcohols are also often added to coffee drinks.

This is due to chocolate being a rich source of sugar that can enhance the flavor of coffee greatly.

So if you like your coffee drinks with some alcohol, then don’t hesitate to order one!

It will only make the drink taste better!

You’ll love it!

History of the Mocha

If you already consider yourself a mochaccino connoisseur and you want to go even further, here’s an article that will describe how mochas used to be.

After the independence of Yemen, coffee plantations were growing throughout the country.

The city of Mocha became one of the main ports of Yemen, exporting coffee beans and other products such as spices and textiles.

Coffee was also exported from this port to Europe, where it found many fans!

The drink was also very popular in Africa and Southeast Asia, where it is still enjoyed in local cultures today!

Coffee in Europe

Over time, coffee came to North America with European settlers. Today, it is consumed throughout the world as the warm drink of the day!

However, mocha was not taken to North America. This beverage became popular in several different regions of Yemen after a few decades.

In Yemen, it became a simple coffee with cocoa mixed into it. In addition to being boiled or steamed, coffee with cocoa was also used for baking purposes.

This is why it is commonly served with a bit of chocolate on top, as a treat!

In the United States

In the late 19th century, Mocha was brought to the United States and introduced to many people who lived there.

This new drink made it into the hearts of many Americans who enjoyed drinking coffee.

After all, what is not better than a delicious mocha with some hot chocolate?

In this country, the “American” pronunciation became most common.

However, for most people in England and Scotland (where most people speak English), “mochaccino” is still used.

The Meaning of Mocha

The name of the drink means “black coffee” in Arabic.

Therefore, this name was especially suitable for people who would use it, since coffee is usually consumed with no sugar or milk!

As for reasons why it is called mocha, the most common one is because it has a chocolate taste to it.

However, there are more popular theories surrounding this name.

Some believe that the beverage was named after Mocha’s port of origin.

There are even people who say that “mocha” comes from the Spanish word for “coffee mixed with cocoa”.

In any case, the fact that it is a mixture of coffee and cocoa is what makes it a very delicious drink.

What Is A Mocha Really Made Of?

A typical mocha includes hot steamed milk, chocolate sauce or melted chocolate, and a shot of espresso.

However, the European version only includes cocoa since there is no espresso in the drink.

On the other hand, you’ll get an optional shot of ristretto coffee for an extra charge if you order from Starbucks.

The serving size is usually one or two cups.

That’s because the large sizes are too much for most people to finish it in one sitting!

So if you want to order this for more than three people, then I suggest that you share the large mocha instead of ordering one that is too big.

The price of a mocha varies greatly depending on the serving size, the location where it is sold (coffee shops, restaurants, bars) and even if it is only offered at certain times of the day.

Therefore, please check with your location before ordering.

Mocha is often offered at a discounted price on various occasions, so keep your eyes open for these events! Are you ready to enjoy the best mocha of your life?

But before I show you cool recipes, there are some things you need to know about it!

What is the Coffee Used in Mochas?

The most popular coffee beans used in mocha drinks are Medium-to-Dark Roast Arabica blends.

For example, Costa Rica blends with chocolate flavor.

Ideally, these coffees should be Brazilian or Colombian. This is due to these beans having an ideal flavor that mixes well with cocoa.

However, coffee shops may sometimes offer other types of coffee other than Arabica if they are being used to prepare hot cocoa.

For example, Robusta beans are very suitable for this purpose since their flavor is considered to be stronger.

And guess what? This type of bean is often used in instant coffees, which you wouldn’t be able to tell if you didn’t know about it!

I have heard that mocha makers have even used Kona beans in the past due to their famous chocolate flavor.

But you know how popular they are. Therefore, I would only drink those if I was used to them!

Also, be careful with your serving temperature and the temperature of the hot water you use to make it.

This can make a big difference in the flavor! Also, remember that some blends tend to produce strong coffee flavors.

Therefore, it is important that you don’t go overboard and brew coffee all day long.

How To Drink A Mocha – The Proper Way

As I said earlier, mochas do not have milk or sugar added to them.

