Mocha: The Surprising Truth About Its Strength

Coffee Levels is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

‘Mocha’ is a variety of coffee beans that are found in the central mountains of Yemen and interestingly, this name has been so popular at present as a coffee drink.

When we hear about ‘Mocha’ what comes to our mind is a coffee-chocolate mixture of solution with shots of espresso.

The chocolate flavor in the coffee drinks gives an intense taste to the appetizing hot beverages. Among the other coffee varieties, mocha has got a more intense and fuller taste.

Many people might not know the difference between the Caffè Mocha and other popular varieties.

Short answer: Mocha is a strong variety of coffee containing a mixture of coffee, steamed milk, and chocolate syrups. Though the strength of the drink depends on how it’s brewed, Mocha is usually stronger than simple coffee varieties that have a mild taste.

In this article, I’ll be reviewing the characteristics of mocha, how it’s prepared, and the caffeine count of the drink that makes it strong and rich.

Continue your reading!

How Strong is Mocha?

mocha in a glass

Mocha coffee is an espresso-based coffee drink that’s unique from many coffee varieties. The origin of the drink comes from the central mountains of Yemen and interestingly the coffee has become one of the most popular drinks all around the globe.

The strength of mocha generally depends on the brewing process of the beans involved. More specifically, the main factor that makes the mocha strong is the ratio of coffee grinds to water during the brewing process.

Many people may consider that the roasting style of the beans in your mocha may influence the coffee strength. Technically, coffee strength isn’t determined by the roasting level. In fact, in most cases, the light roast contains more caffeine and thus have more strength in their flavor.

The strength of the mocha ultimately depends on the person behind the coffee bar who can control the concentration of the brew.

So in this case, you can see that a plain cup of regular coffee can be weaker than a mocha if it uses a larger quantity of espresso shots. However, plain coffee can turn stronger if the ratio of coffee grinds to water turns higher in the drink.

When Can Mocha Be Stronger Than Regular Coffee?

Mocha will be stronger than regular coffee when it involves a higher ratio of the coffee grinds or shots to the water ratio. The caffeine content alone doesn’t determine the level of the strengths of the coffee drinks.

If you’re wondering whether caffeine content makes the coffee more strong or not, then you need to account for the roasting style of the beans. Many people might think that the more bitter the drink taste, the more is caffeine and ultimately the stronger the drink.

This is a myth. No matter how bitter your coffee tastes like, it doesn’t mean it got high caffeine.

The caffeine content will depend on the roast level of the beans from which the drinks were prepared.

Caffeine breaks down during the roasting process and this means the coffee beans tend to lose some of their caffeine while being roasted.

Light roast coffee beans contain more caffeine. Moreover, dark roast contains lesser caffeine since the roasting process diminishes the content.

So, if a mocha uses a coffee or espresso base brewed from light roast beans. it’ll be consequently stronger in flavor than a regular coffee with dark roast.

Ingredients of Mocha

Mocha contains different variants of ingredients consisting of three basic ones. It is traditionally prepared with espresso or coffee, milk, and chocolate.

The quantity of the ingredients may vary depending upon the person preparing it. Typically, the recipe followed by most of the shops as per my observation is:

  • 1/2 espresso shots. A single shots contains 1 to 1.5 ounces
  • 2 or a little bit more ounces of hot chocolate
  • 1 ounce of steamed milk
  • A topping of milk froth

A big jar of mocha may require more of these ingredients. If you’re considering a cup of hot brewed coffee, which is typically 8 ounces, you need to add 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder with 2 tablespoons of milk.

The proportion of the basic ingredients may vary depending upon the concentration you’re desiring for in the drink.

Is Mocha a Coffee or Chocolate?

Mocha is a coffee variety. It is prepared from mocha coffee beans that have a natural chocolate flavor.

When mocha is being prepared, chocolate syrups or grinds are added to the drink to enhance the flavors. Mocha is much stronger in terms of taste and flavors compared to latte and cappuccino.

The coffee beans used for preparing mocha originate from Mocha, a city in Yemen. The chocolate undertone of the beans enhances its taste profile and this is why most people associate the term ‘mocha’ with chocolate.

In shops, mocha usually refers to the chocolate drink added with espresso shots and warm milk. The extra chocolate hint in the drink comes from cocoa powder or syrup.

So, mocha is just like another variety of coffee. The main distinguishing between mocha and other regular coffee drinks is that for regular coffee, ground coffee beans are mixed with hot water or milk but for Mocha, the coffee shots are mixed with steamed milk and chocolate. It may also have a topping of milk foam over it.

How Much Caffeine Does Mocha Contain?

coffee with latte art on a blue saucer plate

Mocha contains caffeine. It has got espresso shots in it so yes it has caffeine. For single shots, the caffeine count is less compared to double shots.

Usually, caffè mocha contains about 12-13 milligrams of caffeine per fl oz. So a small cup of 8 fl oz has a total caffeine content of about 101-104 milligrams of caffeine. This count on caffeine varies as the baristas change, or due to variations in coffee beans or the brewing ratio involved.

