Mocha, mocha or moka?

You may have the same confusion about the names in the title. Am I asking for coffee or chocolate? Or is it coffee with chocolate? Or espresso? Or a geography question? Or am I asking for a coffee maker? Help.

So let's try to clarify what they mean.

Mocha is the name of a port in Yemen, on the coast of the Red Sea, famous since the 15th century as the port of departure for the coffee trade. It became a custom to name the coffee by its port of shipment: Mocha beans or just mocha. When the coffee cultivation was generalized in many other places, the coffee continued to be called mocha by habit, although its place of origin had nothing to do with Yemen. The port of Mocha remained as an important center of the coffee trade for three centuries. However, a plague that killed half of the population in the eighteenth century, and later wars and competition from other coffee areas made it irrelevant.

Now we know why coffee is also known as mocha. But here comes another new tangle, which is that many times mocha is confused with chocolate. We are not sure why. It seems that the Yemeni coffee shipped from Mocha having chocolate-flavored features and hence it became another name for cocoa. It could be because the coffee’s natural aroma and taste, or because it was shipped in the same space with cacao beans, or a combination of both. Later came the mocha coffee (caffe mocha), which is a latte (expresso and hot milk) which has been added chocolate powder, sugar, chocolate syrup or another sweetener.

So far, we know that mocha shipped from Mocha can be used to prepare caffe mocha.

We only need the machine to brew coffee, which may well be a moka. Moka, called in the United States Moka Express or Moka pot, and also Greca in several Latin American countries, was invented by the Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti in 1933 and is still manufactured today by Bialetti Industries and other manufacturers around the world. Made of aluminum, it allowed to brew coffee at a higher pressure and temperature than the classic hot water drip. At the time revolutionized the way Europeans, and mainly Italians, drink coffee, as people could prepare their espresso without leaving home or needing to use an expensive pressurized coffee maker.

We hope that the confusion has been resolved and you can now confidently prepare your caffe mocha, with a moka, with mocha not necessarily from the port of Mocha but some other place with great coffee.  Here in Frontino Coffee we will try to give you as many options as possible.

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