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How to Make the Best Cafe Mocha With a Nespresso Espresso Maker

Learn how to make a cafe mocha at home.

Learn how to make a cafe mocha at home.

Goodbye, Starbucks!

Mocha lovers, listen up! There are mochas . . . and then there are mochas. If your pocketbook needs a break from hitting the drive-thru every morning to get your morning caffeine jolt, here is the perfect recipe to get your day started right.

First, purchase a single-cup coffee/espresso maker. There are several on the market, such as Keurig and Nespresso, that are relatively inexpensive and oh so easy to use. Similar in concept is the Starbucks Verismo, a single espresso maker. Compared to visiting your neighborhood Starbucks every day, this initial investment will easily pay for itself in a little over two months.

My favorite Nespresso machine, and the best value for the money, is the CitiZ & Milk for $299. Purchasing this combo machine saves $50 off purchasing a CitiZ and an Aeroccino steamer separately. A less expensive option is to purchase an Essenza ($129) and an Aeroccino ($99).

My Nespresso CitiZ & Milk

My Nespresso CitiZ & Milk

Not All Chocolate Is Created Equal

Once you have the espresso machine, it's time to focus on the chocolate. The difference between an average cafe mocha and a fabulous, smooth beverage to be savored is in the quality of the chocolate. Mocha powders, ground chocolate, and ordinary milk chocolate chips will have you running back to Starbucks in no time. Ghirardelli Barista Dark Chocolate Chips are the answer for intense flavor and pure, velvety chocolate. These Ghirardelli chips will turn your not-so-great, made-at-home mocha into a gourmet café mocha. Even the Starbucks mocha powder leaves much to be desired next to the quality, rich chocolate flavor of Ghirardelli.

You can't buy these Ghirardelli Barista Dark Chocolate Chips at a Ghirardelli retail or online store since they are only sold through Food Service companies. Have no fear, you can easily order the chocolate in a 10-pound box from FoodServiceDirect or Amazon.

The ingredients for a perfect cafe mocha

The ingredients for a perfect cafe mocha

Pour the steamed milk mixed with chocolate into the espresso

Pour the steamed milk mixed with chocolate into the espresso

Cafe Mocha Recipe

Here are the ingredients and instructions for making your own cafe mocha at home.


  • 6 ounces milk, 2% or your choice
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, Ghiradelli Barista Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 2 capsules Nespresso Ristretto, or your favorite espresso
  • Whipped cream, if desired
  • Chocolate shavings, if desired


  1. Pour the milk into the steamer along with two tablespoons of the Ghiradelli Barista Dark Chocolate Chips. (Two percent milk works well and has fewer calories than whole milk). The chocolate chips completely melt and easily mix into the milk in the steamer.
  2. While the milk and gourmet chocolate are steaming and mixing, run two Nespresso Ristretto capsules, one at a time, through your Nespresso machine.
  3. When the steamer light turns off, add the steamed chocolate concoction to your espresso and enjoy and a delicious mocha!

Ghirardelli Barista Dark Chocolate Chips

Shipping Ghirardelli Chocolate

Once you start making these cafe mochas at home with Ghirardelli chocolate, you will quickly appreciate the intense dark chocolate flavor. It is difficult to replicate this flavor with other brands, syrups, or powders of chocolate. So, word to the wise, do not let your chocolate run out, especially in the summer months. The chocolate is not shipped with dry ice, and it will melt. Unless you want your mini chocolate chips to arrive in a 10-pound chocolate block, it is a good idea to plan ahead. The average use for a 10-pound box of Ghirardelli Barista Dark Chocolate Chips is about four months if you are making one mocha a day, using two tablespoons.

Starbucks Verismo vs. Nespresso

Recently Starbucks made an entry into the single-serving coffee business with its Verismo espresso machine. Similar in concept to the Nespresso, the Verismo uses pods, one powdered milk pod, and one espresso pod, plus one tablespoon of Starbucks' mocha sauce to make a café mocha. There are two main differences between the Verismo and the Nespresso mocha.

Taste: The Verismo mocha uses a powdered milk pod which has more of an artificial flavor than freshly steamed milk.

Cost: Nespresso machines start at $129. You can buy the pods online for about 60 cents each. The Starbucks Verismo machine starts at $200 and each pod costs one dollar. That is a significant cost difference. Since a tall café mocha costs $3.20 at most Starbucks, you aren't saving that much money by making the mocha at home with a Verismo. Like the Nespresso, the benefit is the time and convenience factor.

Good Ingredients for a Good Mocha

Using the best ingredients, including intense espresso, fresh steamed milk and gourmet chocolate is the key to a good mocha made at home. Start your morning off right and reward yourself with a truly delectable café mocha.

© 2012 LauraGSpeaks