September 29th is National Mocha Day.
What is mocha (MO-kuh), and where did it come from?
The coffee bean, which was first discovered growing wild in Ethiopia, was not extensively cultivated until the 15th and 16th centuries. Then, extensive planting of the trees was undertaken in the Yemen region of Arabia (the history of coffee).
From Yemen, the drinking of coffee and trading of coffee beans spread throughout the Arabian peninsula, and later, beyond Arabia to Europe. Al Mokha was the main port of Yemen, where most of the trading occurred.
When coffee-growing expanded around the world, it was noted that the coffee made with Al-Mokha beans had a chocolatey nuance, and those beans became known as mokha/moka. The term was in use by 1773.
At some later point, a cook combined coffee and mocha flavors into beverages and desserts, and called the flavor mocha. It’s been with us ever since.
Today, the flavor profile is used in everything from:
For a quick mocha fix:
A mocha latte, also called a caffè mocha, is a variation of the basic caffè latte. Like a latte, it is typically one third espresso and two thirds steamed milk. (Add chocolate syrup to a cappuccino and you have mochacchino. Cappuccino is made with less milk than latte.)
To make a mocha, some chocolate is added: chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, sweetened cocoa powder (cocoa mix powder), etc. It can be dark or milk chocolate.
A latte is typically one-third coffee and two-thirds milk. You can change the proportions to your liking.
Ingredients Per Mug
1. PLACE the chocolate syrup in the bottom of the mug. Add the espresso and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
2. ADD the steamed milk. You can stir lightly, or leave the coffee and milk in layers.
3. GARNISH as desired. Some coffee houses drizzle chocolate syrup atop the whipped cream.
Caramel syrup makes it a caramel mocha latte. Mint extract instead of vanilla makes a mint mocha latte; and it’s the same with hazelnut extract, orange extract, raspberry extract, etc.
For adults, there’s the Irish mocha latte (add Irish whiskey), the Baileys mocha latte, rum mocha latte, etc.
You can also pre-rim the mug with instant cocoa mix, grated chocolate, etc.