What are the Origins of Mocha Coffee?
The word "mocha" is generally used when discussing different types of coffee. But what exactly is a mocha coffee and where did it come from?
What is Mocha Coffee?
To start off, what is a mocha coffee and what is it made of? A mocha coffee or caffè mocha is a drink made up of espresso, hot milk, chocolate flavors, and sweetener. The chocolate flavors can be in the form of chocolate syrup or cocoa powder. Mocha is also commonly known as an espresso-infused hot chocolate. So is mocha just chocolate and coffee? The short answer is yes!
The word “mocha” is sometimes used in place of words like “coffee” and “java”. However, it is important to note that it is not only a type of coffee, but it is its own specific type of drink as well. So is mocha still considered coffee? Yes, absolutely! Mocha is a type of coffee drink like caffè latte or caffè macchiato.
A simple mocha base consists of two main ingredients: espresso and chocolate. You can make different types of mocha by adding more ingredients. Common variations include adding whipped cream on top, milk froth, cinnamon, or marshmallows.
Additionally, the caffè mocha can also be made using white chocolate rather than milk. It can even be a mixture of both white and milk chocolate to make a marble mocha. While the original mocha coffee uses espresso as part of the base, regular coffee can be used as well. Depending on which coffee shop or cafe you choose to go to, you may find all sorts of different types of mocha coffee.
Origins of Mocha Coffee
Now that we know what mocha coffee is exactly, where did it first come from and who invented this drink?
The word “mocha” originally refers to a place in Yemen, the city of Al Moka, or Mocha. It is a coastal city along the Red Sea and a major port for trading coffee during the 15th through 18th centuries. The city itself was named "Mocha" after the Arabian Mocha coffee beans that were shipped from the port. These mocha (or moka) beans were grown and harvested in the mountain regions of central Yemen. After being picked and roasted, the moka beans would then be transported to the Al Moka city port. Today, these beans are now known as Arabica coffee beans.
During that time, mocha beans were a popular choice among coffee drinkers. These beans are easily distinguishable from other beans due to their yellow-green color. Many of those who drank coffee from Yemen described it as having a chocolate flavor or undertones to it. That is why today we use the word mocha to refer to chocolate-flavored coffee drinks.
History of Mocha in the United States
The caffè mocha we are familiar with today actually originated in the United States. It was inspired by the Bicerin, a beverage from Turin, Italy during the 18th century. It was originally called "bavareisa." But because the drink was made popular by Caffè al Bicerin, it was later renamed Bicerin.
Bicerin is made from mixing espresso, milk or cream, and chocolate or cocoa in a small glass. Unlike the mocha coffee we drink today, Bicerin is served deconstructed. This means the ingredients are layered in the glass. The drinker mixes it together themselves before drinking. It was not until 1892 that the word caffè mocha appeared in the United States in a recipe.
How to Make Instant Coffee Mocha
Looking to make your own caffè mocha at home? Luckily, there are plenty of easy ways to do it. First, it is important to know the ratios. Mocha coffee is usually made up of one-third espresso (or coffee) and two-thirds steamed milk. The steamed milk is often mixed with cocoa powder or chocolate syrup.
If you don't have coffee at home, you can also make your own mocha by using high-quality instant coffee. Instant coffee is great because it allows you to customize the taste and caffeine levels. You can do this by either adding more or less instant coffee crystals when making your coffee base.
All you need to do is dissolve your preferred amount of instant coffee crystals in hot or warm water. Then add in two teaspoons of cocoa powder or hot chocolate mix into the coffee. Next, add in hot or warm milk. You can also foam up some milk and add it to the top of your mocha. Afterward, you can customize your caffè mocha any way you like. For example, you can top your mocha off with whipped cream, cocoa powder, chocolate, and more. The choice is up to you!
If you prefer an iced mocha coffee, you can use room temperature or cold water rather than hot water. Then add ice cubes at the end after the coffee and milk are mixed together.
How to Elevate your Mocha Coffee
Making your own caffè mocha at home is a simple process. However, not all mocha you make will taste the same. If you want to elevate your mocha to the next level, we recommend following two simple methods.
Use High Quality Coffee
One simple way to improve the taste of your mocha coffee is by using high-quality coffee. Since coffee is the base for the drink, the quality of the coffee used will affect the way your caffè mocha tastes. We recommend using dissolvable instant coffee crystals made from freeze-drying beans. This is because the natural aroma and flavor of the coffee are preserved better through this method. In addition, we also recommend looking for instant coffee made from Arabica beans. These coffee beans have a lighter and fruitier taste compared to other beans.
Use Dark Chocolate
Another way to improve the taste of your caffè mocha is by using dark chocolate. Since the drink can be too sweet for some, using dark chocolate helps to balance the sweetness. In fact, the subtle bitterness of the dark chocolate can bring another layer of depth to the taste. Adding real chocolate can also create a more rich flavor compared to using only cocoa powder. For chocolate lovers, this can be a great way to satisfy your chocolate cravings.