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

Laura is a longtime online writer. Her articles focus on everything from sports to gardening to cooking.

Make a cafe mocha at home

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 Starbuck's recent introduction of Verismo, a single espresso maker. Compared to visiting your neighborhood Starbucks everyday, 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 with 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).

Nespresso Has Affordable Options

My Nespresso CitiZ w/Milk

My Nespresso CitiZ w/Milk

Not All Chocolate Is Created Equal

Once you have the espresso machine, its 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 www.foodservicedirect.com or www.Amazon.com.

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 Ingredients

  • 6 oz. milk, 2% or your choice
  • 2 Tbsp chocolate chips, Ghiradelli Barista Dark Chocolate Chips
  • two capsules Nespresso Ristretto, or your favorite espresso
  • whipped cream, if desired
  • chocolate shavings, if desired

Recipe for a Nespresso Cafe Mocha

  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.

Starbuck's Verisimo 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 Starbuck's mochas 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. 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 Equal 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


Liza from USA on May 16, 2020:

I have two coffee machine from Nespresso. The oldest one is De Longhi Lattissima and the newest is VertuoPlus. Both are working perfectly fine. My husband and I are an avid coffee drinker. I never tried making cafe mocha using both machine. Thanks for sharing the tips!

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on January 25, 2019:

Hi Jon -- thank you for sharing that information on pricing. Ghiradelli barista chip chocolate pricing fluctuates too. So glad you are enjoying your mochas.

Hi David, thanks for commenting. I guess it depends on how much chocolate and milk you use. Also, Ghiradelli chocolate fluctuates in price. I just Googled it and found one for $85 and one for $57. Same product. Good luck!

Jon Ault on January 24, 2019:

David, I weighed 2 tbsp of chips and it was 7/8 oz. 10 lbs of chips should give you about 180 mochas, which works out to 0.56 cents per mocha. At 5 mochas per week, that's 36 weeks or a bit over 8 months per bag. At 3.50/gallon for milk, each drink uses about 17 cents worth. And so far, I've been happy using just one pod per mocha, so total cost per drink is about $1.60 for me.

David Colletti on January 16, 2019:

Hi. I really like this recipe and thought it would be a good way to save some money, but after looking at the costs I'm not so sure. It looks like the capsules are $43 for 50 capsules. But 2 capsules are needed for each mocha. So this equals $1.72/mocha for just the capsules. The chocolate looks to be $100 for 10 lbs. Assuming this lasts for 4 months (16 weeks and 5 mochas per week) this is 80 mochas. So the chocolate is $1.25/mocha. This equals $2.97/mocha and does not account for the machine cost or milk cost. With a mocha at a coffee shop costing just below $5, I'm assuming less than $2/mocha in savings. Am I missing something? I figured the savings would be more.

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on January 06, 2019:

Hi Wes,

Thanks for your comments. Did you try it yet? I have reprogrammed my machine. I just use two expresso pods on the small setting. If you think the expresso is weak on that setting, you could always adjust the amount of milk you use. Hope you end up with a result that starts your morning off great!

Wes on January 04, 2019:

Hi Laura,

Thanks for posting this. I am a huge mocha fan! I have recently decided to buy a Nespresso machine so that I too could make them at room and save some money by not going out to other coffee shops. I’ve been tinkering, trying to come up with my own recipe, but I haven’t come up with anything that I love. I’ve got one that is tolerable, but nothing to write home about. So now I’m trying to look online for some.

I’m looking forward to trying this!

Did you reprogram your machine to give you a different amount of espresso for a single pod? The factory setting for the espresso (vs the Lungo) is 40ml which is around the equivalent of a traditional “double” shot of espresso. As such, I found that a single pod is a bit weak in milk. So I’ve reprogrammed my machine to give me 20 ml of espresso for a single pod and use two pods for that traditional “double shot” effect. This does help the espresso stand up a bit more in milk, but I am starting to wonder if I should go back to factory settings.

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on May 01, 2018:

Hi Karen! My experience with Ghiradelli syrup is that it is not the same flavor or quality chocolate as the dark barista chips. I do not recommend it. For a skinny version, I use fat free milk and it still tastes great!

Karen s on May 01, 2018:

Can you use Ghirardelli syrup. What about

a skinny version.?

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on December 01, 2014:

@Taranwanderer, anything with Ghiradelli is pretty good:). Give it a try! Thanks for stopping by.

Carrie on March 27, 2013:

I have been looking for a good mocha recipe to make my own at home. I will try the Ghiradelli chocolate chips. I have also found the powders to not be very good. Thanks for the good info.

