Being the two of the best espresso-based drinks, mocha and cappuccino are the dreams of every coffee aficionado. One is the best beverage for those who want to taste chocolate and coffee at the same time, and the other appeals to people who expect a balanced taste and delightful microfoam from their coffee.
Yet, it can be difficult to tell these two classics apart if you aren’t a coffee aficionado. Believe me, when I first started to explore the rich world of coffee, the first thing I asked my friend was “Is mocha and cappuccino the same?”
But, worry not, my friends!
I prepared this guide to help you understand better what cappuccino and mocha are and differences between them.
Buckle up and let’s go on a journey!
What is Cappuccino?
Cappuccino is an espresso-based drink that is famous worldwide for its frothy top which consists of milk foam and espresso’s crema. Its layer of microfoam is what makes cappuccino special as latte art is formed there.
Besides its frothy top that is easy on the eye, cappuccino also has a reputation built off of its ratio called rule of thirds. It means that when preparing a cappuccino, your barista would probably follow a unique 1:1:1 ratio; 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 espresso, and 1/3 micro foamed milk. I’ve even witnessed my friend, who is a truly gifted barista, preparing a cappuccino just by feeling its weight in hand.
When you prepare your cappuccino, the first thing you’ll notice would be its balanced taste. It has a slight milk taste which enhances espresso’s flavor. Neither milk nor espresso suppress each other’s taste, instead they complement each other and mix in harmony.
Overall, the result is a coffee which turns your usual espresso experience into something exciting by adding fresh milk into formula.
What is Mocha?
Just like the cappuccino, mocha has milk in it too, but it’s mostly known for something else, something delicious: chocolate!
Being the perfect fit for both chocolate and coffee lovers, mocha is actually a type of coffee bean from Yemen. These beans have an innate chocolaty flavor which is simply delicious. Some baristas, however, might add a little chocolate or chocolate sauce to the recipe so as to strengthen the chocolate’s taste.
Remember how important the ratio was while preparing a cappuccino? Well, it’s more important than ever in the mocha’s recipe. Baristas usually follow the 2:2:1 ratio; 2 shots of espresso, 2oz hot chocolate, and 1oz steamed milk.
In addition, baristas use a variety of components to make the layer on the top. While some of them use cinnamon dusting for the top layer, typically whipped cream is used. I’ve even seen dropping dragées on top of mocha, it was unexpectedly delicious.
At the end of the preparation process, you’ll have a beverage which has both chocolate and espresso flavors, but both balanced. You can taste the chocolate flavor and shots of espresso explicitly.
Long story short, mocha is the perfect fit for those who likes chocolatey flavors in their coffee. If you want to learn further about mocha, you can check out our article!
Differences Between Cappuccino and Mocha
Now that we’ve explained cappuccino and mocha briefly, we can start comparing cappuccino and mocha.
When we say cappuccino and mocha’s differences, the first thing that comes to our mind is their size.
Cappuccino is usually served in 5-6oz (150-180ml) cups in coffee shops. As it has a plenty more amount of milk and milk froth in it compared to mocha, cappuccino tends to be bigger in size.
Mocha, however, is much smaller than cappuccino with its 2-3oz (60-90ml) size.
Bear in mind these figures can change from coffee shop to coffee shop as it’s up to the barista ultimately, these are just average numbers.
Chocolate or Milk
This particular difference isn’t actually about cappuccino or mocha; it is about chocolate or milk.
If you have a sweet tooth like me and adore chocolate, mocha is the one for you. Mocha leaves a melting chocolate taste in your mouth, not to mention the creamy after-taste. Although mocha has milk in it too, the taste of milk is not evident as that of cappuccino’s.
When you taste mocha, you’ll be struck by its chocolaty taste.
Conversely, if you have a thing for milk, cappuccino will fulfill your expectations. Yes, mocha uses milk too, but it uses considerably less milk than cappuccino. Espresso and milk balances each other in a cappuccino, and creates the perfect mixture. They complement each other’s features and enhance them even further. In addition, cappuccino has the most amount of milk compared to other coffee drinks.
The reason why I emphasized the importance of ratio to cappuccino is because it’s one of the factors that makes cappuccino and mocha different. All baristas follow the same ratio to create the perfect cappuccino. One thing that might change eventually is their size, but the ratio is always the same. Your local coffee shop, Starbucks in the nearest corner or your friend who prepares her own cappuccino follows the same ratio.
Mocha, however, is a complicated one. Different ratios are followed in different countries, and even different places in the same states. Some of the mochas are just latte variants that consist of chocolate sauce instead of using mocha beans. Personally, I don’t prefer to follow the ratio stated above, but my friend loves it.
To sum up, cappuccino has a universal ratio which has been followed by everyone while mocha can be made differently from person to person.
Foams On Top of Them
The last thing that makes them different is the layer on their top.
As we’ve mentioned, what sits on mocha’s top can differ. Most of the regular coffee shops make the drink by adding cinnamon, chocolate powder or simply a bit of whipped cream. However, some baristas might choose to not add anything on its top as mocha is also delicious without adding anything. If a barista decides to choose the latter option, that means the mocha will have microfoam on its top which will make it softer.
On the other hand, cappuccino has what makes it unique on its top, a thick and airy milk microfoam. This microfoam is made with the steam wand of an espresso machine, and latte art can be performed on it. Compared to the mocha’s microfoam, cappuccino’s is more airy and less creamy.
Have you seen latte art before? If not, you should check our guide.
Which One is For You?
If what you’re looking for is a bigger coffee which has a balanced espresso and milk taste with a delicious and airy microfoam, you should order a cappuccino.
But if you want something smaller in size, and combines chocolate’s and coffee’s taste in one place, the right drink for you is mocha.
Ultimately, it depends on what you love more; but either way, you won’t be disappointed.
Which is Stronger: Mocha or Cappuccino?
If we compare them at the same size, mocha has a considerably stronger taste as it has more espresso shots in it. Remember the 2:2:1 ratio?
Winner of the “cappuccino vs mocha caffeine” round: MOCHA
Which Has More Calories: Mocha or Cappuccino?
Mocha has above 200 calories while cappuccino has about 160.
Winner of the “cappuccino vs mocha calories” round: MOCHA
Which is sweeter: Mocha or Cappuccino?
As a result of mocha bean’s natural chocolaty taste, mocha is usually sweeter than cappuccino.
Winner of the “cappuccino vs mocha sweetness” round: MOCHA
A proud coffee aficionado who is determined to share his passion and knowledge about coffee with others. Writing and sci-fi are sine qua non of my life. It is not a good day for me if I haven’t had my coffee in the morning.
Click here for detailed information about me.