Lungo and mocha are just two of the many popular espresso-based drinks that coffee enthusiasts from around the world enjoy, but what exactly sets them apart from each other?
If you’re asking this very question, don’t worry because I’m here to help. I’ll guide you through their ingredients, ratios, flavor profiles, and more, so by the end of this read, you’ll know exactly what differentiates the mocha from the lungo.
Key takeaway: What’s the difference between a Mocha and a Lungo?
The Lungo is an espresso variant with a 1:4-1:5 coffee-to-water ratio, giving it a taste that’s less intense than a traditional espresso but with some bitterness. On the other hand, the Mocha combines 1 part espresso with 3 to 6 parts steamed milk and chocolate syrup or powder, resulting in a rich, creamy flavor that blends the taste of coffee with the sweetness of cocoa and milk.
What is a Lungo?
Originating from Italy, the term Lungo translates to “long”. This coffee variant emerged as a milder alternative to the traditional espresso. With its longer extraction time and larger volume, the Lungo is less intense but still retains the signature characteristics of a classic espresso.
Lungo has a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:4-1:5. Depending on your preference, you can use 7g of ground coffee for a traditional espresso or 9g for third-wave specialty coffee. The serving size is around 2 oz (60 ml) which I like to enjoy in my normal 90ml (3 oz) espresso cup.
Each cup has 60 to 80mg of caffeine and it’s pretty light on calories with just 2 calories per shot. It’s too little though that I just consider the lungo calorie-free.
What you’ll notice when you sip a Lungo is that it maintains the taste of espresso, but it comes with some bitterness. There is one thing you can do to keep the bitterness in check, reduce the extraction time by making the grinds a bit coarser than espresso fine. Prepared like this, the flavor profile and texture of Lungo sit between the intense and velvety espresso and the milder and fluid Americano.
Here are the steps to making a Lungo:
- Grind your coffee beans a little bit coarser than that for espresso.
- Measure your yield with a timer and scale during the brewing process.
- Aim to stop brewing after around 35 seconds, targeting a 1:4 to 1:5 coffee-water ratio.
To learn more, you can read my step-by-step guide on how to make a Lungo.
Next, let’s explore the mocha.
What is a Mocha?
The Caffé Mocha got its name from the port city of Mokha in Yemen, which was a central hub for the coffee trade for two centuries. Made for those with a sweet tooth, the mocha is a delightful combination of espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate. And of course, you can go wild with the extras, like whipped cream, extra chocolate syrup, etc.
To make a mocha, you start with an espresso, mix in some cocoa powder or syrup, then combine it with 3 to 6 portions of steamed milk, possibly adding a dash of chocolate syrup or cocoa powder. You can use extra chocolate syrup at any step of this, just like this Starbucks Mocha copycat recipe. They drizzle the syrup on the side of the glass, making for a sweeter and great-looking drink.
In flavor, mocha is the ideal drink for those who love both chocolate and coffee. It has a harmonious blend of bold espresso, sweet cocoa, and creamy milk.
Here are quick instructions on making a classic Caffé Mocha:
- Pull a single or double espresso.
- Blend the espresso and chocolate syrup or powder.
- Pour cold milk into a steaming pitcher until it reaches the bottom of the spout.
- Heat and steam the milk to around 160 degrees Fahrenheit, aerating it to create a silky texture with microfoam.
- Pour the milk over the coffee and chocolate mixture.
- Top it off with latte art, whipped cream, or a sprinkle of chocolate syrup or powder (optional).
I serve my mochas in a ceramic or glass latte mug that can hold 240-300 ml (8-10 oz). Each 240ml serving of mocha has about 180 calories and 60 to 80mg of caffeine per espresso shot used.
If you’re really interested in brewing this drink, you can read my article on how to make a Caffé Mocha.
Lungo vs Mocha: A Detailed Comparison
Get to know Lungo and mocha better with this comparison of the two drinks:
|Taste and Texture||Intense, yet not overpowering; rich and fluid||Rich and creamy with a blend of espresso and chocolate|
|Coffee-to-Water Ratio||1:4 to 1:5||1:2 to 1:3 (for the espresso part)|
|Ingredient Ratio||Just coffee with more water than an espresso||1 part espresso, 3-6 parts steamed milk, chocolate|
|Typical Serving Size||2 oz (60 ml)||5 to 16 oz (150 to 480 ml)|
|Caffeine Content||60-80 mg per single shot||60-80 mg per 1 oz shot of espresso used|
|Calories||2 calories per shot||180 calories for a 240 ml Mocha|
|Brewing Difficulty||Intermediate||Home barista|
|Bean Roast||Light to medium roasts||Medium-dark roasts|
Here’s a comparison of the two coffee drinks in detail:
- Ground Coffee Weight & Ratios: Both drinks start with 7g of coffee grounds or 9g for third-wave coffee. Mocha uses the standard 1:2 to 1:3 brew ratio for its espresso before it’s combined with chocolate syrup/powder and 3 to 6 portions of steamed milk with a thin microfoam.
Meanwhile, Lungo uses more water which gives you a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:4-1:5.
- Taste: The two coffees taste different. Lungo maintains a strong black coffee flavor with a bit of bitterness, while mocha has a unique taste that combines coffee and chocolate flavors, sometimes accompanied by a hint of vanilla.
- Volume, Calories, & Caffeine: Lungo servings are smaller at around 2 oz, while a mocha serving can go from 5 to the supersized 16 oz. Because of the milk and chocolate, a 240ml serving of mocha comes with 180 calories while Lungo only has 2 calories. Both drinks come with 60 to 80mg of caffeine.
- Steamed Milk: Lungo doesn’t have milk but mocha uses steamed milk with a thin microfoam. You can use full-fat milk or alternatives like soy, almond, or oat milk for this. Sometimes, I even top my mocha with whipped cream.
If you’re not yet familiar with steamed milk, you can read my guide on how to steam silky milk for your coffee.
- Serving Suggestions: I don’t drink Lungo too much, because I prefer Americano or AeroPress when I want to sip something milder than espresso. As for mocha, it’s like a dessert and coffee in one cup, so I drink it in the afternoon when I crave something sweet with a caffeine kick.
While both drinks are made with an espresso machine, they cater to different tastes with the Lungo offering a pure but milder espresso and the mocha appealing to those who love sweets.
To get started on both drinks, you can check out my list of the best espresso coffee beans this 2023.
Which is better?
I’ve been fixing both the Lungo and mocha for years now as a barista, and personally, I like the mocha better. I’d take a sweeter espresso drink any day over the Lungo, which I don’t really like because of its bitter profile.
But hey, that’s just my opinion. What about you, which coffee drink do you like better? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.