Latte Vs Mocha Vs Cappuccino - What They Are And Their Differences

Latte Vs Mocha Vs Cappuccino – What They Are And Their Differences

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 21:43

When you compare three drinks, Latte Vs Mocha Vs Cappuccino you will get a better understanding of all three and, as a nice little bonus, a much greater understanding of how coffee works and the menu at your local coffee shop.

The quick answer, if you are looking for one, is a latte is milky and silky in texture, a mocha is rich and chocolatey and a cappuccino is strong, airy and bubbly.

Keep reading for the detailed answer!

Latte Vs Mocha Vs Cappuccino

Let’s look at these three coffee beverages, how they are made, to see how different these two drinks are:

  • Latte: An espresso based drink made with a shot of espresso and steamed whole fat milk using an espresso to milk ratio of 1:2. A latte is made with a silky microfoam topping which forms the base for latte art.
  • Mocha: like a latte, it is made with a high-quality espresso shot which forms one third of the drink. The remaining two thirds are made up of one third steamed whole milk and one third chocolate. Also has a fine layer of foam.
  • Cappuccino: A fun coffee drink that is composed of a shot of espresso, steamed milk and a large layer of milk foam on top. The espresso, milk and foam are in equal ratios. It is now becoming trendy for cappuccinos to have a little 3D latte art.

The result of the three drinks being made differently, despite having the same base ingredients of espresso, steamed milk and a milk foam topping, is they taste very different.

A latte is creamy with a milky taste and a rich silky texture with only light tastes of coffee piercing past the milk. A mocha, with a much closer ratio of milk and espresso, has a more pronounced taste of coffee and that final third, chocolate, balances the espresso, making a very rich and decadent tasting coffee combines with a rich chocolate flavor.

When made perfectly, neither the chocolate nor coffee dominate a mocha.

A cappuccino has a strong tasting coffee due to the 1:1 ratio of the coffee and milk. The dry foam topping of microfoam gives a light airy and bubbly mouthfeel and has become the subject of some amazing 3D latte art.

Let’s get to the core details of each of the three drinks.

Latte Vs Mocha Vs Cappuccino
A Latte With Latte Art

Read: Difference between a mocha and latte

What Is A Latte?

A latte, also known as a café latte and caffé latte, is a milk coffee with dark roasted quality espresso beans, steamed whole milk and a fabulous layer of microfoam which gives the drink a smooth texture and forms the canvas for latte art.

A latte is known as being one of the most customizable espresso drinks, if not the most customizable coffee drinks – period.

(I’ll get to that in a jiffy, hang on!).

What Is A Latte Made Of?

A latte consists of a single or double shot of espresso, steamed milk and a lovely layer of microfoam. Traditionally, it is whole fat milk that is used; however, this is, thanks to the third wave of coffee, just one way of customizing your latte.

Latte Customizations

A latte, as I alluded to, can be fully customized in an almost infinite number of ways, including the coffee beans used. Obviously, high quality coffee beans will produce a better tasting coffee; cheap coffee beans simply don’t get that same great tasting premium quality specialty beans.

Due to the high milk content, it is best that you use a dark roast to have the flavor cut through the milk.

A popular customization to a latte is to add a diverse range of spices, including (but not limited to):

  • 1. Star anise.
  • 2. Cinnamon.
  • 3. Ginger spice.
  • 4. Cardamom.
  • 5. Pumpkin Spice.
  • 6. Nutmeg.
  • 7. Turmeric.
  • 8. Vanilla.

Popular customizations also include the use of a wide range of dairy products and alternative milks. The traditional latte is made using whole milk, but the kinds of milk used include all variations that you can think of including whole fat cows milk, low fat, non-fat and various creams including heavy cream, half-and-half cream, low fat cream and even whipped cream.

Creamy milk gives a richer mouthfeel and is better for frothing.

Other types of milk used, include oat milk, coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk, hemp milk and goat milk.

I’d love it (literally I insist!) if you send us a message on our cool coffee community and tell us all about the alternative milks that you have tried or seen in your country for use in a latte or other coffee drinks.

Flavored syrups!

