Starbucks Macchiato vs. Mocha: how do they compare?

Some new Starbucks customers are afraid to explore the drinks menu since they don’t understand how coffee beverages differ. I can relate since I have been there. I only used to order a latte from Starbucks even though the menu had so many other options I could pick.

I assumed that drinks like Starbucks Macchiato and Mocha were similar until I did more research on them. I created this post to share the differences between these two drinks. By the end, you also discover which of the two is better. Read on to find out more!

What are the differences between Starbucks Macchiato vs. Mocha?

DrinkStarbucks MacchiatoStarbucks Mocha
IngredientsSteamed milk and espressoMilk foam, steamed milk, espresso, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream
Taste ProfileHas a strong coffee flavorIt is delicious, rich, and chocolaty
Caffeine content/Nutritional valueA quad has 300 mg of caffeine. The same drink has 25 calories.A venti has 185 mg of caffeine. The same drink has 450 calories.
Availability/AccessibilityIts varieties are easy to access from a Starbucks store or through the app.Some of its varieties are seasonal and not always available throughout the year.
Roast levelDark roastMedium/ Light roast

Starbucks Macchiato vs. Mocha – How They Compare

What it’s made of (ingredients)

Starbucks Mocha is made with 2 or 1 shots of espresso, chocolate sauce, and steamed milk. The baristas like topping this drink with some chocolate shavings or whipped cream to make it more delicious. It can also be served with a layer of microfoam on top to make it more aesthetically pleasing. In Starbucks Mocha, the ratio of milk to espresso is 3:1.

On the other hand, Starbucks Macchiato is made with 1 or two shots of espresso and 1 or 2 teaspoons of milk foam added on top. Since a small amount of milk foam is added to a Macchiato, this drink has more espresso than milk.

Though both Starbucks Macchiato and Mocha both contain milk and espresso, Starbucks Mocha is better since it has more milk and includes a chocolate component.

Taste profile

The ingredients in these two beverages contribute to their difference in taste. The chocolate sauce in Starbucks Mocha gives it a sweet and rich flavor, while the espresso in Starbucks Macchiato gives it a more intense coffee flavor. Since Starbucks baristas also add whipped cream to Mocha drinks, it makes them richer and sweeter.

Starbucks Mocha is hot chocolate with espresso, while Starbucks Macchiato tastes so much like espresso with the creaminess from the milk. Therefore, Starbucks mocha is better than Starbucks Macchiato since it is more delicious.

Caffeine content/nutritional value

Starbucks Macchiato and Mocha are caffeinated drinks that can raise energy levels, especially in the morning. If, for instance, you order a Venti Starbucks Mocha, you will be consuming 185 mg of caffeine. On the other hand, if you order a quad Starbucks Macchiato which contains 4 shots of espresso, you will be consuming 300 mg of this stimulant.

So from the above, you can tell that Starbucks Macchiato has more caffeine than Starbucks Mocha.

If you are looking for a healthy beverage between the two, you should consider Starbucks Macchiato. This is because it does not have as many calories as Starbucks Mocha. For instance, a quad Starbucks Macchiato has only 25 calories, while a Venti Starbucks Mocha has 450 calories.

One thing that makes Starbucks Mocha a high-calorie beverage is its ingredients. Note that you may increase the calories in this drink by customizing it with toppings like whipped cream.

In terms of nutritional value, Starbucks Macchiato is better than Starbucks Mocha since it has fewer calories.

Availability/ Accessibility

You can order Starbucks Macchiato and Mocha any of these beverages through the company’s website or directly from a Starbucks shop.

However, Starbucks offers more variety when it comes to Starbucks Mocha as compared to Macchiato. Starbucks Mocha is available in flavors like regular, white, and peppermint. The problem with some of the Mocha flavors is that they are seasonal and are not always available throughout the year.

On the other hand, Starbucks Macchiatos are available in options like espresso, latte, and caramel Macchiato. These are more accessible at Starbucks stores since they are not seasonal.

Therefore, Starbucks Macchiato wins since it is more available than Starbucks Mocha.

Roast level

Starbucks uses dark roast espresso to prepare Macchiato. In making Caramel Macchiato, this company uses a unique dark roast espresso referred to as Espresso roast. This roast level leads to a strong flavor and low acidity in Starbucks Macchiato.

