Mocha Coffee: A Chocolatey Sensation

Mocha Coffee is one of the most delicious and popular forms of coffee in the world but rarely do people know of its origins, what makes it unique from other coffees, and how to make a cup of it at home. So today, we are here to answer all of these questions, but before we start, we need to answer what is a mocha and how is it different from other coffees? 

What is Mocha Coffee and how is it different from other coffees? 

The name for mocha coffee itself originates from Yemen, but that’s not the only characteristic that distinguishes mocha coffee from other types of coffee. Just like the Europeans said many centuries ago, the mocha coffee bean has a much sweeter taste to it, almost chocolatey. This is likely due to the fact that mocha coffee beans are a form of Arabica coffee rather than Robusta coffee which tends to have a much more bitter taste. 

Now that we know the history behind mocha coffee and have answered the question of what is a mocha and how it’s different from other coffees, let’s jump into the process and recipe for how to make a cup of mocha coffee!

To flesh out this chocolatey flavor, even more, baristas often add a small amount of chocolate syrup to the drink. Additionally, even with mocha coffee’s sweeter taste, it is still considered to be much stronger than other coffees such as lattes and cappuccinos. 

The perfect Mocha Coffee recipe 


To begin making your own homemade cup of mocha coffee, we will need to lay out some of the essential ingredients that you will need. Luckily it’s a rather short list. 

For one serving of mocha coffee, you will need: 

  • 18 g of ground espresso  
  • 250 ml of milk 
  • 1 tsp of cocoa powder or chocolate syrup

To start, prepare a cup of espresso the way you normally would, whether you use instant coffee or choose to make your coffee using a drip-over, it’s up to you! 

Once your espresso is ready to go, take your teaspoon of cocoa powder or chocolate syrup and mix it with the espresso. Now for the next part, you will need to get yourself a milk frother, which can range from $25 to upwards of $60 depending on its features. If you don’t have a milk frother or just don’t want to be a bit more frugal, you can also use a mason jar and a lid to create a similar frothing effect. 

First, you will need to heat up your 250 ml of milk by simmering it in a pot. Once the milk has come to a simmer, move it over to the milk frother or your mason jar. 

If you’re using a milk frother, you will want to pump air into the milk frother up to a minute, depending on how frothy you want the milk to be. If you’re using a mason jar, then you will want to shake the jar for 30 seconds until it has come to a froth. 

Once your milk is all frothed up, pour your milk into your cup of espresso. While having your cup of espresso at a slight angle, start pouring the milk in slowly. As the volume of the drink increases, start lowering the tilt of your cup while increasing the tilt at which you are pouring the milk. 

And there you have it, a freshly made cup of mocha coffee!

Now that we know what is a mocha and know how to make it, let’s dive into some history behind mocha coffee.

The History of Mocha Coffee

The history of mocha coffee starts in a Yemeni port city by the name of Mokha or Al-Makha, where nearly all of the World’s coffee exports would flow from. The importance of Mokha acting as a hub for coffee exporting around the world began towards the mid to late 1500s, when the Ottoman Empire invaded and occupied Yemen

By this point in Yemen’s history, coffee had already become a regular facet of life, and people were drinking coffee on a regular basis. Once the Ottomans had conquered Yemen, they too began to enjoy the sweet drink that was coffee. The Ottomans’ love for the drink was so strong that they soon wanted it all to themselves, and so they began to strictly control the movement of coffee out of the Empire. 

These strict controls resulted in the Ottomans only selling pre-roasted or partially boiled coffee beans, so as to prevent the cultivation of the coffee seed. The only way a merchant could even get coffee beans from Yemen was through the port city of Mokha, where coffee farmers would ship their harvested and roasted coffee beans to

The coffee beans from Al-Mokha quickly found its way to Europe and was often described as having an earthy “chocolatey” taste to it. With beans from Al-Mokha being one of the only sources of coffee in the world, people soon began to refer to the beans simply as mocha. 

The Ottoman stronghold on coffee wouldn’t last forever as the Dutch were soon able to get their hands on fresh coffee beans themselves, which they quickly began to grow and spread across southern India and Java. With the Ottoman monopoly on coffee finally coming to a close, the significance of the port city of Al-Mokha began to subside, however, the word mocha continues to live on to this day.

Ishfar Munir
Ishfar Munir is a Business and Computer Science Double Degree student at Wilfrid Laurier. His journey into the world of coffee only begun recently, but he has already begun to fall in love with the delicious drink. In his free time, he likes to watch basketball games, write songs, and read the New Yorker.


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