Therefore, it is important that you follow these steps when enjoying a mocha:

First, pour some hot water into a coffee cup and wait for it to cool down (about 30 seconds).

Then, add the chocolate and stir enough to mix it.

You can use a spoon or even your own hands if you prefer that way. Next, add the milk and stir again.

Normally with this procedure, one should make sure they don’t mix the sugar in with the chocolate sauce (since most times it already has sugar).

But you may add your own sugar (if desired) and add it. If you like, add ice cubes to dilute the coffee even more.

However, some people choose not to add ice or milk at all. If this is the case, make sure that you drink it quickly while it is hot and enjoy your drink while it’s hot!

Can You Make Mocha At Home?

Yes, of course! It’s easy and delicious!

All you need is: a small saucepan or a coffee machine, milk (whole milk or steamed milk), chocolate sauce/melt chocolate/chocolate chips and espresso.

Put the water in the pot with the chocolate sauce and gently cook until they melt.

Then, put the milk and stir slowly. The mixture must be warm enough, but not too hot.

Add the espresso and stir gently one more time.

And if you want to make a mocha with a kick, all you need is a shot of espresso and a scoop of chocolate ice cream!

How To Make A Mocha In A Blender?

To do this, first heat the water before adding the chocolate powder.

It’s the only way that the ingredients will mix well. Then, pour the milk and mix carefully.

Don’t forget to put some ice cubes in it if you don’t want to drink it immediately!

The Mocha Family

After knowing all these facts about mocha, let’s see some ways to enjoy this tasty drink!

I have tried a variety of recipes and found them all delicious, so I am excited to share them with you! So let’s get started with our first recipe…

No.1: With a Little Help From a Friend…

I found this idea on the internet and it is really simple and easy to do! You just need:

1.5 cups of whole milk. If you use non-organic milk, then I suggest you use a local brand such as “Udderly Fresh” since it is organic and cruelty-free.

Otherwise, most milk brands are most likely not vegan or vegetarian friendly.

3 tbsp of cocoa powder with double chocolate flavor (if using Hershey’s or Nestle brand for a better result, then please use the dark cocoa powder).

I prefer to use Hershey’s milk chocolate since it gives a richer taste to my mocha.

1 shot of espresso coffee. The best way to get this is to use a Nespresso capsule, but if you don’t have one, then some local coffee shops may have them.

Optional: Sugar or Stevia.

If you are using Nestle or Hershey’s chocolate, then I recommend that you add your own sugar since these two chocolates are already sweetened.

I also added 1-2 tsp of sugar because I didn’t want my mocha to be too sweet.

  1. Add the cocoa powder and ice cubes in a blender and blend it until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. If you use hot water, then you can skip this step and simply heat the milk to make sure everything mixes well.
  2. Pour the milk into a tall glass or tall mug (if using double shot or espresso, then you might want to pour 4 ounces instead of 8). Then top with your favorite ice cubes (I like using small ice cubes as it makes it look nice)! If using sugar, then add one tsp for each cup of milk (or your personal preference).
  3. Finally, pour the espresso coffee into the mocha and drink it while it is still hot!

No. 2: For Adults Only…

I love chocolate liquor since it gives your mocha a richer taste.

The most popular choices are Kahlua or Godiva, which are both delicious, but remember to serve with ice coffee if you want to drink it quickly.

I used Godiva for this recipe since I love chocolate liquor with his cappuccinos! Here are the ingredients you’ll need for your drink:

1 cup of milk (coconut milk is preferred). If you choose to use another type of milk, then make sure that you heat it first so that everything mixes well.

1 tbsp of cocoa powder with dark chocolate flavor. I personally prefer to use Hershey’s dark cocoa powder, since I can drink my mocha without any sugar.

1 tbsp of chocolate liquor. The best choices are Kahlua, Godiva or Frangelico brand.

Optional: Sugar or Stevia to your taste.

If you want to use your own sugar, then please dissolve it before using this recipe.

However, if you want a stronger flavor, then don’t add anything extra since the liquor is already sweetened with a small amount of sugar.

Ice cubes (if you don’t want to drink it right away, then make sure you add ice cubes in it).

