Macchiato vs Mocha: What Are They? Key Differences

Coffee shop menus can be confusing, especially if you’re new to the world of coffee. There are so many different types of coffee drinks, and many of them sound similar but are actually quite different. Macchiato vs Mocha – what’s the difference?
Simon Vaughan
macchiato vs mocha

Macchiato and Mocha

These two popular coffee drinks are often confused with each other, but there are actually some key differences that set them apart.

Both macchiatos and mochas are espresso-based drinks, meaning they start with an espresso shot. Both of them include milk and can be served on ice and latte art. So, what’s the difference between macchiato vs mocha? In order to understand the differences, let us first look at what each coffee drink is.


Mocha is a chocolate and coffee flavored drink that originated in Arabia. The word mocha comes from the Arabic word for coffee, and was first used to refer to a type of coffee bean. The beans were grown in the Yemeni port of Mocha, and were known for their distinctive flavor. In the 18th century, the drink mocha became popular in Europe, and eventually made its way to America. 

Today, mocha is typically made with espresso, milk, and chocolate syrup or powder. It can be served hot or cold, and is often topped with whipped cream. While the classic mocha flavor is still popular, many variations of the drink have emerged, including peppermint mocha, pumpkin mocha, and white chocolate mocha.


Espresso macchiato is a type of espresso drink that is made with a shot of espresso and a small amount of steamed milk. The milk is added to the espresso to “mark” or “stain” it, hence the name macchiato, which means “marked” or “stained” in Italian. The milk serves to mellow the bitterness of the coffee, and the foam adds a velvety texture. Macchiatos are typically served in 1.25 ounce glasses, and are often mistaken for cappuccinos or lattes.

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However, a key difference is that macchiatos contain less milk than either of those drinks, resulting in a stronger coffee flavor. While cappuccinos and lattes are typically enjoyed as morning beverages, macchiatos can be enjoyed at any time of day. Thanks to their intense flavor, macchiatos are a favorite among espresso lovers.

Espresso – The Base of Macchiato and Mocha

Espresso is a type of coffee that is made by forcing hot water through tightly packed, finely ground coffee beans. The result is a strong, concentrated coffee with a thick cream (the layer of foam on top).

A single shot of espresso is about 1-1.5 ounces, and it can be drunk on its own or used as a base for other coffee drinks, for example, macchiato or mocha.

The amount of espresso in macchiato vs mocha is one of the key differences between these two drinks. Usually, to prepare mocha, you’ll need a double shot of espresso, while macchiato is made with just one shot.

Cappuccino vs Macchiato vs Mocha

At a first glance, it may seem that mocha, macchiato, and cappuccino are all the same, especially, if you don’t know the difference between macchiato vs mocha. However, cappuccino is actually quite different from both of these drinks.

All three drinks are espresso-based, but cappuccino contains more milk than macchiato and no chocolate than mocha. The amount of ingredients in macchiato vs mocha vs cappuccino is one of the key differences between these drinks. Cappuccino contains 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, and 1/3 foamed milk.

What Type of Chocolate for Mocha?

There are several types of chocolate that can be used in mocha. The most common type is milk chocolate, which gives the drink a creamy sweetness. However, dark chocolate can also be used, which gives the mocha a richer flavor. For a truly unique mocha, white chocolate can also be used. This type of chocolate has a lighter sweetness that pairs well with the coffee flavor. Mocha can also be made with flavored chocolate, such as orange or mint. These variations give the drink an extra level of complexity and can be tailored to individual tastes. 

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Macchiato vs Mocha – What Are the Differences?

Now that we know what macchiato and mocha are, let’s take a closer look at the key differences between them:

  1. The main difference between macchiato and mocha is that macchiato is an espresso coffee with a small amount of milk (just a dollop of milk foam on top, which dilutes the strong coffee flavor). Mocha, on the other hand, is an espresso and milk, with hot chocolate as its ingredient.
  2. Macchiatos are typically served in 1.25 ounce glasses, while mochas are typically served in 6 ounce glasses.
  3. Macchiatos contain less milk than mochas, resulting in a stronger coffee flavor.
  4. Mochas are often topped with whipped cream, while macchiatos are not.

So, next time you’re looking at a coffee shop menu, remember the difference between macchiato vs mocha. If you’re in the mood for a strong coffee flavor, go for a macchiato. If you’re in the mood for something sweet and chocolatey, go for a mocha. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

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