If rich, chocolatey coffee goodness sounds right up your alley, you’ve gotta try my copycat Starbucks Mocha Latte recipe. Made with 5 simple ingredients in about 5 minutes, this homemade coffee shop favorite is a chocoholic’s dream come true.
After all the deliciously indulgent holiday favorites (like my gingerbread latte, eggnog latte, and merry mint white mocha, to name a few), I’m excited to get back to basics. From the subtle sweetness of a vanilla latte to the burnt sugar goodness of a caramel latte, I’m all for the throwback favorites from the OG Starbucks offerings from the 90s.
This hot mocha latte is just the newest addition to what I’m dubbing the “nostalgia menu.” Between the creamy frothed milk, the rich espresso, and two types of chocolate, it’s the perfect mocha for both scratching your sweet tooth and fueling you up with caffeine. This easy mocha latte is the definition of two birds, one very yummy stone. 😉
- What is a mocha latte?
- What does it taste like?
- Why You’ll Love This Copycat Starbucks Mocha Recipe
- Ingredients Needed
- How To Make A Mocha Latte At Home
- Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
- Serving Suggestions
- Recipe Success Tips
- Homemade Mocha Latte Nutrition
- Other Recipes For Chocolate Lovers
- Homemade Mocha Latte (Starbucks Copycat)
What is a mocha latte?
In essence, this copycat Starbucks dark chocolate mocha is just a chocolate latte. It starts with the same base of milk (dairy or plant-based) and espresso (or strong coffee) but is laced with plenty of melted chocolaty goodness. Also known as caffè mocha, mochaccino, moccaccino, or just “mocha,” this classic coffee drink has withstood the test of time.
But, why is called that? Mocha is a term borrowed from a port city in Yemen called Mokha (or Al Mokka). Yemen was a big player in the coffee trade from the 15th-17th centuries, and the Yemeni coffee beans that grew in the hills nearby the port apparently had a notable chocolate undertone. Way back when beans from Yemen were thus marketed as "mocha beans."
Nowadays, the beans have nothing to do with the drink — it’s all about the chocolate, baby! Starting around the early 20th century, the term began to change meanings and was used to describe a variety of recipes (like cakes or cookies) that combined chocolate with coffee. So, a mocha latte is a chocolate and coffee-flavored latte. The more you know! 🌈
What does it taste like?
Rich, creamy, and über chocolatey. If you’ve ever noticed that lots of chocolate-based dessert recipes add a bit of coffee to the mix, it’s no coincidence. Coffee helps to amplify the flavors of chocolate, making this mocha latte recipe the cat’s pajamas for people who are cuckoo for cocoa.
When you take a sip, it tastes like a warm version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate river sliding across your tongue. It’s delightfully smooth, with enchantingly roasty-toasty undertones. In other words, it’s a gee-dang chocolate dream come to life.
Why You’ll Love This Copycat Starbucks Mocha Recipe
Learning how to make a Starbucks mocha is one of the best barista skills you can have. Aside from being easier than you might think, this recipe is also:
- Super Chocolatey - Between the semisweet chocolate and cocoa powder, this is a drink for serious chocolate lovers only!
- Quick & Simple - Making this Starbucks mocha coffee is just as speedy as ordering one from the drive-through. All you need is about 5 minutes and you’ll be in caffeinated chocolatey bliss.
- Wallet-Friendly - Your daily Starbucks run may feel like a status symbol, but if you can shelve the “affluent millennial” act, I guarantee your bank balance will be fatter. You can make a whole week’s worth of mocha deliciousness for less than one would cost in stores!
To make a dark chocolate mocha latte Starbucks would be jealous of, you only need 5 simple ingredients. Here’s what to grab:
- Whole Milk - If you order your mocha from Starbucks without any modifiers, whole milk is what’s gonna be in your cup.
- Chocolate Chips - I prefer using semisweet chocolate for a more intense chocolate flavor, feel free to swap in milk chocolate if you prefer your sips on the sweet side.
- Vanilla Syrup - The aromatic warmth of vanilla adds something special, while the simple syrup acts as the perfect sweetener. I strongly suggest making my homemade version — it requires just 3 ingredients, about 5 minutes of work, and will save you a boatload over buying the premade stuff.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - Semisweet chocolate usually falls in the range of 40-60% cocoa solids. Adding a little extra cocoa bumps up the chocolatey goodness while keeping expenses down. I recommend using a Dutch-processed cocoa powder for the smoothest flavor, but conventional cocoa powder, black cocoa powder, or raw cacao powder will also work.