There are flavored syrups that you can use in your latte, the options are quite literally limitless. Popular options include apple, vanilla, caramel, salted caramel, hazelnut, toffee nut, cinnamon dolce, peppermint and more.

Syrups are infinite as they are so easy to make your own.

And then there is your choice of sugars and alternative sweeteners which also have an impact on the flavor. Stevia, honey, agave, coconut sugar and brown sugar are all good choices as it the Asian classic, black sugar.

All these items, from syrups, sugars, milk and spices can be combined if you so wish, which make for hundreds if not thousands of possible variations of humble latte.

Is Mocha Sweet Or Bitter
A Latte Is Highly Customizable

Read: Breve Vs Latte 

What Is A Mocha?

A mocha, also known as a café mocha and a caffé mocha, is an abbreviation of mocha latte and is very similar to both a latte and a cappuccino. It’s made with a shot of espresso, steamed milk and chocolate in equal ratios of 1:1:1.

There are many variations of a mocha due to the different ways in which the chocolate component can be added.

  • Chocolate Syrup.
  • Chocolate Sauce.
  • Chunks Of Chocolate Melted Into The Steamed Milk.
  • Cocoa powder.

Like a latte, the better the coffee and using quality chocolate and quality coffee beans will result in a better tasting mocha.

Mocha Customizations

A mocha, like a latte, can be customized and will depend a little on your culinary and coffee creativity.

I’d absolutely love to hear about your own mocha creations.

Here are some that I have tried or made myself:

  • Peppermint Mocha: A menu hack at Starbucks! As for a mocha with a pump or two of peppermint syrup. Get it right, and you have a liquid version of those after eight dinner mints.
  • Chocolate Orange: I made the orange syrup myself and added it to a mocha. Tasted like a Terry’s chocolate orange. Lovely!
  • Coconut Mocha: You can hack the menu at Starbucks for this by requesting your mocha is made with coconut milk. Making coconut syrup and coconut milk works best. At home, add some coconut shaving to the drink, and it emulates a bounty bar.
  • White Chocolate Mocha: Available at Starbucks and a great change to the deep and decadent dark chocolate mocha.

There are many more, those are my favorites.

You can go “all in” and try an original mocha which is made with mocha beans, a type of arabica coffee beans that were originally cultivated in the city of Mocha in Yemen. When doing so, use high quality chocolate, the best quality you can find and the best quality whole milk. It’s a delightful treat.

Mocha java coffee beans from the leading brand Volcania, is what I suggest.

Latte Vs Cappuccino Vs Mocha Vs Macchiato
Mocha And Marshmallow, Nice!

Read: Latte Vs Mocha

Is Mocha Sweet Or Bitter?

Mocha is a sweet tasting beverage due to the natural sugars in both the milk and the chocolate content. Even though it is common for people to add sugar to this drink, it is not really necessary.

Most people will find it to be sweet enough as it is served without the need to add any sugar or alternative sweetener.

What Is A Cappuccino?

A cappuccino is a strong coffee drink with a more prominent coffee taste than a latte and a mocha due to the equal ratio of espresso to milk and not being masked by chocolate.

It’s strong and has a light and airy texture due to the pillow of fluffy microfoam that makes up 1/3rd of this drink.

A cappuccino has a few variations. The one that we are all familiar with when we think of this drink is a regular cappuccino, also known as an Italian cappuccino.

  • Dry Cappuccino: A dry cappuccino made with less steamed milk and more foam, slightly altering the 1:1:1 ratios.
  • Bone Dry Cappuccino: also known as an extra dry cappuccino made with espresso and 2/3rd milk foam. No steamed milk is used, hence the name bone dry.
  • Wet Cappuccino: Also known as a regular or Italian cappuccino. Made with espresso, steamed milk and foam in equal ratios.
  • Extra Wet Cappuccino: A cappuccino made with more steamed milk and less foam.

Other variations include a cappuccino being made with whipped cream or heavy cream, known as a Viennese Cappuccino or a Kapuziner.

Latte Vs Cappuccino Vs Mocha Vs Macchiato

These four coffee drinks taste different, look different, and are made slightly different, but all have the same two or three ingredients.

