National Mocha Day
annually on September 29th
Food & Drink
A caffè mocha or mocha latte, sometimes simply called a mocha (pronounced MO-kuh), is an American variant of caffè latte, celebrated today with National Mocha Day. Usually served in a glass instead of a mug, a mocha consists of about one-third espresso, two-thirds steamed milk, and chocolate—usually cocoa powder (often with sugar), but sometimes chocolate syrup or dark or milk chocolate. Mochas may be topped with whipped cream, steamed-milk foam, or mini marshmallows, and are sometimes dusted with cinnamon, sugar, or cocoa powder. There are a number of mocha variations, from iced mocha lattes to mochachinos, which are cappuccinos flavored with chocolate, to white mochas, which are mochas made with white chocolate. Mocha flavor is used in many foods and drinks, such as with cake, pie, fillings and frostings, mousse and pudding, ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, ice pops, mocha chip cookies, shakes, floats, and mochatini cocktails.
Mochas are named for the Yemeni port town of Mocha (Mokha), which was known for being an important coffee marketplace from the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries, where coffee grown in the hills was exported. Notes of chocolate were present in the Mocha coffee bean, which led to coffee with a chocolate taste being tagged as mocha. The name was around at least by 1773 after coffee drinking had spread through Europe. Later, chocolate and coffee were combined, and the name "mocha" became the official name for this combination—for coffee that didn't just have a flavor of chocolate, but actually had chocolate in it.
Mocha similar to what we'd recognize today started to be made sometime around the turn of the twentieth century, and recipes that referenced mocha and combined coffee and chocolate appeared around the same time. Things were further solidified with the debut of the modern espresso machine following World War II when baristas began adding chocolate to espresso drinks. Instant mocha packets were available by the 1970s. Mochas have continued to be a staple at coffee shops and cafés, and are celebrated today with National Mocha Day!
How to Observe National Mocha Day
Make yourself a mocha or have one at a coffee shop or café. You could also have a food or drink that is flavored with mocha. Mix up a mochatini, bake some mocha chip cookies or a mocha cake, or prepare mocha pudding.