Handbook Coffee: What’s The Difference Between Macchiato And Mocha?

Unless you're a skilled barista or a true connoisseur, it can be hard to tell the difference between a mocha and a macchiato.

The variety of these espresso-based drinks can leave you confused and curious. So, how to distinguish macchiato and mocha?

Macchiatos are concentrated espresso drinks with foam and steamed milk, which have a rich and creamy flavor but lack a variety of flavors. Mochas are a sweet combination of chocolate, espresso, and a lot of steamed cream.

The above are just a few essential characteristics of these two drinks. To learn more about them, continue reading the article with Top Reviews.

What Is Macchiato? 

Compared to many other coffee drinks, macchiato has a much stronger flavor. It is also known as Espresso Macchiato or Caffe Macchiato.

The composition of this drink is mainly espresso with a little steamed milk. The proportions don't matter when you can think of the macchiato as a low-milk espresso. Those who love to enjoy the rich flavor of the coffee will love it.

In Italian, "macchiato" also means "spot." The Portuguese call this coffee “coffee with a drop” and “cafe pingado.”

When finished, you can see a thin layer of foam on the glass. However, its flavor is very mild to make room for the espresso to shine. Because of the importance of espresso in ingredients, quality macchiatos need to use the most delicious and fresh coffee beans.


  • An authentic Italian drink.

  • Outstanding espresso flavor.

  • Highlights from foam and steamed buttermilk.


  • Little variety in taste.

  • The flavor is too strong for some people.

What Is Mocha? 


Chocolate lovers certainly cannot ignore mocha. Its other name is Mocaccino or Caffe Mocha.

This delicious drink is a variation of the latte with the same coffee and buttermilk ratio. Its ingredients are a combination of espresso, chocolate, and hot milk. 

In particular, the addition of dark, white, or milk chocolate is the most critical step. There aren't any rules when it comes to making mochas. You can mix it up with homemade ganache or break up the chocolate to enjoy the layers of flavors.

The serving of mochas is also very diverse. The most common form is whipped cream with a bit of cocoa powder or cinnamon powder.

Some people prefer the traditional buttermilk foam layer. You can even use marshmallows to give a similar sensation to hot cocoa.


  • The perfect combination of coffee and chocolate.

  • A wide variety of flavors is available.


  • Maybe too sweet for some people.

  • Not authentic or transitional espresso.

What’s The Difference Between Macchiato And Mocha?

Macchiato and mocaccino, although their names are somewhat similar, these two drinks are entirely different. There are four main characteristics that help you distinguish them. Let’s continue reading this section to find out in detail!

Latte macchiatos


The flavor of the macchiatos and mochas is the first distinguishing factor.

With macchiatos, you can quickly feel the burst of espresso flavor on the tip of your tongue. The addition of cream from buttermilk is just a component to help highlight the coffee flavor.

Many factors affect the taste of macchiatos.

It may simply lie in the way the espresso is made. The use of Robusta coffee beans increases the aroma but will make the drink more bitter. Meanwhile, Arabica beans help the flavor become soft and have a mild sour taste.

The origin of the bean is also an essential factor. A mixture of beans from different places gives a more balanced taste. If there is only one source, this bean has a sharper aroma and flavor.

If you want your macchiato to be more creamy, add a little whole milk or buttermilk foam.

As for mochas, this drink combines the rich flavor of coffee and the sweetness of chocolate. It has a pleasant taste and is an easy drink even for those who do not regularly drink coffee.

To increase or decrease the sweetness of mocha, you can choose to use pure cocoa or chocolate syrup. The latter will make the taste much sweeter.

When too much whole milk or steamed buttermilk is included in the recipe, the taste of this drink will be creamier but with less of the characteristic strong flavor.


Macchiato is a drink that focuses mainly on the taste of espresso. It's straightforward and, as such, doesn't have many variations.

Latte macchiato is the only version. In this drink, milk is the star. The barista will pour the coffee very slowly over the steamed buttermilk to create layers of flavor. The amount of steamed milk is also more than the classic macchiato.

When it comes to variety, mocaccino is the absolute winner. You can choose the flavor based on the type of chocolate or syrup. Many stores are trending seasonal mint flavors.

Milk Preparation

Although buttermilk is an ingredient in both drinks, its preparation is different.

The macchiato uses the least amount of milk and adds a little foam. The latte variant uses more buttermilk to help create layers when pouring the coffee over it. For mocha, milk plays a role in balancing the flavors of chocolate and coffee.

Similar Drinks

There are a few drinks that are similar to macchiatos, including:

  • Cortado: Its taste is similar to macchiatos but is fatter and less intense thanks to the higher amount of buttermilk foam.

  • Con Panna: This drink has a delicious creamy taste thanks to a little whipped cream in the preparation process.

  • Short Macchiato: It is a combination of some milk and a dose of espresso. It's different from a standard shot, which uses double espresso.

As for mochas, there are a few similar drinks, including:

  • Cappuccino: This drink is delicious and decadent. Its main ingredients are coffee and foamed steamed buttermilk.

  • Affogato: It is a combination of espressos and ice cream. Usually, vanilla is used, but you can create any combination you like.

  • Frappe: To make this drink, we need to puree the ingredients with ice. Just like mochas, there are many frappe flavors to choose from.

To summarize the difference between these two drinks, let's see the table below.

  Macchiatos Mocaccinos
Flavor Strong espresso flavor with a bit of creamy milk. A combination of intense coffee flavor and chocolate sweetness
Variety Espresso and latte macchiato Many varieties depend on the syrup choices.
Milk Preparation Use the least amount of milk. The ratio of buttermilk is balanced with coffee and chocolate
Similar Drinks Cortado, con panna, and short macchiato. Cappuccino, affogato, and frappe.

How To Make Macchiato

Pulling a shot of espresso

To learn how to make a delicious macchiato properly, follow these steps:

  • Start with an espresso shot. Usually, you should use the same demitasse cup as the classic coffee.

  • While you are preparing the coffee, whisk the milk using the frother. Compared to latte, you'll want to prepare buttermilk with a little more foam. However, it also depends on individual taste. The milk foam serves to accentuate the intense flavor of the espressos.

  • Different coffee shops will create different drink flavors. Many bartenders will increase or decrease the amount of buttermilk to their liking to make the right flavor.

  • Once your coffee is ready, scoop or pour the milk over as much as you like.

How To Make Mocha 

The detailed steps to prepare a delicious cup of mocha include:

  • Brew espresso in the cup you want to serve your drink in.

  • Steam 6-8 oz of buttermilk during the preparation time and use the frother to freeze and froth. Stop when the milk is glossy and concentrated. Pour this buttermilk into the glass.

  • Add chocolate to the drink. Depending on your taste, you can be creative with how to cook. Many places use ready-made syrup. Some other places mix cocoa powder with hot water. You can even break up pieces of chocolate and add them to the glass.

  • You can add chocolate in the first step. It is a traditional way of processing commonly found in American-style coffee shops.

To learn more about making mocaccino, check out the following video:

Source Youtube : HowcastFoodDrink Howcast

Final Thoughts

What’s the difference between macchiato and mocha? These two drinks are entirely different in both taste and preparation. Depending on the preference of each person, they will have the right choice for themselves.

Thank you for reading!

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