Drinks / Sweet

How to Make a Starbucks-Quality Mocha at Home

I know I’ve posted on here before about making mochas on your stovetop, but since I feel like I’ve really perfected the recipe I thought I’d post about it again. Those of you who know me may know that I have a long history with coffee. I was hired at Starbucks at the age of 16 and ended up working there for 6 years — through college. It was a great job and my love of coffee was solidified during those years. I still frequent the ‘bucks, but more often I can be found making coffee at home and experimenting with recreating my favorite recipes from my barista days.

This recipe works just as well for homemade hot chocolate if you omit the coffee. I’ve never been much of a fan of those powdered packets that you add hot water to, so be warned — this recipe is not that. (And I can definitely recommend topping off your mug with a big dollop of whipped cream — it makes life worth living.)

This recipe is perfect for one person, but it’s just as easy to double, triple or quadruple it — whatever your fancy. I will admit that an instant espresso machine (like the Nespresso) makes things a bit easier here, but you can certainly make do with a stovetop espresso pot or any other type of coffee contraption that you have on hand. If you’re using a standard coffee pot or french press, just make sure to double the coffee strength to make a more concentrated, espresso-like batch of coffee. (I recommend using 4 tbsp coffee per 6 oz of water to do this.)


Homemade Mocha

serves one

  • 25 grams / 1 ounce / 2.5 tbsp dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • tiniest pinch of salt
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5 ounces (one shot) or more espresso or double-strength coffee
  1. Place chocolate, sugar, salt, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk regularly until chocolate is dissolved and milk is heated through to desired temperature.
  2. Take milk mixture off the heat and add vanilla extract.
  3. Add desired amount of coffee/espresso and stir to combine in a large mug.


  • I prefer to use semi-sweet chocolate in this, which has at least 35% cocoa content. The chocolate I get here in the Netherlands has a minimum of 45%, which seems to work perfectly. The higher the cocoa content, the more bitter/less sweet the mocha will be. I’ve used chocolate with up to 90% cocoa content in this recipe, and while I prefer the higher cocoa content for general chocolate snacking, I think the mid-range (35 – 60%) works best.
  • You can use any types of milk you prefer in this, but I generally use whole milk as I think it gives the best result.