Iced mocha in a glass garnished with whipped cream and mocha syrup drizzle sits on a kitchen linen with coffee beans.

A perfectly frosty iced mocha on a hot summer’s day is one of life’s greatest pleasures. The first sip of the chocolatey, coffee goodness is enough to make your eyes roll back in your head from happiness!

We’re going to teach you today how to bring that moment of joy into your life every day with our no-fail homemade iced mocha recipe. You’ll be blown away by just how easy it is to make it at home (and how much cash you’ll save over hitting the coffee shop). We’re also going to show you just how easy it is to choose Fairtrade coffee so you can make sure your shopping dollars are supporting people and our planet! Let’s get brewing.
Overhead of whipped cream and syrup drizzle on top of finished coffee drink.

First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room—is drinking coffee even ethical?

Coffee is a staple of most people’s mornings, but have you ever thought about what goes into getting that coffee into your cup?

The cold, hard truth is that purchasing a typical bag of coffee isn’t fair to farmers, producers, or our planet. Here are some facts that just might blow your mind:

  • The coffee industry generates more than $200 billion (with a B!) per year, but the average coffee farmer’s income has stayed flat or even declined over the past 20 years.
  • Nearly 61 percent of coffee producers are forced to sell their coffee at prices below the cost of production.
  • Coffee requires a very specific range of temperature and humidity to thrive. Because of climate change, it is estimated that by 2050, the amount of land that can sustain coffee will have fallen by 50%.
  • Because the price of coffee continues to be low, many farmers don’t have the resources to farm sustainably, let alone adapt to the climate change crisis. The reality is that unless there is a collective global shift to better support coffee farmers through Fairtrade, we will all be left with empty cups.

Close-up of a fairtrade logo on a coffee bag

So how do you make an ethical cup of joe?

The simple answer is to buy Fairtrade Certified coffee. When you choose Fairtrade you are choosing the planet and people over profits.

Coffee that is Fairtrade Certified helps fight for the health of our planet—and the people on it—thanks to rigorous standards that protect our environment. We try to purchase exclusively Fairtrade coffee in the Wholefully kitchen, and we see it as an investment in the health of our planet.

Thankfully, our dear friends at Fairtrade America have made it so easy to choose coffee that is better for our planet. Just look for the Fairtrade Mark on coffee (and other products!) in your local grocery store, and you can be sure that you are purchasing a product that was produced using methods that protect our planet and make a difference in the lives of millions of Fairtrade farmers and workers across the globe.
A mug with the Fairtrade America logo on it sits on a bed of coffee beans.Fairtrade coffee is available at most major supermarkets, health food stores, and online. Check out Fairtrade America’s Product Finder to source Fairtrade coffee near you.

But wait, isn’t Fairtrade coffee super expensive?

By the nature of prioritizing people and the planet, Fairtrade products typically cost more than conventional products. Here are two ways to reframe your shopping brain to see the value instead of sticker shock:

  • Think of it as an investment—by spending $8 on a bag of coffee instead of $5, you are investing in the planet, plus the health, happiness, and economic security of another human being.
  • When shopping, instead of asking “why is this so expensive?” ask “what makes that other product so cheap?”—you might find pollution, unfair wages, and child labor lurking right under the surface.

Wholefully Protip

The great thing about homemade coffee drinks is that you can pay for great quality, climate-friendly Fairtrade coffee and STILL be ahead of what you’d pay at the coffee shop!

Alright, I’m sold on Fairtrade! Now talk to me about this drink. What is an iced mocha?

Coffee drinks can be confusing, but no need to have a barista translate for you on this one. A mocha is a latte (which is espresso or strongly brewed coffee and milk) with chocolate added. An iced mocha is a mocha served over ice!

Pouring chilled mocha into a glass with ice.

What’s the difference between a mocha and a latte?

In its simplest form, a latte is just espresso with steamed milk added. A mocha is a type of latte where sweetened chocolate syrup is added to the espresso in addition to the milk—giving you a dose of chocolatey goodness along with your caffeine!

How do you make an iced mocha at home?

Making an iced mocha in your own kitchen is WAY easier and faster than hitting up the drive-through at your local coffee shop. It’s just three steps!

  1. Make your own DIY mocha syrup—or buy some premade chocolate syrup from the store.
  2. Combine the syrup with cooled coffee, espresso, or cold brew.
  3. Add in some milk, stir or shake, and enjoy over ice!
  4. BONUS EPIC STEP: Top with a pile of whipped cream and more chocolate sauce for a super treat!

Close-up of homemade iced mocha in a glass with ice garnished with whipped cream and a mocha syrup drizzle.

What’s the best milk to use for an iced mocha latte?

Most coffee shops default to 2% cow’s milk for all of their mocha lattes, but quite literally any kind of milk will do the trick. Skim or 1% milk will give you a slightly less creamy experience. Whole milk or half and half will be rich and decadent. Our favorite—and what we recommend—is whole milk.

Can you make a vegan iced mocha?

Absolutely! Experiment with different plant-based milks to figure out what works best for you. We tested this with lots of different non-dairy milks, and both full-fat coconut milk from the can and oat milk were our favorites. The coconut milk made this iced coffee taste like an Almond Joy!

Can I make this iced mocha decaf?

