Learn how to make a mocha latte (AKA cafe mocha) in the comfort of your own home with my homemade easy recipe!
I don’t remember the first time I tasted a mocha. It was probably at a Starbucks or Caribou Coffee when I was 18 or so.
In general I am nonplussed about most chain coffee drinks, but, if my memory serves me well, I believe that I quite enjoyed it. It wasn’t extremely sweet like most specialty drinks.
I also can’t remember the first time I made my own cafe mocha, but I have made many since. The best part of making it yourself is you get to control exactly what goes into it. No mystery syrups here!
If you’re already in love with brewing your own lattes/coffee drinks, the only extra steps are stirring in chocolate and adding whipped cream.
If you’re having a relaxed morning/afternoon, I highly suggest you try my café mocha recipe out. You can make it with just a few basic ingredients.
Here’s What We’ll Cover in This Post:
A mocha latte (sometimes called a mochaccino) is simply a coffee latte with the addition of chocolate. The flavors of the coffee and chocolate meld almost seamlessly. You can get that chocolate flavor by adding either cocoa powder or a chocolate syrup.
Latte vs Mocha
A latte only requires shots of espresso plus steamed or frothed milk. A caffe mocha, on the other hand, is made from espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate. Think of a latte as coffee + milk, whereas a mocha is coffee + milk + chocolate.
I used simple ingredients in this recipe so you can make this at the drop of a hat!
- Cocoa powder (unsweetened, but see below for substitute)
- Maple syrup (or sweetener of choice – a liquid sweetener is best)
- Pure vanilla extract (this is optional, but a lovely flavor booster)
- Espresso (I’ll show you how to brew an espresso shot with or without a machine. Feel free to substitute very strong coffee if that’s all you have! Regular coffee will work as well if you don’t mind the coffee flavor being weaker.)
- Half and Half (use whole milk if you prefer a lighter drink)
- Heavy cream (for a decadent whipped cream topping)
I have included two ingredient lists in the printable recipe: one that’s milder and sweeter and one that’s more intense. Reuben enjoys his coffee soft and sweet, I like mine with a bit of a bite.
You can always experiment with the sweetener/milk levels until you get it just how you like it.
Okay, let me show you how to make a perfect mocha at home!
The steps for making a hot mocha are quite simple:
- Mix together the cocoa/chocolate mixture
- Brew the espresso/coffee
- Froth the milk
- Whip the cream (optional)
I’ll go over each step individually so you know exactly how to recreate one in your own kitchen.
The only special equipment you really need is a French press (or your preferred coffee brewing system).
It really is a simple recipe that you can make easily once you do it a time or two.
Note: Some links are affiliate. If you click a link and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This has zero impact on the price you pay, and it helps out Buttered Side Up!
Step 1: Chocolate Mixture
Take out your favorite mug (I recommend an 8 ounce mug).
Put the cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in the mug.
Whisk together to form a very smooth paste. I like to use a mini whisk for this.
If you prefer, you could use a homemade chocolate syrup/chocolate sauce instead of the cocoa/maple syrup mixture. This is great option for when you’re in a rush.
Or you could substitute a dark chocolate hot chocolate mix and leave out the sweetener.
Of course you could use melted chocolate like I do in my hot chocolate recipe, but that is more of a hassle.
Step 2: Brew the Espresso
First, I’ll show you how to brew the espresso for the mocha using an Aeropress, then I’ll show you how to do it using a French press and an espresso machine.
I’ll also show you how you can make approximately espresso strength coffee with instant coffee.
To make the espresso with an Aeropress, place a dampened paper filter into the filter basket and screw that onto the Aeropress.
Place 2.5 tablespoons of finely ground coffee into the chamber.
Pour 1.25 ounces of 175 degree F or 79 degrees C water on top.
Stir with the stir stick, and then plunge the Aeropress down.
This makes about half of an espresso shot. If you prefer a more punchy coffee flavor, you can double the amounts of water and coffee.
For the French press, add 2 T of finely ground coffee to the canister of the French press.
Pour 2 ounces or ¼ cup of 190 degree F or 87 degree C water on top.
Stir, and put the lid on but don’t plunge it down just yet.
Let it brew for 4 minutes, and then simply plunge it down and pour out the coffee.
Espresso is a tricky thing to define. It has to be “brewed” with specific temperatures, pressures, and amounts of coffee. I am by no means an expert at this.
You want to yield about 1 ounce of coffee in 20-30 seconds
Finding the proper ratio of ground coffee to water can be tricky. Each batch of espresso beans will require different amount of coffee to achieve the proper brew time.
