Macchiato vs Mocha: What Are The Differences?

A Close-Up Shot of Mugs on a Wooden Ledge

Coffee lovers rejoice! This article will discuss the similarities and differences between the most popular coffee drinks – the macchiato and the mocha. Whether you’re a fan of one, the other, or both, this article will provide insight into the unique characteristics of each drink and will also explain why each one is so beloved by coffee enthusiasts around the world. So get ready for a deep dive into the world of macchiatos and mochas!

What is a macchiato?

A cup of macchiato coffee

The word “macchiato” translates to “stained” or “marked” in Italian, which perfectly describes the appearance of this drink. A true macchiato should have just enough milk and foam to mark the espresso without overpowering it. This allows you to enjoy the strong taste of espresso while still having a hint of sweetness from the milk. 

What is a mocha?

Cup of mocha coffee

Mocha is a delicious coffee-based beverage combining two of the world’s most beloved flavors: coffee and chocolate. It starts with espresso and chocolate sauce, then blended with steamed milk to create a creamy, indulgent drink. The result is a rich, decadent treat that can be enjoyed anytime.

The Difference Between Mocha and Macchiato

Mocha and Macchiato are two espresso-based drinks that are often confused. While they are both made with espresso, they differ in flavor, milk preparation, calories, and caffeine content. We will provide further details about these distinctions to give you a better understanding of coffee.


Mocha is a combination of espresso, chocolate, and steamed milk. This combination creates a sweet, creamy, and chocolatey flavor. The espresso gives the drink a slight bitterness and a bit of a kick. Macchiato is espresso topped with a small amount of foamed milk. This creates a much stronger espresso flavor with a bit of sweetness from the milk. Ultimately, the flavor difference between Mocha and Macchiato comes down to the sweetness of the Mocha and the strength of the Macchiato.

Milk Preparation

Milk froth

The way the milk is handled when making macchiato and mocha coffees is quite distinct. For a macchiato, most of the milk is foam, while for a mocha, it is a combination of steamed and frothed milk. This variance in the proportion of milk used creates a dramatic difference in the feel and flavor of each beverage.


A standard macchiato will contain around 60 calories, while a mocha contains about 200 calories. Mocha offers more calories since it is made with chocolate and more milk and is often topped with whipped cream. Macchiato is mostly espresso and a small amount of foamed milk.

Caffeine Content

A Person Weighing Ingredients on the Bowl

Since macchiato and mocha are made with an espresso shot, they will have the same caffeine content – about 63.6 mg to 76.02 mg. However, mocha coffee has one more source of caffeine, and that is chocolate syrup. Therefore, mocha is the higher-caffeine choice of the two drinks.


Let’s answer some common questions about these coffee drinks.

Are Macchiatos Sweet?

Macchiatos can be sweet or not sweet, depending on the type of macchiato you order. The traditional macchiato is an espresso shot with a small amount of steamed milk. This type of macchiato is not sweet. However, many variations of macchiato, such as caramel macchiato, mocha macchiato, and vanilla macchiato, are sweetened with flavored syrup or sugar.

Does Mocha Have Coffee?

Yes, mocha has coffee. Typically, it contains one or two espresso shots.

Which is Stronger Macchiato or Mocha?

Mocha is considered stronger than Macchiato, as it contains two sources of caffeine – espresso and chocolate. In terms of flavor, however, a macchiato will have a stronger coffee taste, whereas a mocha will taste less like coffee and more like hot chocolate.


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