Yes! It’s easy to make this a decaf mocha—all you need to do is brew decaf coffee, cold brew, or espresso for the recipe.
A homemade iced mocha garnished with whipped cream and diy mocha syrup drizzles sits in front of a bag of fairtrade coffee.

What’s the best coffee to use for a mocha?

For an authentic mocha latte, you’ll want to use espresso shots. If you have an espresso machine, great! A small espresso pot is also a great addition to any coffee lover’s kitchen if you aren’t ready to invest in a full machine.

No worries though, it doesn’t have to be espresso. Any strongly brewed cold coffee from a regular pot of coffee will work. Also, cold brew concentrate works very well! Make your own cold brew coffee or buy it from the store for quick and easy mochas.

To stand up to the flavor of the chocolate, you really want a dark roast coffee. Espresso roast coffees are a great choice—even if you don’t have an espresso maker kicking around. The dark, rich flavor still comes through when brewed.
A spoon drizzles diy mocha syrup back into a small bowl of the homemade syrup.

Do I have to make my own mocha syrup?

You don’t have to—although we recommend it since it’s just so simple to do and it can save you some serious cash!

But if you want to use store-bought chocolate syrup for your mocha, you absolutely can. Just make sure you grab a Fairtrade certified product—chocolate producers face similar challenges to coffee producers, and you can vote with your dollars to support people and the planet! Wildly Organic makes a great vegan chocolate syrup that is Fairtrade Certified.

How do you make mocha syrup for coffee at home?

This mocha syrup recipe is so easy, you’ll never hit up your local coffee shop again! Here’s how you make it:

  1. Combine unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder, sugar, water, and salt in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is glossy and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Voilà, done!

The syrup stores well in the refrigerator for a month or even longer—but you’ll probably go through it faster than that since it’s so tasty!

Wholefully Protip

The Product Finder from Fairtrade America makes it easy to source all the fairtrade certified ingredients you need for this recipe, like Fairtrade cacao powder and Fairtrade vanilla extract!

Overhead of fairtrade ingredients such as Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract and Navitas Organics cacao powder on a white marble countertop.

Can I use sweeteners other than sugar in the mocha syrup recipe?

Sure can! This syrup works well with both honey and maple syrup (although both will obviously give a hint of their natural flavor to the syrup). If swapping in honey or maple syrup, use 3/4 of a cup in place of the sugar listed in the recipe.

What’s the best way to chill coffee without watering it down?

The very best way to chill your coffee is time and a fridge, but you can also hack it by thinking ahead and making coffee ice cubes from your last batch of brew. Just pour the coffee into an ice cube tray, and then pop in the freezer. Keep the cubes on hand for when you need to cool down freshly brewed coffee in a jiffy!

Wholefully Protip

You can also use the frozen coffee cubes to make an easy mocha frappuccino by adding them, along with milk and mocha syrup, into a blender and blending until smooth and frosty.

Iced mocha in a glass garnished with whipped cream and mocha syrup drizzle sits on a kitchen linen with coffee beans.

Easy Iced Mocha Recipe with DIY Mocha Syrup

Yield: 1
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

You'll never hit the coffee shop again with this Easy Iced Mocha Recipe in your back pocket! It's a breeze to make at home.


Mocha Syrup

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder
  • 1 cup granulated or cane sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Iced Mocha

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup chilled strongly brewed coffee or espresso (cold brew concentrate works well)
  • 1-2 tablespoons mocha syrup, to taste
  • Whipped cream and more mocha syrup, for serving


  1. To make the mocha syrup, combine the cocoa or cacao powder, sugar, salt, and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Heat, whisking frequently, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is smooth and glossy. Remove from heat, whisk in the vanilla, and set aside to cool.
  2. To make a mocha, combine milk, coffee or espresso, and mocha syrup in a glass measuring cup or mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Whisk or shake the mixture until well incorporated and frothy.
  3. Pour mocha over ice into a glass. Top with whipped cream and extra chocolate syrup, if desired.


  • This works well with plant-based milks, too. Our favorites are full-fat coconut milk from the can and oatmilk.
  • If you’d like to swap out the sugar for honey or maple syrup, you can. Just be aware that the mocha syrup will take on the natural flavors of the sweetener you use. Replace the 1 cup of sugar with 3/4 cup of honey or maple syrup.
  • The mocha syrup will stay good in the fridge for a month or even longer.
  • Pour extra coffee or espresso into ice cube trays and freeze for an easy way to chill freshly brewed coffee.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons mocha syrup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 190Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 64mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 1gSugar: 30gProtein: 3g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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    1. We haven’t tried it, but I imagine you could. You’ll probably need less Stevia than granulated sugar, but since we haven’t tested it, I’m not sure what the exact amount would be.

  1. My husband and I have been on an iced coffee kick this summer and this was by far the best homemade one I’ve tried!! The homemade syrup is so good! I used an organic stevia blend instead of sugar to lower the calories and it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. I have been making iced mochas for years and this was my first time making my own syrup. Definitely worth the extra step. You can really taste the difference in quality! I only used one teaspoon of vanilla extract (forgot that I was running low and it was all I had), but it still came out tasty. Great recipe!

    1. Thanks, Kathleen! We’re so glad you like it, and we appreciate you taking the time to tell us about it! =)