First, pour the chocolate liquor and cocoa powder in a tall glass or mug.

You can also use hot water if you want to skip the first step.

Then, stir the mixture until it turns into a light brown color (if your chocolate liquor is not sweetened yet, then you might need to add one tsp of sugar).

Pour milk into that blend and stir until all the ingredients are well mixed.

Finally, add ice cubes and enjoy your mocha!

No. 3: For Kids…

I have a lot of fun when my friends come over with their little ones.

It’s especially fun when they get to drink their own little mocha, oh the joy! Here are some fun ingredients you’ll need for your little ones’ mocha:

Tiny milk (the smallest milk that you can find). If you don’t like milk (like I do), then mix it with some sweetened or unsweetened cocoa powder. Don’t use chocolate syrup since it might be very sugary.

1 tbsp of sugar. If using sugar, then please make sure that the temperature of the milk is not too hot when mixing it because this recipe can become very bitter when too much heat is added.

Ice cubes.

Pour the milk in a tall, tall glass or mug (if you don’t mind drinking it quickly, then you can just pour 3 ounces of milk since the ingredients are very small).

Then, pour your desired amount of sugar into it. You can even use Stevia.

Then, stir the mixture until all the sugar is dissolved. Finally, add ice cubes and enjoy!

No. 4: For Kids Again…

You may also want to look at this cute mocha made by my sister!

It’s quite simple since she used Nestle chocolate for her recipe (I love shopping for Nestle products since they are vegan and cruelty free).

2-3 tbsp of milk (coconut milk is the most preferred).

1 tsp of cocoa powder with double chocolate flavor. I prefer to use the dark cocoa powder, but if you want to use Hershey’s or Nestle brand, then you would need the light cocoa powder since they are already sweetened.

Optional: Sugar or Stevia. If using sugar, then please dissolve it before using this recipe.

1 shot of espresso coffee. The best way to get this is to use a Nespresso capsule, but if you don’t have one, then some local coffee shops may have them.

Pour the chocolate liberally into a tall glass, mug or a small bowl.

If you want to use double chocolate flavor from Nestle, then you can add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder instead of 3 tbsp.

Then, pour the milk into that blend and stir until all the ingredients are well mixed. You can also add ice cubes for a chilled mocha!

How To Order A Mocha The Proper Way

Now, if you are new to ordering a great mocha, then here’s some tips for you!

First of all, ask the barista if the mocha is made with any free refined sugar.

Most of the time, you’ll encounter cafés that use liquid sugar or liquid sucralose in their recipes.

You can always order your mocha with extra flavor or extra cocoa powder if the liquid variety is too sweet for you.

If you are ever bored with your favorite mocha recipes, then ask for some extra toppings: whip cream and cold milk foam will be a great addition to your coffee. This is an optional way to make your mocha taste better.

Don’t Like Milk? Great! Try These Options Instead

What if you’re lactose intolerant, vegan or just don’t like milk?

Well, there are still options available for you!

Most of the mochas that I mentioned above can be substituted with another type of non-dairy milk.

For example, if you want to use almond milk instead of regular cow’s milk, then you can ask for your favorite recipe with it.

The best part is that all the recipes above are great with any type of non-dairy milks!

You can even mix your favorite type of non-dairy milk together for a different flavor.

If you want your mocha to be sweeter, then avoid using sweetened non-dairy milk like soy milk.

The perfect way to truly enjoy your mocha is to order it with ice cubes!

If you don’t want to wait for the coffee or beverage, then make sure that you ask for it with ice cubes.

They will cause the beverage to become cold faster.

Bottomline

Now I’m sure you won’t ask again “what is a mocha”? right?!

A mocha can sure be a great drink to have especially if you’re having a rough day.

Whether you’re at home, work or school, the best way to drink your mocha with pleasure is to make it unique by adding your personal touch!

You can use any of the recipes above, or you can ask the barista for an original drink that is made just for you.

Just make sure to identify yourself so they can create it exactly how you want!

If you have tried any other mocha recipe, let me know so I can try it too! I’m sure it will be one great drink if you made your own mocha.

Share the best mocha recipes below in the comments section.

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