On the other hand, Starbucks Mocha can either be made with light or medium-roasted coffee. This roast level makes the coffee more acidic than Starbucks Macchiato.

Therefore, Starbucks Macchiato is better than Mocha since it is made using dark roast coffee instead of medium or light roast coffee.

Starbucks Macchiato vs. Mocha: A comparison overview

Starbucks Macchiato – Overview

Starbucks Macchiato vs. Mocha
Starbucks Macchiato. Image source: Starbucks

Macchiato is an Italian word that means marked. The idea of marking a drink with a certain design has inspired this coffee house to create delicious and unique beverages.

Starbucks introduced two Macchiato drinks to its menu in 2017. They include espresso Macchiato and latte Macchiato.

Espresso Macchiato starts with espresso, and it is marked with foam. It is a bold drink that is available in two sizes. You can either order a solo espresso Macchiato which comes with one shot of espresso, or a doppio espresso Macchiato which comes with two shots of espresso.

On the other hand, the Latte Macchiato is made with steamed whole milk and espresso shots. The espresso forms a small circle at the center of the white microfoam. During the company’s 25th anniversary, it introduced another type of Macchiato known as Caramel Macchiato.

This became quite popular among Starbucks customers since it is a comforting drink. It comprises steamed milk, espresso, vanilla syrup, and caramel drizzle. Today, Caramel Macchiato forms part of the company’s main menu.

What I liked

  • Rich espresso flavor
  • Rounded out by foam or steamed milk

What I didn’t like;

  • It is sometimes too intense

Who it’s best suited for.

  • Great for people looking for a middle ground between a cappuccino and espresso.

Starbucks Mocha – Overview

Starbucks Macchiato vs. Mocha - how do they compare?
Starbucks Mocha. Image source: Starbucks

This Starbucks beverage combines two flavors, chocolate and coffee. The baristas make it with chocolate sauce and espresso. They also add steamed milk without foam. You can also order Starbuck Mocha with whipped cream and some chocolate shavings on top.

Starbucks Mocha is a rich, full-bodied espresso drink that is available either iced or hot. The milk used to prepare this drink is steamed to a standard 160 degrees F, and the preparation process brings out the natural sweetness of the milk. If you prefer an Iced Starbucks mocha, the baristas will make it with cold milk instead of steamed milk and then serve it over ice.

Since this drink is also popular, Starbucks has been introducing different variations, such as the White Mocha, Peppermint Mocha, and Reserve Dark Chocolate Mocha. You can even order the regular Starbucks Mocha with non-dairy alternatives such as coconut milk, soy, oat, or almond milk instead of regular milk. You can even sweeten it further by asking the Starbucks barista for a few pumps of vanilla syrup.

What I liked;

  • It is available in different flavors
  • Delicious taste

What I didn’t like;

  • The espresso is not pronounced

Who it’s best suited for.

  • Best suited for chocolate lovers and seasoned coffee drinkers

Final Verdict: So, Which is Better? – Starbucks Mocha or Macchiato

This depends on one’s personal preference. I believe that both of these beverages are good. A Starbucks Macchiato is good since it has a strong espresso flavor, fewer calories, and more caffeine. This is good for anyone looking for a more energizing drink.

Starbucks Mocha is also good since it is sweeter and richer since it includes chocolate. Therefore if you need a more indulgent drink, you should consider it. However, due to its high-calorie content, you should consider ordering this drink in small quantities.


Does Mocha taste better than Macchiato?

Yes. Most people prefer Mocha’s taste to Macchiato since it combines coffee and chocolate flavors. This drink also tones down the intense espresso flavor.

Which one is stronger, between Mocha and Macchiato?

Starbucks Macchiato is stronger than Mocha since it has a stronger coffee taste and a small amount of milk. It is also served without any sweeteners.

Which one is healthier, between Mocha and Macchiato?

Starbucks Macchiato is healthier than Mocha since it is only made up of espresso and a small amount of milk. It does not contain other ingredients found in Starbucks Mocha, such as chocolate or whipped cream.

Is Mocha sweeter than Macchiato?

Yes. Starbucks Mocha is sweeter due to the addition of chocolate in its making. You can even make it sweeter by ordering it with other ingredients like chocolate shavings.