My dad roasts his own beans, so those are the ones I typically use. I find that about 28 grams of beans yields good results, but perhaps I need to adjust my grind finer. It’s generally recommended that you use about 15-21 grams of grounds per double shot of espresso.
Weigh out your coffee.
Grind it finely into your porta filter.
Smooth the coffee out with your finger.
Tamp it down firmly. I have a spring loaded tamper to make it easier.
Now insert the porta filter onto the machine.
I actually like to make a ristretto by running a single amount of water through a double amount of coffee. This keeps the drink from being overwhelmed by the coffee flavor.
Instant Coffee “Espresso”
To make “espresso” with instant coffee, mix together 2-3 teaspoons of instant coffee with 2 tablespoons of hot water.
That’s it! So simple.
Now pour the hot coffee over the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.
Step 3: Froth the Milk
Without a Machine:
If you don’t have a steam frother, you’ll need to first heat your milk to 155°F (68°C).
Warm it over medium heat in a small pot on the stove.
My favorite methods for frothing the milk are using a French press, hand pump frother, or handheld stick frother.
Make sure to check out my How to Froth Milk Without a Machine video for more ideas!
With an Espresso Machine
To froth the milk with a machine, place the half and half/milk in the frothing pitcher.
Lower the wand into the milk, and then turn the steam on. Immediately pull the pitcher down until you hear a ripping paper sound.
After you hear the ripping sound for about 6-8 second, lower the wand back under the milk. Tilt the pitcher so you create a whirlpool.
Steam until the pitcher is too hot on the bottom to touch, or until the milk reaches about 145-155 degrees F (63-68 degrees C).
Step 4: Whip the Cream
This is optional, but adding a dollop of whipped cream makes it feel extra special.
I recommend using a handheld stick frother to whip the cream. Just put a tablespoon of whipping cream into a small glass. Whip for a minute or so. And that’s it!
Of course you could add a splash of maple syrup or vanilla extract if you like.
If you’re feeling extra fancy, you can sprinkle some chocolate shavings or cocoa powder on top.
If you want to make an iced mocha, make sure to check out my Mocha Frappuccino recipe!
Here’s a video tutorial in case you learn better that way!
- This recipe is for an 8 ounce mug. You could use a larger one, but it won’t be full.
- You can use either cold or fresh espresso. If you decide to use cold, make sure that your milk is piping hot.
- I actually don’t use a recipe most of the time when I make a mocha: I make it up as I go. Think of this recipe as a starting place and customize to your liking!
More Healthy Latte Recipes:
- Oat Milk Latte
- Pumpkin Spice Latte
- Dirty Chai Latte
- Matcha Cocoa
- Spiced Apple Tea Latte
- Sugar Free Matcha Latte
- Maple Pumpkin Spice Golden Milk Latte
- Homemade London Fog (Earl Grey) Latte
- Iced Matcha Latte
How to Make a Mocha Latte
It's easy to make a mocha latte at home with my simple recipe!
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons half and half (or whole milk)
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder (or cacao powder)
- 1/2 oz espresso (fresh or cold)
- 1/2 ounce maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- cocoa powder or chopped chocolate for garnish, optional
- 3/4 cup whole milk (or half and half)
- 3 teaspoons cocoa powder
- 4 teaspoons espresso fresh or cold
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream (for whipping)
- cocoa powder or chopped chocolate for garnish, optional
Place your half and half in a small pan and heat until steamy (155°F or 68°C).
To make the espresso with an Aeropress, place a dampened paper filter into the filter basket and screw that onto the Aeropress. Place 2.5 tablespoons of finely ground coffee into the chamber. Pour 1.25 ounces of 175 degree F or 79 degrees C water on top. Stir with the stir stick, and then plunge the Aeropress down.
Meanwhile, place your cocoa powder in your favorite mug. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir until you have a fairly thick, very smooth mixture. Pour in half of the espresso and stir. Stir in the remaining espresso.
Froth the hot milk using a handheld milk frother. Slowly pour the frothed milk into your mug. Whip your cream in a small bowl or cup with the milk frother until it's softly whipped. Spoon over your caffé mocha. Sprinkle with cocoa powder or chopped chocolate if desired. Enjoy!
Calories are calculated using whole milk. If using half and half, it's 340 calories.
To make approximately espresso strength coffee using a French press, add 2 T of finely ground coffee to the canister of the French press. Pour 2 ounces or 1/4 cup of 190 degree F or 87 degree C water on top. Stir, and put the lid on but don’t plunge it down just yet. Let it brew for 4 minutes, and then plunge it down and pour out the coffee.
To make approximately espresso strength coffee using instant coffee, place 2-3 teaspoons of instant coffee in a mug. Pour 2 tablespoons of hot water on top and stir.