Iced Mocha vs Iced Coffee: What’s The Real Difference?

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While I was visiting my mom recently, she asked this exact question over cups of iced coffee: “What is the difference between iced coffee and iced mocha anyway?”

These two coffee drinks are both served cold but they are made differently. 

Let’s clear up any confusion about these two drinks and help you navigate the world of iced coffee beverages.

Key Takeaways:

Iced Mocha vs Iced Coffee

  • Iced coffee is simply hot coffee that has been cooled down so that it can be poured over ice. The addition of milk and sweetener is optional in an iced coffee. On the other hand, an iced mocha is made with brewed coffee, milk, chocolate syrup, ice and topped with whipped cream.  
  • A standard serving of iced coffee has more caffeine content than an iced mocha.
  • Iced coffee has a strong, robust, and acidic taste. An iced mocha tastes bittersweet (more sweet than bitter).
  • Iced coffee is a lot stronger than iced mocha.
  • Unsweetened Iced coffee is definitely healthier than an iced mocha.

In this article, we are going to delve deeper to find out the differences between an iced mocha and an iced coffee to identify the key factors which influence the taste profile, aroma, and mouthfeel of each drink. So stick around till the end!

What’s the difference between iced mocha & iced coffee?

When looking at a coffee shop menu you’ll often find a plethora of coffee drinks, among which will be iced mocha and iced coffee. If you’re looking for a quick rundown of all the major differences between the two, then check out the infographic below. In the rest of this article, I will explain the differences in much more detail.

Iced Mocha vs Iced Coffee
Iced Mocha

Ingredients: Brewed coffee/espresso, chocolate syrup, milk, whipped cream, ice.

Taste: Sweet, chocolaty with a hint of coffee flavor.

Caffeine: Low in caffeine (Depends on the brewing technique).

Calories: High in calories.

Iced Coffee

Ingredients: Brewed coffee, ice, milk.

Taste: Strong, acidic, and bold coffee flavor.

Caffeine: Slightly higher in caffeine (Depends on the brewing technique).

Calories: Low in calories.

What is an Iced Mocha?

An iced mocha is simply a combination of chilled brewed coffee, milk, and some chocolate syrup which is then topped with whipped cream.

The best coffee to use for an iced mocha is cold brew coffee but you can also use strong coffee made in a coffee machine or even espresso will work if you don’t have any cold brew.

An iced mocha is great for someone looking for a morning pick-me-up or an energizing afternoon treat. 

Its ingredients can be tweaked according to your preferences. It can be sweetened to your liking with sugar or if you love chocolate then you may add an extra splash of chocolate syrup if desired.

What is Iced Coffee?

Quite simply, iced coffee is exactly what it sounds like: regularly brewed coffee served over ice. 

This method is quick—all you have to do is brew as normal, cool it down, and pour over ice. 

Iced coffee can be any form of coffee — drip brew, pour-over, even espresso — chilled and served over ice. 

However, serving cold coffee over ice tends to dilute the coffee. 

To prevent the ice from watering your coffee, I recommend making your iced coffee extra strong by doubling the amount of ground coffee you put in your coffee maker. 

You can also double up on the flavor by using coffee ice cubes. 

To make coffee ice cubes – pour cooled coffee into an ice cube tray, freeze and use them in your cup of iced coffee.

Iced Mocha vs Iced Coffee: Caffeine

A standard serving of iced coffee has more caffeine content than an iced mocha. Iced coffee is typically served in an 8 fl. oz. mug whereas only half a cup of brewed coffee is used to make an iced mocha.

The amount of caffeine in iced coffee or an iced mocha will also depend on the brewing technique that was used to brew coffee for either of the drinks.

Here is a table that shows the amount of caffeine a cup of coffee has depending upon the brewing technique used.

Brewing TechniqueCaffeine Content (mg)
Cold Brew (250ml) 238
French Press (250ml)223
Pour Over (250ml) 185
Chemex (250ml)172
Drip Coffee Maker (250ml)170
Espresso (25ml)68

As you can see from the above table each brewing technique results in a different amount of caffeine per cup of coffee.

So, whichever way you brew your coffee, an iced mocha will have less caffeine as compared to an iced coffee because only half a cup of brewed coffee is needed to make a serving of iced mocha.

Iced Mocha or Iced Coffee: Which one has more calories?

Since both iced mocha and iced coffee use different components, there is quite a big difference in calories.

A 16 oz. iced mocha with whole milk has 262 calories.

An 8 oz. serving of iced coffee with cream and sugar has 67 calories.

Most calories in either of the beverages comes from the added milk or cream.

Interestingly, an 8 oz. serving of iced coffee without any added milk or sugar only has 26 calories.

An iced mocha has more calories because it has at least 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup. Needless to say that addition of whipped cream on top of it will end up adding even more calories to a drink that is already high in calories.

