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What Is the Caffè Marocchino? (With Recipe!)

a cup of caffe marrochino

Occasionally you want something a bit different when it comes to your coffee-drinking experience, and the Caffè Marocchino definitely fits the bill. Instead of a drink where the ingredients are mixed together or a plain coffee, this tasty drink lets you see the layers of ingredients used. So, it tastes delicious and is also nice to look at, which is part of the reason it’s a popular coffee option.

What makes up the layers of the marocchino? This drink is created with espresso, cocoa powder, and milk foam, then served in a glass so you can see the layers of ingredients. Taste-wise, it’s very similar to a mocha.

Keep reading to learn more about this coffee drink, such as how it’s made and where it came from!

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How Is the Marocchino Made?

If you’re ordering this drink in a café, it should be served in a small glass (2–4 ounces). The base layer will be a shot of espresso, followed by a cocoa powder layer, then the milk froth layer, and finally, topped off with a sprinkle of more cocoa powder. Although, you can also replace that final dusting of cocoa powder with something else, such as chocolate cream or a drizzle of melted chocolate.

If you’d rather make this drink at home, this is an excellent recipe to try out:

a cup of caffe marrochino

Marocchino

This delicious recipe is easy to make at home - as long as you have an espresso maker! Don't forget to stir after you admire the beautiful layers.
5 star average
Prep Time 6 mins
Cook Time 4 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine Italian

Equipment

  • Espresso machine
  • Milk frother
  • Spoon
  • Glass

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Prepare a shot of espresso, and pour it into a small glass.
  • Next, spoon in a layer of cocoa powder. How much cocoa powder is used will vary by person, depending on taste, but as the layer should be thick, you’re probably looking at around 2 tablespoons.
  • Steam and froth your milk until it’s the consistency of the type of foam you’d find on a cappuccino.
  • Once that’s prepared, you’ll spoon on enough to match the amount of the espresso shot.
  • Then, put a little sprinkle of cocoa powder on the top, and voila! You have your drink.

Notes

Image Credit: fotomak, Shutterstock
Keyword caffe marocchino, marocchino

Unfortunately, you shouldn’t drink it as is, though. You need to stir the ingredients together before drinking, so admire those lovely layers while you can!

hand holding a glass of caffe marrochino
Image Credit: Sarana Nakarat, Shutterstock

Where Did It Originate?

Like a lot of coffee drinks, the Marocchino originated in Italy. It’s a relatively modern drink, though it is an evolution of older coffee drinks that contain the same ingredients.

First came the Bavareisa in the 18th century, which contained milk cream, chocolate, and very thick, concentrated coffee. This drink was served in a large glass.

Then came the Bicerin in the 19th century. Hailing from Turin, this drink built upon the Bavareisa by switching out the concentrated coffee for espresso, the milk cream for milk, and the chocolate for drinking chocolate.

Finally, the Caffè Marocchino—which was based on the Bicerin—was invented in the 20th century, sometime after World War II. The first Caffè Marocchino came from Bar Carpano in Piedmont, which is about 90 kilometers from Turin. The name of the drink appears to be a reference to its brown color (which is “marroncino” in Italian)—this color is also close in appearance to a type of leather that comes from sheep and goat skin, known as marocchino.

Depending on where you order it in Italy, you may find this drink going by one of its older names, though.

Variations

There are a ton of variations on the Caffè Marocchino to be found across the world. The most often used variation is in the way people decide to add chocolate to the coffee. Some will use sweet cocoa instead of bitter, while others will drizzle syrup all over the inside of the glass to fully coat it on top of having a chocolate layer.

Other variations include using frothed milk in place of the foam or ristretto in place of the espresso for more coffee flavor. Another significant variation hails from the town where Nutella was born, where the cocoa powder on top is switched out for a spoon of Nutella instead.

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Marocchino vs Mocha

Since the Marocchino and the are both chocolate coffee drinks, you might imagine they’re quite similar—and they are. However, they also have some key differences (other than the layers found in the Marocchino).

The biggest difference is that the Mocha is a much larger drink than the Marocchino, coming in an 8–12 ounce cup. The size difference means that the Marocchino is less heavy on the stomach, but if you need more coffee to get you going, the Mocha would probably be a better choice. This size difference also means that the Marocchino is a bit more balanced in flavor, so you can better taste the espresso.

The other significant difference between the two drinks is that the Mocha is topped off not with a sprinkle of cocoa powder but with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

Caffè Marocchino vs Marocchino Caldo vs Marocchino Freddo

If you opt to have your Caffè Marocchino made with steamed milk rather than milk foam, you’re technically having a Marocchino Caldo. The espresso and cocoa powder are still there; the only difference is how the milk is prepared.

If you prefer having a cold version of the Marocchino Caldo, then it’s a Marocchino Freddo. However, it’s not just the fact that it’s made with cold milk that makes it a bit different. This drink is shaken by hand with ice, and the ice is then strained out, leaving you with a delightfully cold and frothy coffee drink. Another difference is that the Marocchino Freddo typically will be made with not only cocoa powder but simple syrup, so you get a sweeter flavor.

So, a Marocchino Caldo is just a Caffè Marocchino made with steamed milk, and the Marocchino Freddo is the iced version of the Caldo that’s made with cold milk and then shaken with ice.

caffe marrochino on the table
Image Credit: Vladimir Voronchenko, Shutterstock

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How are the Marocchino and the Macchiato different?

The main difference between these drinks is that the Marocchino uses chocolate. However, the Marocchino also incorporates more milk foam than the   (an entire layer versus a dollop on the Macchiato).

How many calories does a Marocchino have?

Generally speaking, a Marocchino will only have about 41 calories (when made with whole milk, espresso, and unsweetened cocoa powder). But if you make customizations, the calorie count can jump. For example, using powdered hot chocolate can add about 15 calories. And it also depends on where you get the Marocchino from, as every coffee shop is different. Overall, though, this drink isn’t super high in calories.

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Conclusion

The Caffè Marocchino is a coffee drink made from espresso, milk foam, and cocoa powder, where half the enjoyment comes from how the coffee is layered. Hailing from Italy, as a good majority of coffee drinks do, this 20th century invention is an evolution of older drinks using the same or similar ingredients.

Though you can order this drink in Italy or at coffee shops throughout the world, it’s also fairly simple to make at home. And there are many ways you can vary the drink to fit your taste more, whether it’s using lots of chocolate syrup instead of cocoa powder or switching out the chocolate for Nutella instead. So, next time you visit your local café, why not order the Caffè Marocchino?


Featured Image Credit: fotomak, Shutterstock

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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