Get ready to embark on a caffeinated journey as we pit two irresistible espresso-based coffee drinks against each other: cappuccino and mocha.
These titans of the coffee world may seem similar at first glance, but hidden beneath the foam and chocolate lies a world of differences waiting to be explored.
In this article, we'll decode their unique ingredients and discover what makes each drink unique.
Whether you're a frothy foam fanatic or a chocolate lover, join us as we dive into the clash of cappuccino vs mocha. Your taste buds won't want to miss this!
A cappuccino is an espresso-based coffee drink made by combining equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. It is typically served by coffee shops in a 6-ounce ceramic cup (like porcelain) to help retain heat.
Depending on where you order your cappuccino, it may come with one or two shots of espresso.
Related Read: What is a Cappuccino? Everything You Need to Know!
A mocha is another delicious espresso-based beverage that combines the rich flavors of espresso with the indulgence of chocolate.
It is typically made by adding chocolate syrup or powdered cocoa to two shots of espresso, followed by steamed milk. Some baristas will even top it off with whipped cream.
The resulting drink boasts a delightful balance of the robustness of coffee and the sweetness of chocolate, making it a popular choice among coffee lovers who want something a little more decadent.
Mochas tend to come in 10-12 ounce cups, or even larger depending on the coffee shops that you frequent.
While both cappuccino and mocha are espresso-based beverages, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart:
Yes, the milk frothing technique definitely differs between a cappuccino and a mocha, resulting in distinct textures in the final drinks.
In a cappuccino, the milk froth should be a thick layer of velvety foam. This foam is an essential element of a cappuccino and should be approximately equal in volume to the steamed milk. The process involves aerating the milk with steam, creating small bubbles that give the cappuccino its characteristic creamy and light texture.
In a mocha, you also have milk froth, but the emphasis is more on achieving a creamy and smooth consistency rather than a distinct foam layer.
The goal is to create a thicker, velvety texture that melds harmoniously with the chocolate and espresso. This technique typically involves less aeration than in a cappuccino, resulting in a denser and more indulgent mouthfeel.
When it comes to flavor, “strength” can be subjective.
A cappuccino emphasizes the boldness and intensity of the espresso, balanced by the creamy texture of milk and foam. The espresso flavor is more pronounced in a cappuccino, giving it a stronger coffee taste.
On the other hand, a mocha incorporates the rich and sweet flavors of chocolate alongside the espresso. The chocolate mellows the perceived strength of the coffee, making the overall flavor profile a bit less intense.
If “strength” means a stronger coffee taste, then a cappuccino is definitely stronger!
In terms of caffeine content, both a mocha and a cappuccino usually contain the same amount of espresso. Cappuccinos and mochas can be made with 1 or 2 shots of espresso, but they are more commonly made now with two shots.
A double shot of espresso will have anywhere from 70 to 120 mg of caffeine in it. For reference, the FDA recommends a maximum of 400 mg of caffeine per day.
Since chocolate contains some caffeine, mochas might end up being a bit more caffeinated than cappuccinos. That being said, the difference won’t be that noticeable.
Mocha coffees are made with more milk than cappuccinos. Couple this with the addition of chocolate, and it’s very clear that a cappuccino is a healthier option as far as calorie intake and sugar are concerned.
This becomes even more true when baristas top their mochas off with a serious serving of whipped cream. Now that’s a sweet beverage!
If you are interested in making your cappuccino or mocha a bit healthier, try using non-dairy milk alternatives, such as oat or almond milk, to reduce the saturated fat content.
If you are concerned about your calorie intake, you should know that a cappuccino contains far fewer calories than a mocha.
The cappuccino is better for latte art compared to the mocha. Cappuccinos have a higher ratio of foam to milk compared to other espresso-based beverages. The foam layer on top provides a smooth canvas for creating intricate designs.
Mochas, on the other hand, typically have a thicker and denser texture due to the addition of chocolate. The consistency of the chocolate can interfere with the stability of the foam and may not lend itself as well to intricate patterns.
While it's not impossible to create latte art with a mocha, cappuccinos provide a more suitable base for baristas to showcase their artistic skills.
Pro Tip: If you want to increase the contrast between the milk and espresso in your latte art, add additional cocoa powder on top of the mixed espresso and chocolate syrup. Then add your milk.
There are a few other espresso-based drinks that share similarities with a cappuccino in terms of ingredients and preparation methods.
Several drinks are similar to mocha in terms of flavor profile or using ingredients like chocolate.
To make a cappuccino, you will need the following ingredients:
Steps to follow:
Did you know? If you are craving iced drinks, Freddo cappuccinos are a Greek variation of the cappuccino. They are made with cold foam and coffee over ice.
Related Read: How to Make Espresso: The Best Beginner’s Guide Online
To make a mocha, you will need the following ingredients:
Steps to follow:
Simply follow our above recipe, but pull the espresso shot(s), chocolate and milk into a mason jar containing ice cubes. Then shake the mason jar as if you were a bartender. Open the jar and top off with whipped cream.
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A cappuccino has a stronger coffee taste than a mocha due to less milk and no chocolate being added. Mochas tend to taste much sweeter with less of a coffee taste. Cappuccinos are also more bitter, due to the espresso flavor coming through more.
Yes, mochas have slightly more caffeine than cappuccinos.
Cappuccinos and mochas can be made with 1 or 2 shots of espresso. If they are made with the same amount of shots, then they will have the same amount of caffeine. However, the chocolate component in mochas means there will be a slightly higher level of caffeine content in a mocha. This is due to the cocoa beans that the chocolate was made from (remember, cocoa has caffeine as well!)
The main difference between a mocha and a mochaccino is that the former is prepared by adding chocolate powder or syrup to espresso and topping it with steamed milk. A mochaccino is prepared by adding espresso to chocolate milk. The difference is subtle, but it's there!
Alright, now you are an expert on the difference between a cappuccino and mocha.
Try your hand at making one of each of these popular drinks and let us know… which delicious espresso drink do you like better in the famous cappuccino vs mocha coffee dispute!