There are a lot of different coffee options out there. Coffee lovers can go to the local cafe or drive-thru and enjoy a cup of single-origin drip coffee, or they can get an iced latte at a fancy coffee shop.

There are many, many options out there for people who love coffee. One option is a macchiato or a mocha. The two drinks may look similar, but they have a few key differences that set them apart.

Quick Answer: What’s the difference between a macchiato and a mocha?

The main difference between a macchiato and a mocha is that a macchiato is made with espresso and steamed milk, while a mocha is made with espresso, chocolate sauce, steamed milk, and optionally whipped cream.

Macchiato vs. Mocha: All the Differences You Need to Know

In this article, I’ll go over all the differences between macchiato vs. mocha so that you can decide which might be the better drink for you. Let’s get into it!

Macchiato vs. mocha, how do they differ?

You now know about the main difference between a macchiato and a mocha.

In the table below, you’ll find all the differences that set these coffees apart:

Which coffee?Two espresso shotsOne espresso shot
Milk used?Yes, 1 oz (30 ml)Yes, 1/2 cup (0.12 l)
Flavor notesA strong coffee flavor and a sweet, creamy tasteRich and chocolaty, with a hint of coffee
Caffeine content136mg of caffeine68mg of caffeine
Number of calories17 calories162 calories
Sweetener?No sweetener addedYes, chocolate sauce
Topping?Milk foam toppingOptionally, a serving of whipped cream

Now that you know what makes these drinks special, let’s go in-depth about each difference so you can decide which might be the better coffee for you:

Which is stronger, a macchiato or a mocha?

A macchiato is stronger than a mocha because it has more espresso, a smaller amount of milk, and usually no sweeteners.

Espresso is a very concentrated form of coffee, so using more of it will make your drink stronger.

Espresso coffee.

That being said, the strength of your macchiato or mocha also depends on how much milk and flavoring is used. If you want a really strong drink, ask for less milk and flavorings.

When making these drinks at home, you can easily change the ratios to your liking.

Tip: Learn how to make a macchiato at home using this 5-minute recipe!

What is the flavor difference between a macchiato and a mocha?

There is definitely a flavor difference between macchiatos and mochas. Macchiatos are typically made with two espresso shots and a small amount of milk, while mochas are made with espresso, chocolate sauce, and milk.

The chocolate sauce in a mocha will give it a sweeter, richer flavor, while the espresso in a macchiato will give it a more intense coffee flavor.

Chocolate sauce.

Most of the time, the mocha is also finished with a serving of whipped cream. The added whipped cream will make the mocha even sweeter, richer, and decadent.

What is the difference in milk preparation between these coffees?

Both drinks are made by steaming the milk. However, the milk in a macchiato is mostly foam, while the milk in a mocha is a mix of steamed and foamed milk.

Because the macchiato uses such a small amount of milk and is known for its milk foam topping, there’s a big difference in the milk that is used.

Most coffee bars use only milk foam when preparing the macchiato, while a mocha uses steamed milk, which usually has a small amount of foam as well.

Milk in a jar.

When you’re making these drinks at home, you can choose the milk preparation you like the most.

Using milk foam will make a great macchiato, but it’s best to use the leftover steamed milk in another drink, as you’ll otherwise waste it.

If you’re wondering how to froth milk at home, you can check out this article, where I go over six different ways of doing so.

Is there a calorie difference between a macchiato and a mocha?

There is a big difference in calories between a macchiato and a mocha. A macchiato has a much smaller volume than a mocha, so there are fewer calories in a macchiato.

Additionally, because a macchiato is made with espresso and a small amount of milk only, it has fewer calories than a mocha.

Mocha coffee.

A mocha uses more milk and has added chocolate sauce and whipped cream. These ingredients make the mocha have a total of 162 calories. In comparison, a macchiato has only 17 calories.

Both drinks can be lower in calories when using lower-fat milk or even a milk alternative that you love the most. Experiment with different milk versions and see which fits you best.

Macchiato vs. mocha, is there a caffeine difference?

Each drink has a different ratio of espresso to milk/chocolate, so they will have different amounts of caffeine.

Generally speaking, a macchiato will have more caffeine because it has more espresso.

A macchiato has 136mg of caffeine because two espresso shots are used, while a mocha has 68mg of caffeine. (Source)

Brewing espresso shots.

You can also make a mocha with an additional espresso shot if you prefer the stronger flavor and caffeine content.

Tip: Check out this easy-to-make recipe to make a mocha at home.

Which is better, a macchiato or a mocha?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best choice of the drink depends on your personal preferences.

If you’re not quite sure which of these coffees fits you, then I recommend the following:

  • A macchiato has a strong espresso flavor with just a hint of sweetness from the milk, while a mocha is richer and sweeter thanks to the addition of chocolate.
  • So, if you’re looking for something refreshing and energizing, go for a macchiato. But if you’re in the mood for something rich and indulgent, go for a mocha.
Macchiato vs. mocha comparison side by side.
Macchiato on the left. Mocha on the right

Ultimately, it comes down to what you are in the mood for and what you are looking for in a coffee drink.

I prefer a macchiato over a mocha because I like the more robust flavor of it.

However, a mocha is just as delicious, especially as an after-dinner treat made with decaf coffee!

Related coffee comparison articles

Are you wondering how the mocha and macchiato compare to other coffees?

Great! Check out the articles below for more in-depth coffee comparisons:

And to compare more coffees, visit the coffee comparison hub!


So there you have it – the difference between a macchiato and a mocha. I hope this article has helped clear up any confusion about these two coffee drinks.

If you’re ever in doubt, just remember that a macchiato is espresso coffee with a dollop of milk foam, while a mocha is made with espresso, chocolate sauce, and steamed milk.

Do you like reading about the differences between various coffees? Check out more coffee comparisons below!

Coffee recipes to try

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