Macchiato Vs. Mocha (Explained)

Last Updated on September 30, 2021 by John Moretti

It’s easy to get confused between a macchiato and a mocha, especially if you’re not aware of the distinct qualities of each beverage. Understanding the difference between a macchiato and a mocha can help you determine your preference. Finding your favorite type of coffee will make your coffee experience even more enjoyable.

A macchiato is a cup of espresso topped with a dash of steamed milk and foam, whereas a mocha is a cup of espresso and chocolate combined with a generous serving of milk. Macchiatos are perfect for if you love strong coffee, while mochas are better suited for those who enjoy dessert-type beverages.

If you enjoy strong coffee, the authentic espresso taste that is prevalent in a macchiato makes it the perfect drink for you. However, if you prefer your coffee to be sweet with undertones of espresso, then a mocha is likely to be more suitable for you. Let’s explore the intricacies of a macchiato and a mocha to understand which of the two might be more preferable for you.

Macchiato Explained


Macchiatos are cups of espresso topped with steamed milk and foam to give you the bold taste of espresso while still offering a splash of milk. 

Macchiatos are ideal if you love strong coffee but may be a bit too intense if you require a balanced ratio of milk to espresso for you to enjoy your coffee.

Mocha Explained

mocha cup

Mochas consist of coffee, chocolate, and a generous serving of milk to give you a delicious, chocolatey coffee. If you’re lucky, the coffee shop may even throw on a dash of whipped cream with chocolate shavings on top.

Mochas are a decedent dessert-type drink that some may regard as the perfect combination of hot chocolate and coffee. 

However, if you prefer your coffee to have an authentic espresso taste, then mochas might not be your first choice because the authentic espresso taste can easily be lost amidst the sweet chocolatey taste and the rich steamed milk

If you find yourself struggling to stomach an espresso and need a good dose of sugar to help you get the benefits of the caffeine content in coffee, then mochas may be for you. The chocolatey taste disguises the strong espresso taste, making mochas resemble hot chocolate but with a slight twist. 

Differences Between A Macchiato And A Mocha

Here are the differences between a macchiato and a mocha.

Macchiatos And Mochas Differ In Flavor

There is a distinct difference between the flavor profiles of mochas and macchiatos. Mochas embrace the richness of chocolate and the strength of coffee to give you a sweet hot drink with undertones of the intense flavor of espresso

In comparison to a macchiato, mochas offer a diluted taste of coffee as a result of the large quantity of milk and chocolate contained in the beverage. 

In contrast to mochas, macchiatos have a dominant espresso taste. Unlike a mocha, macchiatos are not sweet at all and can generally be quite bitter and strong

Mochas And Macchiatos Are Both Made Using Steamed Milk But In Different Quantities 

Generally, a macchiato made a shot of espresso that is topped with a little bit of steamed milk and foam will be regarded as an espresso macchiato. An alternate version known as a “latte macchiato” exists, whereby a shot of espresso is slowly poured over the steamed milk to create layers in the beverage.

On the other hand, mochas are typically made with espresso and chocolate sauce or powder as the foundation, followed by a generous serving of steamed milk being added on top. It is uncommon for mochas to be topped with foam as they are generally topped with whipped cream or chocolate shavings.

A Mocha Contains Chocolate, Whereas A Macchiato Does Not

mocha with chocolate

Thanks to the lovely combination of milk and chocolate, mochas can easily be regarded as a dessert-type drink, especially if your barista tops it with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or a sprinkle of cinnamon. 

Conversely, macchiatos are a strict blend of espresso and milk.

A Mocha Has A Much Higher Calorie Count Than A Macchiato

It’s easy to understand why mochas have a higher calorie count in comparison to macchiatos, especially given the fact that this dessert-type drink contains chocolate, milk, and potentially whipped cream. 

While the average mocha may contain approximately 200 calories, macchiatos generally have less than 50 calories.

If calories are a concern, then you’ll be better off with a macchiato

Mochas Offer More Variety In Comparison To Macchiatos 

Mochas come in various flavors ranging from white mochas to peppermint mochas. Coffee shops also often offer a wide range of flavored syrups that enable customers to customize their mochas.

Conversely, authentic macchiatos are only available as espresso macchiatos and latte macchiatos. However, some coffee shops may offer flavored, unauthentic versions that come in caramel or vanilla flavors.  

A Mocha Generally Comes In A Larger Serving Size Than A Macchiato 

mocha latte

The purpose of a macchiato is to offer you’re a quick shot of caffeine that can be consumed on the go. Due to macchiatos only requiring a shot of espresso topped with milk foam, macchiatos are generally approximately 4 oz.

On the other hand, mochas can be regarded as a dessert-type beverage, often enjoyed in a similar nature to that of hot chocolate. Since mochas contain milk, chocolate syrup/powder, and steamed milk, it’s understandable why the beverage is usually at least 8 oz

Which Is Better? A Macchiato Or A Mocha?

Your preference when it comes to coffee will determine whether you prefer a macchiato or a mocha. If you have a sweet tooth and enjoy something chocolatey, then a mocha is definitely a safe bet. Whereas, if you prefer your coffee to be strong, with a rich coffee taste, then you might enjoy a macchiato more. 

The Final Word

If you enjoy sweet beverages or simply struggle to stomach strong coffee, then a mocha is the drink for you. The combination of chocolate, milk, and espresso makes mochas a delicious dessert-type beverage that is perfect for those who prefer gentle espresso undertone’s in their coffee.

However, if you’re looking for a strong coffee that will give you a quick caffeine boost while providing you with the authentic espresso taste, then a macchiato is perfect for you. The tiny serving consisting of an espresso shot and foamed milk allows you to enjoy the authentic taste of coffee on the go.