Mocha vs Macchiato

You have visited several coffee shops, but you don’t know yet what mocha and macchiato actually are. To be fair, the different types of coffee drinks are indeed confusing for a beginner. The following article will help you widen your coffee knowledge by explaining the differences and comparisons between mocha vs macchiato.

Below, you can learn more information about:
– What mocha and macchiato actually are,
– The typical features and distinctions of mocha vs macchiato,
– The flavor of each coffee drink, and
– Which coffee drink that is more recommended for you.

First of all, let’s take a look at mocha. Mocha, also known as caffe mocha or mocaccino, is essentially a coffee drink that is made by mixing espresso with hot milk and some chocolate. So, mocha is a great choice for chocolate lovers who also enjoy coffee. Mocha is actually a variation of latte (see the previous post about Latte vs Mocha here!), with the addition of chocolate being the main difference.

The name “mocha” is derived from the Mocha city of Yemen. In the ancient time, this city was one of the biggest centers of the early coffee trade. Apparently, the addition of chocolate into coffee was popularized in this city, hence the coffee drink is named after the city.

Macchiato is an espresso coffee drink with just a very small amount of milk, which is usually foamed. This is in contrast with latte. Macchiato’s espresso-to-milk ratio is much bigger than latte’s. It is also known as caffe macchiato or espresso macchiato.

The word “macchiato” means “spotted” or “stained” in Italian. So, etymologically, caffe macchiato is stained coffee. This refers to the fact that it is a coffee drink with a spot of milk. According to Wikipedia, the name stemmed from the need of baristas to tell the serving waiters the difference between espresso and espresso with a little milk.

Unfortunately, when referring to Starbucks drinks, the term “macchiato” is often used to refer the company’s caramel macchiato, which is very different from the original macchiato. Starbucks’s caramel macchiato is made from vanilla syrup, milk, milk foam, and espresso, with caramel drizzled on the top. This is actually more of vanilla/caramel latte or perhaps latte macchiato, instead of macchiato.

There are three basic ingredients needed to make mocha, which include espresso, milk, and chocolate. Although there is no specific rule about the amounts of the ingredients, people usually use two shots of espresso. You may use any kind of milk, such as 2% milk, nonfat milk, whole milk, soy milk, or almond milk, but 2% milk is generally preferred for balanced flavor and texture. 2 – 4 oz milk is good.

You may also use any kind of chocolate for your mocha, such as milk chocolate, white chocolate, or dark chocolate. However, consider that the type of chocolate will affect the flavor. For example, milk chocolate or white chocolate may make the drink sweet due to their sugar content. Meanwhile, unsweetened dark chocolate may bring a distinctive bitterness.

On the other hand, there are just two basic ingredients for macchiato, which are espresso and milk. Among all coffee drinks that use milk, macchiato is the one with the highest espresso-to-milk ratio. The idea is that the milk only moderates instead of overwhelms the coffee.

Macchiato is typically made by pouring directly a small amount of milk into a shot of espresso. The milk may be as much as 5 – 6 grams (1 – 2 teaspoons). It is heated to 60 – 66 degrees Celsius (140 – 150 degrees Fahrenheit).

The Top Layer
Although mocha may be served with thin milk foam as the topping, it is more commonly served with whipped cream, similar to hot chocolate. In addition, you may add some cocoa powder or cinnamon powder on the top. Some coffee shops do serve mocha drinks with beautiful latte arts. Meanwhile, some other people like to put a few pieces of marshmallow on the top, which is also similar to the way hot chocolate is sometimes served.

On the other hand, macchiato does not have any topping. It is simple and straightforward. On the top, you can see a white spot surrounded by black espresso. Of course, the white spot is the milk. There has been some confusion about whether to stir macchiato or not, but the decision is up to you. When added, the small amount of milk is already mixed quite well with the espresso. Stirring may eliminate the white spot and reduce the temperature.

Mocha vs macchiato certainly has more volume, as it uses more ingredients in relatively larger amounts. To begin with, there are two shots of espresso, followed by steamed milk and then chocolate. Hence, it usually comes in a large cup or glass. The color of mocha may be dark brown or light brown, depending on the amount of milk as well as the type of chocolate that you use.

On the other hand, macchiato has a smaller volume, as it is made from a shot of espresso and just a small amount of milk. It is usually served in a small cup. Meanwhile, the color is still quite black or very dark brown, as the milk only tones down the color a little bit.

Flavor and Texture
Mocha is definitely a chocolate lover’s delight. Chocolate and coffee tend to enhance each other’s flavor. This drink has a smooth coffee flavor along with some chocolate flavor. It may be quite sweet, especially if you use a chocolate product that contains added sugar. The texture is rather thick.

On the other hand, macchiato has a strong coffee flavor. It is not as strong as pure espresso, as the milk has moderated the bitterness and acidity a little. There is just slight sweetness coming from the milk. The texture is still quite liquid, neither as silky as latte nor as thick as mocha.

Mocha vs Macchiato
- Made from two shots of espresso, 2 – 4 oz milk, some chocolate- Made from a shot of espresso and 5 – 6 grams milk
- Topped with milk foam or whipped cream, sometimes with marshmallow- Does not have any topping
- More volume, served in a large cup or glass- Less volume, served in a small cup
- Color is dark or light brown- Color is dark brown that is almost black
- Smooth coffee flavor and chocolate flavor, thick texture- Coffee flavor moderated by the milk, texture is not really thick

Mocha vs macchiato are two very different coffee drinks. Mocha is made from espresso, milk, and chocolate. It is characterized by the smooth coffee flavor that comes with some chocolate flavor. It is a great choice for chocolate lovers who also enjoy coffee. On the other hand, macchiato is made from a shot of espresso with just a small amount of milk. Macchiato has a strong coffee flavor that has been moderated a little by the milk.