So be very careful with the toppings that you add to your iced mocha and if you’re watching your weight then make sure that you don’t consume an iced mocha too frequently.

Iced Mocha vs Iced Coffee

Difference in Taste

Iced coffee has a strong, robust, and acidic taste. Although chilling the hot brewed coffee does soften the bitterness and makes it milder-tasting, the bitterness of coffee prevails and can be tasted even when topped with ice.

Often, iced coffee is made with flavored syrups, sugar, and some sort of milk or creamer. With these fixings, iced coffee turns into a sweet beverage like melted ice cream.

An iced mocha tastes bittersweet (more sweet than bitter), not because of the coffee but this sweet bitterness comes from the added chocolate syrup.

Iced mocha barely tastes like coffee, its taste is quite similar to that of a milkshake with a slight hint of coffee flavor.

Iced Mocha or Iced Coffee: Which is stronger?

Iced coffee is a lot stronger than iced mocha. An iced mocha is not strong in flavor at all because of the added sweetness from milk, whipped cream, and a good amount of chocolate sauce. 

Although an iced mocha contains coffee/espresso, you can hardly taste it because the coffee flavor is inevitably overpowered by the sweetness of the chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and other toppings.

Iced coffee on the other hand, if not diluted with milk, has a very strong, bold taste and flavor.

Iced Mocha & Iced Coffee: Which is healthier?

Iced coffee is definitely healthier than an iced mocha. Unsweetened iced coffee is effectively harmless as it only contains water and coffee oils, which if had in moderation is actually beneficial for your health.

On the other hand, an iced mocha is one of the most calorie-dense coffee drinks out there. It’s not just high in calories but it has way too much artificial sweetness added to it which is in no way healthy as it only adds empty calories to the drink without proving any other nutritional value for your health.

How To Make Iced Mocha

Iced mocha is an incredibly easy drink recipe that combines chocolate and coffee in one iced, delicious beverage.

You’ll need:

  • ½ cup milk 
  • ½ cup strong brewed cold coffee
  • 2 tbsp. (more or less to taste) of chocolate syrup 
  • Mason jar with lid full of ice
  • Whipped cream (optional)


  • Add the chocolate sauce into an empty mason jar.
  • Add the ice and then pour your coffee and milk over top.
  • Seal the lid and give it a few good shakes until the chocolate sauce is fully mixed.
  • Top with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle and enjoy!

Check out this easy-to-follow recipe video to make iced mocha at home.

How To Make Iced Coffee

Homemade Iced Coffee requires no special ingredients, which means you can make a cup whenever a craving strikes! 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Brewed Coffee
  • Sugar Optional)
  • Milk (Optional)


  • You’ll need a tall glass and a spoon long enough to reach the bottom of that glass.
  • Fill that glass full to the rim with ice. If you don’t want your iced coffee to get diluted, you can make ice cubes out of coffee too. 
  • Pour room temperature (or chilled) coffee into the glass.
  • Pour in the milk and sugar if you want to.
  • Your iced coffee is ready to be enjoyed.

Check out this video to learn more about making iced coffee at home

Which Is Better, Iced Mocha or Iced Coffee?

The winner of this comparison is… your personal preference.

Yes, I can’t say which one is better as some will prefer a sweet chocolaty coffee with less acidic notes and some whipped cream while others might want a hit of bitterness and acidity in their coffee.

But I can say that an iced mocha is a great choice for those who love chocolate flavor beverages. 

The Iced coffee is a neat choice for those who love the brewed coffee flavor. Iced coffee is nothing but brewed coffee served with ice that brings the same bitter and acidic notes to the table.

As a coffee lover, I can’t take sides. But if I had to pick one, I’ll go with the iced coffee as it has an authentic, superior coffee flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between Iced Mocha and iced coffee?

An iced mocha contains espresso/brewed coffee, chocolate syrup, milk, and sometimes it is topped with whipped cream and other toppings. On the other hand, iced coffee is plain brewed coffee served over ice. 

What is the difference between an iced latte and Iced Mocha?

An iced latte is made with espresso, chilled milk, and ice, whereas an iced mocha is typically made with espresso, chocolate syrup, milk and topped with whipped cream.

How is mocha different from coffee?

Mocha is made with espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate syrup, whereas coffee is simply brewed with coffee grinds and water using brewing techniques such as drip, pour over, cold brew, etc.

Is Mocha considered coffee?

Yes, mocha is considered a coffee made with espresso, steamed milk, and chocolate syrup. Mocha is short for Cafe Mocha.

Written by:
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Amit Gupta

Hi, my name is Amit Gupta, and I am the owner and contributor at Cafeish. My obsession with coffee started when I received my first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, my love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets I own – has grown considerably.

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