- Espresso - I don’t know about you, but I’m here for the coffee! 2 shots is the perfect amount for a copycat grande Starbucks mocha, but feel free to adjust according to your caffeination needs.
- Whipped cream - Optional, but fantastic for adding a little extra luxury.
Need to make some changes to your mocha ingredients? I’ve got you covered with easy swaps:
- Whole Milk - Feel free to use the dairy or plant-based milk of your choice. Oat milk and soy milk are especially good in this one. If you go for vegan milk, I recommend opting for a “barista blend” variety, as these are specially formulated to froth to perfection.
- Chocolate Chips - I like using chocolate chips for ease, but you’re absolutely welcome to swap in finely chopped bar chocolate instead.
- Vanilla Syrup - While vanilla is a classic addition, feel free to branch out. Caramel, hazelnut, or pistachio syrups would all be absolutely delightful. Alternatively, you can use maple syrup or 1 tablespoon of white sugar or the sweetener of your choice plus a small splash (about ¼ teaspoon) of vanilla extract. Just make sure to fully dissolve the sugar or sugar substitute so you don’t have any graininess.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - I love my cocoa mocha latte addition for added chocolate flavor. If you don’t have unsweetened cocoa, consider omitting the vanilla syrup and using the hot chocolate mix of your choosing, or chocolate sauce.
- Espresso - You’re welcome to use decaf espresso if you want the delectable mocha flavor without the buzz. Alternatively, if you don't have a French press, moka pot, or espresso machine/espresso maker, you can swap in 8 ounces of strong brewed coffee or heated cold brew instead.
- Whipped Cream - Feel free to omit it, or swap in the garnishes of your choosing. For hot cocoa vibes, try homemade marshmallows. For extra decadence, try adding a scoop of chocolate, mint, or coffee ice cream — the contrasting temperatures and additional creaminess is tough to beat.
How To Make A Mocha Latte At Home
This mocha latte Starbucks recipe comes together quicker than ordering at the counter. Here’s how:
Step 1: Warm the milk, chocolate chips, vanilla syrup, and cocoa powder to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat.
Step 2: Whisk frequently until the chocolate is melted and everything is well combined and smooth. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and froth with a milk frother. Set the hot milk aside.
Step 3: Brew your espresso or coffee into a mug.
Step 4: Top with the frothed chocolate milk.
Step 5: Garnish with whipped cream if desired, or just drink up!
Optional Variations & Dietary Adjustments
The great thing about my recipe for Starbucks mocha latte is you can tweak it to your heart’s content. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Vegan Mocha - Use certified vegan chocolate, plant-based milk, and coconut whipped cream.
- Sugar-Free Mocha - To make this tasty latte mocha diabetic-friendly, swap in sugar-free chocolate chips (e.g. Lily’s) and use sugar-free vanilla syrup.
- Starbucks Skinny Mocha - Swap in skim milk or the low-fat, low-calorie plant-based milk of your choice (e.g. unsweetened almond milk). Omit the whipped cream topping, and if you’re really going for it, try using sugar-free vanilla syrup.
- Iced Mocha Latte Recipe - All the chocolatey goodness, except frosty and refreshing!
- White Mocha Latte - If you prefer your chocolate lily white, try making a white mocha instead! For something a little out of the ordinary, this toasted white chocolate mocha is also the bee’s knees.
- Mocha Caramel Latte - Instead of vanilla syrup, use caramel syrup. For extra caramelly goodness, drizzle the whipped cream with some caramel sauce, too.
- Peppermint Mocha Latte - Get that York peppermint patty rush by swapping in peppermint syrup for the vanilla.
- Mocha Chai Latte - Add a bit of spice by swapping out the vanilla syrup for chai concentrate. It’ll taste like my dirty chai latte, but chocolatey. 😋
This Starbucks mocha latte recipe pairs beautifully with all kinds of tasty treats. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- 🌰Nutty Nutella Fusion: Stir in a spoonful of Nutella into your mocha (or warm some up and drizzle it on top!) for a latte that tastes like a melted Ferrero Rocher truffle. Hazelnut cake or flaky almond croissants are the perfect nutty buddies.