The following table contains the caffeine content in several popular coffee chains caffè mocha.

Shop or Brand of Caffè MochaServing sizeCaffeine count (on average)
Starbuck’s Caffè Mocha (hot or iced)16 oz175 milligrams
Starbuck’s Mocha Frappuccino13.7 oz105 milligrams
Dunkin’ Donuts Bottled Mocha13.7 oz186 milligrams
McCafe’s Caffè Mocha16 oz167 milligrams
Peet’s Caffè Mocha 16 oz165 milligrams
Gloria Jean’s Caffè Mocha 12 oz149 milligrams
Costa’s Caffè Mocha 12 oz190 milligrams
The table shows the caffeine quantity in various popular chains Caffè Mocha.

How Do You Make Mocha?

No matter how strong mocha sounds, the best part of this drink is that you can easily prepare it at home. The ingredients needed for preparing it are already mentioned above. The steps are as follow:

  • You need to brew the coffee using the method as per your convenience.
  • After brewing, add some chocolate syrup or cocoa powder to the hot coffee. Stir it properly. If you’re using unsweetened cocoa powder you may need to add sugar to the drink.
  • After adding the chocolate, pour the steamed milk so that it creates a nice froth.
  • The coffee-chocolate mixture is the mocha that you get in the shops but even better since you can control your portions.

This is the basic mocha recipe. If you want variations you can personalize the flavor with white chocolate, almond milk, hazelnut flavoring, or different syrups.

Look for the perfect mocha recipe.

What does Mocha Coffee Taste like?

Caffè Mocha bears the taste of both the coffee and the chocolate. It contains the earthy-delicate flavor of coffee beans and also the rich-sweet taste of chocolate.

Undoubtedly, mocha is one of my most favorite drinks that is rich, full, and smooth at the same time. Sometimes, hot chocolate drinks are referred to as mocha when they have very low to zero coffee content.

The chocolate undertone of the drink may confuse people regarding the features of the actual mocha coffee. If you have a sensitive palate, you’ll immediately understand whether your mocha contains coffee or not.

In short, mocha is the perfect blend of the roasty qualities of coffee and the mouthfeel intense flavor of chocolate.

What are the Differences between Mocha and Cappuccino?

The main difference between mocha and cappuccino is the ratio of steamed milk and espresso present in the drinks. Also, the addition of chocolate in mocha makes it more distinct than other coffee varieties.

Each of the coffee is a great source of energy fix, having millions of consumers all around the world. When placed side by side, someone might consider both to be the same as well unless they are experienced with the drinks.

Mocha is a chocolate build-in coffee drink. Even if the drinks are made with espresso and milk, the chocolate component makes mocha stand out.

Concerning taste, cappuccino is milder than mocha and has a more subtle taste. The enhanced chocolate notes of mocha make it stronger and bolder.

Both the drinks contain a decent amount of caffeine but mocha is likely to have a more count on caffeine than a cappuccino.

I go more into detail on my other article where I discuss the differences between mocha and a cappuccino.

What are the Differences between Mocha and Latte?

A latte on a green ceramic cup
Mocha and latte are almost similar, just without the chocolate undertone.

Similar to the differences mentioned above, latte doesn’t have a chocolate component like mocha and is a more espresso-forward drink compared to it.

Compared to latte, mocha is sweeter, richer, and chocolatey. It has got whipped cream or chocolate surface over it, making it more mouthful.

On the other hand, a latte is topped with a silky microform. Though you can customize the flavor and syrups for a latte, it might not be sweet enough.

Mocha is relatively sweeter than latte that might be liked by some and not liked by others. It also doesn’t exhibit the espresso mixture dominantly like a latte.

Is Mocha Bad For Your Health?

For a healthy person, drinking a single cup of mocha is fine. The drink may even help in maintaining liver health, relieving muscle strain, and maintaining bone density.

If you’re aiming to lose weight and control your sugar, you need to modify the way you’re drinking it. Too much of the added sugar from milk, cream, or syrups may put a dent in your diet.

Mocha is made from coffee, steamed milk, chocolate, and whipped cream. It can provide you instant energy and a flavorful taste but is that healthy?

According to the official website of Starbucks, a grande size of mocha contains almost 35g of sugar and if you’re pairing it with a sweet pastry or cake then it’s probably a whole ton of sugar.

A mocha a day won’t necessarily give you diabetes however, you should be careful about your overall diet.


In short, mocha is a strong coffee variety when it comes down to caffeine content, the brewing process, and the ingredients present.

There are several popular varieties nowadays. If you’re willing to have a sweet treat, the mocha is a good choice. Apart from having an amazing taste, mocha also has beneficial nutritional components that serve several health purposes.

Apart from caffeine, the added milk and chocolate add to the health benefits and help the body in regaining strength. The overall strength though depends on how the person is preparing the drink.

If you’re keeping a moderate count on caffeine, then mocha can serve as a great source of positive benefits for your health and diet.

Other Articles