Mocha Cappuccino – Inherited Taste from Italy

In this article, you will find the origin history of the Mocha Cappuccino drink, different variations of it, and easy to understand step-by-step guide on how to make this drink at home.
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer is our senior editor and content writer, at CoffeeVibe. Apart from writing and reading, she’s fond of the coffee brewing process and enjoys tasting new coffe read more
Reviewed By
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks is our tester, who puts products through their paces. He used to be a barista and is now a full-time coffee enthusiast. He’s always testing out new gadgets, read more
Last updated: August 29, 2023
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The mocha cappuccino recipe is traditionally a chocolate-flavored coffee beverage with equal parts foamed milk, steamed milk, and espresso. The difference between a mocha and a cappuccino is that “mocha” refers to the chocolate addition to the coffee, and “cappuccino” refers to the style of coffee with steamed milk and an espresso base. Its popularity stems from the artful combination of two aromatic products: chocolate and coffee. Because the mocha cappuccino is espresso-based with an even ratio of foamed milk and steamed milk, it is stronger than the typical latte but smoother than a macchiato or flat white. Imagine hot chocolate but frothy and caffeinated, accompanied by the rich taste of your favorite coffee beans.

Origin of the Drink

Mocha Cappuccino – Inherited Taste from Italy

With all of its popularity in America, you’d be surprised to know that the mocha half of the mocha cappuccino originated in Yemen. Originally, coffee was considered medicinal by Arab monks, as it helped them stay up so that they could pray late at night. Soon, though, its dark and bitter taste spread outward and became part of the civilian diet. Mocha is a port city in Yemen that used to be known for its coffee exports. Once Europeans caught wind of coffee, and it became a cultural staple in the 1700s, Mocha became a focal point for the European coffee trade. Europeans got access to the deep fragrance of Mocha’s coffee and began to equate it to another expensive export—chocolate. As for the cappuccino half of history, Italian friars called the Capuchins wore robes of a milky brown color. When the cappuccino became popular, its color resembled that of the Capuchin robes, and so it was named after them.

Drink Variations

Although the basic concept of mocha cappuccinos is the same all around, there are different ingredients, distributions, and additions depending on the recipe. Some recipes use chocolate syrup, while others use cocoa powder or both. Chocolate syrup has sugar and vanilla added, so a mocha made with chocolate syrup will be on the sweeter side. Traditional cappuccinos have distinct layers of milk and espresso, but some recipes blend the ingredients together to make a combined coffee. Others yet add ice to change the temperature of the drink or include alcohol additives to spike the drink. There are even easier ways to put together a mocha cappuccino with instant coffee mixes and coffee pods. By these means, you can use a brewing system like a Keurig or just mix with your preferred ingredients like milk and cinnamon.

How to Make a Homemade Mocha Cappuccino

Mocha Cappuccino – Inherited Taste from Italy

Makes 2 cups of coffee

What you will need

  • At-home brewer
  • Steaming wand or frother
  • Pitcher
  • Mug
  • 1 cup strongly brewed coffee
  • 4 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • chocolate syrup, to taste


Step 1: Brew your coffee however you normally do so, making sure that it is brewed strongly to resemble espresso.

Step 2: Combine your cocoa powder and milk into one mixture, stirring to dissolve clumps of powder.

Step 3: Heat up the mixture in the microwave to your desired temperature, stirring after removing from the microwave.

Step 4: Transfer your hot chocolate and milk mixture into a pitcher and steam until bubbles form a thick froth on top of the milk.

Step 5: Pour the espresso into your preferred mug, adding the steamed chocolate milk over it, and then the remaining froth.

Step 6 (optional): Top with a pinch of cinnamon and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

Tips and Advice

  • There are many tools you can use to brew coffee. We recommend a French press or an espresso machine, depending on your desired coffee strength.
  • You can use a steaming wand, a frother, a French press, or even a whisk to create that thickness to steam.
  • Although a traditional cappuccino mug is white, if you would like to present the layers in a more visually appealing way, you can put the coffee in a clear mug or glass.
  • To make an iced mocha cappuccino, remove Step 3 and, after brewing the coffee, chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • If you prefer a sweeter chocolate flavor, replace cocoa powder with 3 tbsp. chocolate syrup.


What are some ways to fancy up the drink?

Mocha Cappuccino – Inherited Taste from Italy

Instead of just garnishing with cinnamon, you can add it into the milk mixture for an extra spiced drink. You can also add a few drops of vanilla extract and a pinch of sugar for a mellow but sweet addition. If you have guests and want to present your coffee nicely, find clear mugs and carefully pour your coffee to clearly separate the layers. You could also add dark chocolate shavings over the top for that extra garnish. For an extra flair, pair with something doughy and cakey, whether that be savory or sweet. Examples include a butter croissant, french toast, or scones to dip. Or, to double on that chocolate-coffee flavor, add chocolate-covered coffee beans to the side. You can often find them at your nearest supermarket.

When should I drink this coffee?

Cappuccinos are traditionally consumed in the morning due to their filling nature from the milk. In Italy, milky coffee is typically only enjoyed before noon, mainly because of that filling nature. It is believed to be too heavy for afternoon drinking and should not be taken after a heavy meal. Mocha cappuccinos are good for events like meetings, paired with a light side and sipped on throughout the morning.

What if I don’t eat dairy?

That is no problem at all! This mocha cappuccino recipe can be easily made vegan with a simple substitution: dairy-free milk. Feel free to use your preferred type: Almond, soy, oat, and coconut are a few fan favorites. We recommend almond milk, as it has a nutty flavor that pairs well with the earthy undertones of coffee and chocolate. Also, make sure that your chosen cocoa powder doesn’t have dairy in it, as some are mixed in with milk products.

Final Thoughts

With the rise of coffee popularity worldwide comes a need for good recipes that you can make yourself so that you can enjoy a quality beverage from the comfort of your own home and without spending the extra money on a single cup. This mocha cappuccino recipe is easy and delicious, and it won’t break your bank. With roots across the Eastern Hemisphere, from the Middle East to Europe, you get a hint of the past and its cultural origins every time you take a sip. Half of the ingredients are common pantry and fridge items, so, after a quick grocery run, whip yourself up a serving of this creamy, chocolatey delight.

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