- 🌶️Spice It Up: Add a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper to your mocha for a spicy kick. You can also swap out the chocolate chips for your favorite chili chocolate bar. Pair your spicy mocha with Mexican hot chocolate cookies for a Mayan-inspired marvel.
- 🔥S'mores Sensation: Create a s'mores-inspired mocha by adding a torched marshmallow on top. If you’re feeling extra, dip the rim of your glass in mocha sauce, then press it into a pile of graham cracker crumbs. Pair it with a chocolate-covered graham cracker or a s'mores brownie for a campfire-inspired treat.
- 🥥Coconut Dream: Use coconut milk to infuse your mocha with a touch of the tropics. Garnish with whipped coconut cream and toasted coconut flakes, then serve alongside your favorite island-inspired desserts like coconut cream pie or coconut macaroons. One sip and you'll be transported to a sunny beach!
- DIY Mocha Bar: Next time you’re hosting a morning shindig, consider making a big crockpot of these Starbucks mocha drinks, then setting out all the toppings and fixin’s you can think of. You’re guaranteed to win Hostess with the Mostest awards!
Recipe Success Tips
- Make-Ahead Magic - If chocolate is one of your love languages, get yourself set up for a full week of mocha goodness by making a batch of my copycat Starbucks mocha sauce. That way, all that’s left to do in the morning is pull your espresso shots!
- Slow & Steady - Don’t rush by cranking up the heat. Milk’s flavor changes pretty significantly when it’s scalded, and delicate chocolate can get gritty and separate if it’s exposed to too high of heat. Keep the saucepan on med-low, and if you want to hurry things along, just put the lid on it.
- Whisk It Like You Mean It - You want every last bit of chocolatey goodness to melt into the drink so you get the right balance of flavors and the perfect mouthfeel.
Mocha typically refers to chocolate & coffee working together in delicious harmony.
Think of it this way: a mocha is a chocolate-flavored latte. So, they both start with milk and espresso in a roughly 3:1 ratio, then to make your latte a mocha, you add a good amount of chocolate to the mix. How strong they are will depend on how much espresso you use.
I tend to prefer semisweet chocolate, but milk chocolate works well if you prefer a less intense chocolate flavor. However, if you’ve tried the Starbucks mocha, you know — it’s REAL CHOCOLATEY. For the closest approximation, reach for chocolate with 55-60% cocoa solids.
There is no difference at all, in fact. They’re two names for the same delicious drink.
Homemade Mocha Latte Nutrition
With 340 calories per serving, this mocha is a cozy treat that can fit into a balanced diet. You've got 15 grams of total fat, which includes some saturated fat. To lower overall fat content, use lower-fat milk options. The protein rings in at 10 grams thanks to the milk, so it will help fill you up a bit. Sodium comes in at 117 mg, which is relatively low, so no need to worry about it being too salty.
You've also got 47 grams of carbohydrates, with 41 grams of sugar. That's where the indulgent chocolate flavor comes from! Keep in mind that a high sugar content can lead to energy spikes and crashes, so it's best enjoyed as an occasional treat rather than a daily habit.
I also recommend pairing it with a high-fiber snack to help moderate your blood sugar. If you're watching your sugar intake, you can always try some sugar-free or reduced-sugar alternatives. Jump back up to the "optional variations" section for some guidance!
Total nutritional content per serving is:
- Calories: 340 calories
- Total Fat: 15 grams
- Protein: 10 grams
- Sodium: 117 mg
- Carbohydrates: 47 grams
- Sugar: 41 grams
*This nutritional information is an estimate and calculated based on the ingredients used to create the recipe. The nutritional value of your ingredients may differ slightly. Furthermore, this food is not intended to prevent, diagnose, cure, or treat any disease.
Other Recipes For Chocolate Lovers
Homemade Mocha Latte (Starbucks Copycat)
- 1 cup milk of choice (I used whole milk)
- 2 tablespoon chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
- 2 tablespoon vanilla syrup
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 oz espresso (or 8 oz freshly brewed coffee)
- Whipped cream (optional for garnish)
- Add the milk, chocolate chips, vanilla syrup, and cocoa powder to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Whisk frequently until the chocolate is melted and everything is well combined and smooth.
- Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and froth with a milk frother. Set aside.
- Brew your espresso or coffee into a mug, then top with the frother chocolate milk. Top with whipped cream if desired, then drink up!