For a long time, mocha or mocha referred to a type of Arabica coffee bean grown in Yemen and was used as a general term for coffee beans imported from the Yemeni port of Al Moka – the place from which the bean is named ( via Coffee Or Die). Mocha beans were famous for having a green and yellow hue compared to their brown colored counterparts. Mocha’s iconic association with chocolate also begins here, as the beans were thought to have a distinct chocolate flavor, writes Coffee Or Die.
Modern mocha as we know it today comes from a drink called bicerin, which was popular in 18th century Italy. According to Sprudge, the drink is named after an Italian cafe by the name of Caffè al Bicerin, which served its customers a drink of coffee, cream and chocolate. At the time, Caffè al Bicerin served the three ingredients separately to cafe customers, who could then mix them to taste, according to Sprudge.
Even today, mocha is made from similar layers of espresso, milk, and chocolate. Chocolate can be dark, milk, or white, and can be added in a variety of forms, including powdered chocolate, syrup, and even just melted chocolate (via Super Coffee). Sometimes a single mocha can even have multiple sources of chocolate! Although the exact method of preparing a mocha differs from barista to barista – whether or not they add milk froth, the type of chocolate used and how the three ingredients are mixed – one thing remains the same: the delicious mixture of milk, chocolate and coffee!