  • Latte: One of the most popular coffee drinks. Made with a single or double shot of espresso and twice as much steamed milk as espresso with a thin layer of milk foam.
  • Cappuccino: A popular Italian coffee drink with an espresso base, steamed milk and milk froth in equal amounts. Often has a sprinkle of cocoa or cinnamon on top.
  • Mocha: A tasty coffee drink made with 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk and 1/3 chocolate.
  • Macchiato: A strong coffee drink with an espresso base and a tiny 5 ml teaspoon splash of milk.

While milk dominates a latte, producing a very milky tasting coffee drink with light coffee flavor breaking the surface. A cappuccino has greater presence and pronounced espresso flavor from the espresso base, which is balanced perfectly with the milk content and lovely fun, airy mouthfeel, which is a stark contrast to the rich velvety mouthfeel of a latte.

A mocha, a drink for coffee lovers and chocolate lovers where the coffee and chocolate are in harmony, in unison with neither dominating the beverage. It’s decadent and delightful.

A macchiato has a very strong presence of espresso with the sharp edges of the bitter notes and acidity clipped due to the milk content.

Latte Vs Cappuccino Vs Mocha Vs Macchiato
A Small Cappuccino With Cocoa Dusting

Which Is Stronger Mocha Or Cappuccino?

The stronger of these two coffees is a cappuccino. The flavor of the espresso base is more dominant and noticeable even for a beginner coffee drinker.

In terms of caffeine content, it is a mocha that has the stronger caffeine punch but only slightly. The caffeine kick from a mocha is a much better one due to the calming effect of the chocolate and thus a mocha is better when you are working or studying.

Is Latte Sweeter Than Cappuccino?

Lattes are milkier and sweeter than a cappuccino due to the extra milk content and additional milk sugars, lactose. Sipping a cappuccino and a latte, you will notice that the sweeter of the two drinks is a latte.

Frequently Asked Questions About Latte Vs Mocha Vs Cappuccino

What Is The Difference Between Mocha Latte And Cappuccino?

The difference between a mocha latte and a cappuccino is the inclusion of chocolate sauce. A mocha latte is made with espresso, steamed milk and chocolate sauce. A cappuccino is made with espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk froth in equal amounts. The two coffee drinks have different levels of sweetness; a mocha latte is the sweeter of the two beverages.

A mocha latte differs slightly from a latte for the same reason. It is effectively a latte with chocolate sauce or chocolate syrup, usually dark chocolate unless stated. It is one of the most popular coffee drinks.

 Both drinks have a shot of espresso as their base and an equal amount of steamed milk. A mocha has hot chocolate and only a small layer of microfoam while a cappuccino has no chocolate added to the drink and has a pillow of milk foam on top. The rich sweetness and chocolate taste makes a mocha a popular choice among coffee lovers.

 A mocha is stronger than a latte with a slightly higher caffeine content due to the additional caffeine that the chocolate content brings to the drink. A latte is a creamy drink with a very light coffee taste.

A mocha is sweeter than both a latte and a cappuccino. Of the three, it is the cappuccino that has the more pronounced coffee flavor due to its reduced amount of milk. The sweetness from a mocha comes from both the milk lactose and the chocolate.

No, a mocha and a latte have a slightly different espresso to milk ratio. It is a very similar in terms of the coffee taste and hot milk when you try it prior to adding the chocolate. The base of espresso and milk is like a step between a cappuccino and a latte. It’s delight for chocolate lovers that enjoy coffee too.

To be exactly like a latte it would need to have twice as much milk as it has espresso, which is not the case with a mocha.

Which Is Tastier Cappuccino Or Latte?

A cappuccino has stronger coffee flavor, rich sweetness of the milk and can have a hint of a chocolate flavor when a dusting of cocoa powder is added, which is fairly common.

Final Thoughts – Latte Vs Mocha Vs Cappuccino

In the little brew battle of Latte Vs Mocha Vs Cappuccino you are now much better informed regarding these three coffee drinks after having read this far.

Which of these three drinks do you like and when?

For the latte lovers – how do you customize your latte?

Join our cool coffee community and let us know. Find us on Facebook/Meta.

Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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