That cocoa is hot


Paige Pielet

Frothy and chocolaty is how Starbucks serves its hot cocoa.

It’s that time of year again: Hot Cocoa Review




Not going to lie, I get hot chocolate at Starbucks a lot so I might be a little biased here. I have gift cards, it’s close to my house, and the hot chocolate is cheaper than the chai tea latte, my other favorite warm drink. I am amazed when people get actual coffee at Starbucks because this is just so much better. And at $3.00 for a tall (small in normal-people language), it is actually reasonable. I may have been sick of hot cocoa by the time I got around to Starbucks, but Starbucks wasn’t as great as expected. It’s great – don’t get me wrong – just not superior to the rest of hot chocolates available that I tested out. It’s creamy, chocolatey, quality cocoa and it’s on every corner of a city block begging for you to come in and warm up, so for those characteristics I give it two thumbs up. Tip: don’t give away that last bit, it is the best part because all the syrup sinks to the bottom.


La Fortuna

This “hidden gem” in downtown Hinsdale serves Mexican – yes, Mexican – hot chocolate. It is completely different from your basic hot chocolate, and by completely different, I mean amazing. I don’t know how else to describe this unique taste unless you’ve had it before. If you are feeling bored with your basic cocoa and adventuresome, check it out. If you aren’t, you still should.



Cost: $2.75 for a medium

Going to McDonald’s for hot cocoa felt a little weird, like something was wrong with me and why does it smell like french fries in here, but taste like chocolate? Besides not tasting like french fries, I was treated to classic “cup of cheer” as the cute cup told me. It included whipped cream and either because I got it to go or it had melted already into the cocoa, I didn’t see the whipped cream. It was pleasantly rich and simple, perfect for any classic hot cocoa lover wanting something much better than the packets of Swiss Miss at home. I will definitely be trying more McCafe’ in the future. Tip: try not to spill yours like I did halfway through. I was very sad and probably missed out on the best part (see Starbucks review above).


Hinsdale Central PTO

Probably Swiss Miss? I can’t complain. Shout out to the parents that made this a thing. It was free on every Tuesday during December and was there waiting for me at school, hot and chocolatey, with the option of adding whip cream or marshmallows (great idea to include these!). I went with the whip cream. I know some complained about no lids, but honestly, it saves money, time, and the Earth so deal with it. Did I mention it was free?