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on February 19, 2013:

Hi Andy. I am glad you found this hub useful. For ordering Giradelli barista chips, try Amazon.com. You won't qualify for the Amazon Super Saver Shipping, but they do ship to Europe. Good luck!

Andy on February 19, 2013:


Wonderful guide!

Could you point me in the direction of a site where us Europeans can order Ghirardelli Chips?

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on February 01, 2013:

Mark, what a wonderful Valentine's Day present! I bet your wife will love it! Wrap it up with a big red heart.

Mark on January 31, 2013:

I think I am going to buy my wife a Nepresso machine for Valentine's Day, so this recipe will help. Thanks.

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on December 03, 2012:

@Sandy--I have found Nespresso to have excellent service as well. Hope you enjoy the mocha recipe!

@ Brittany- for mocha, I use the mixer, but if you are looking for a "frothier" result, use the whisk option. Its stored in the base of my Aeroccino. Good luck!

Brittany on December 02, 2012:

Which device do you use in the Aeroccino--the whisk or the mixer? I'm having trouble determining the functions of the two.

Sandy on November 02, 2012:

I will give this recipe a try. It sounds simple. I have an Nespresso with steamer and its been a great investment. The steamer stopped working, but Nespresso replacedit quickly at no charge. Looking forward to using the Ghiradelli chocolate.

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on April 18, 2012:

Thanks GoodLady! Give a Cafe Mocha a try, come on....you only live once. Go for the good stuff!

Penelope Hart from Rome, Italy on April 18, 2012:

This is too much. I'm a chocolate worshiper but have stayed away from mocha with chocolate till now. Get AWAY from me. (I live in Italy and the option to have chocolate on cappuccino is now normal! but I doubt the chocolate they use is Ghirardelli....even here...oh mmmm)

Seriously though, well done! It's tempting and a great Hub.

Brent on January 16, 2012:

Just got it home from Sur la Table and my wife has already enjoyed a great latte. The chocolate is on the way. Can't wait to make my 1st mocha.

This machine is smaller than the old Keurig we had and makes great espresso. Very easy cleanup and what a neat design for just taking the milk container out and putting it in the fridge. Thanks again for the idea!

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on January 15, 2012:

Hi Brent, wow!! You are ordering the Mercedes of gourmet coffee makers--I am jealous! Sorry, I cannot give you any advice for making caramel macchiatos. I am not a true barista, just a cafe mocha fanatic. I bet you can google a good recipes for macchiatos. You can even try the Nespresso site to see if they have any suggestions. Good luck!

Brent on January 14, 2012:

Im ordering the DeLonghi Lattissima Plus and the Ghirardeli chocolate.

Any suggestions on making a caramel macchiato? That's my wife's fav.


Brent on January 14, 2012:

Awesome! Thanks so much. I was getting really tired of the Starbucks drive thru and not having anything at home.

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on January 13, 2012:

Hi Brent, I am not familiar with the DeLonghi Lattissima Plus-- I think that is a later model Nepresso model than mine as mine is two years old. I can tell you that my Nespresso steamer absolutely gets the milk warm enough to melt the chocolate. If the reviews are good on the DeLongho Lattissima Plus, go for it. If you buy quality chocolate, a good steamer will definitely melt the chocolate with the milk. You will love this mocha and crave it everyday--it has such great flavor! Enjoy!

PS - one more tip--preheat your coffee by running one shot of just hot water through the Nespresso before you put your capsule in. This cleans the system and heats your coffee mug. Then dump out the hot water in your mug and start making your mocha.

Brent on January 13, 2012:

Thanks for this idea. I want to make sure I buy a Nespresso model that will get the milk and chocolate warm enough to melt (read some reviews that models just got he milk warm). I was looking at the DeLonghi Lattissima Plus. Do you think that one will do it?

I'm so excited, I love a great mocha!

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on January 09, 2012:

Hi Kate, I have tried the Nestle mini chips and found they did not melt as well as the Ghiradelli Barsita Dark Chocolate chips. I do not recommend the baking chips as they have a different sugar content and will altar the flavor--unless you want to add your own sugar to the hot chocolate.

Kate on January 08, 2012:

Great! Do nestle chocolate chips work too? They're a lot easier to find. Is it okay to use baking chips instead of the original?

LauraGSpeaks (author) from Raleigh, NC on January 08, 2012:

Hi Kate. Yes, you can use a milk steamer to make hot chocolate. It works much better than using the microwave because it heats the milk evenly. The steamer is also easier than using a saucepan on the stove and much quicker. Make sure to use good, quality chocolate for the best results. Enjoy!

Kate on January 07, 2012:

Hey, can you use the steamer to make hot chocolates?

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