Best hot chocolates to sip on during finals


Saba Ali

There are several different ways to make hot chocolate at home.

Imagine that you are nine years old once again. It is a particularly cold winter day with an abundance of snow and you returning home after an evening of snowball fights and sledding. As you strip away your layers of warmth, your mother appears with a smile and cup of steaming hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and whipped cream.

Fast forward seven years and now you’re sitting at a desk trying to cram for final exams, craving hot chocolate after playing in the snow. To remind you of these nostalgic memories, we have decided to rate several different hot chocolates for your convenience.

1. Starbucks Hot Chocolate

Although this hot chocolate is the priciest of the four at $3.45 for a grande size, we decided to rate it 5/5. The silky and frothy texture of the hot chocolate warms you up completely. However, the Starbucks hot chocolate isn’t as sweet as one would expect. It leaves a rich and bitter aftertaste that only a true chocolate lover would appreciate. The other feature of this drink was the whipped cream. Starbucks makes their whipped cream somewhat fresh, as they pour a bottle of heavy whipping cream into a special canister, which then sprays whipped cream when pressed. The whipped cream is heavenly as it is fresh and has a certain richness that you can’t get from any can. With so many different elements of the drink, the Starbucks hot chocolate is definitely worth its price.

“Starbucks is a go-to for the winter season, especially their Peppermint Hot chocolate,” said Kiswa Malik, junior. “It’s warm, strong with flavor, and it brings out the winter vibe.”


Saba Ali
Starbucks hot chocolate is definitely worth its price.

2. Starbucks Keurig Hot Chocolate

We rated this hot chocolate at a 3/5. This was because of its cheap and easy access, but also its lacking taste. For a box of 16 K-Cups at $12, the Keurig hot chocolate really falls flat because of its texture. Because most Keurig machines only allow for water, the hot chocolate was more watery than creamy, which in our opinion, is a deal-breaker. Although you can add any toppings you want to the top, the overall taste of the hot chocolate isn’t worth much. However, this drink is perfect for those who only have a minute or two to get a cup of hot chocolate as little to no effort is put into preparing it.

3. Instant Hot Chocolate

This hot chocolate depends on your level of preparation put into making the cup, but if you choose to follow this link, then it’s rating would be 4/5. You can make this hot chocolate tastes as good as that of Starbucks or as bad as the Keurig one. To make a better instant hot chocolate, we decided to use whole milk for a creamy and frothy texture. After heating the whole milk, we mixed in two teaspoons of the powder. The powder began to clump up, and although we mixed the hot chocolate for a while, the clumps didn’t disappear. The hot chocolate could definitely be improved with other techniques.

“Tiramisu hot chocolate is my favorite type of instant hot chocolate,” said Morgan Chisholm, senior. “I definitely only drink it on icy days because my hands are frozen solid.

However, to get a perfect cup of hot chocolate, making it from scratch isn’t as difficult as it sounds. All you need is either cocoa powder or semisweet chocolate. For the recipe with cocoa powder, you just need to warm up milk and pour it into a mixture of cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. For the recipe with semisweet chocolate, you can just melt chocolate, sugar, and cocoa powder and add hot milk to it. Hot chocolate from scratch is surely more rewarding than instant hot chocolate.

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4. McDonald’s Hot Chocolate

What makes McDonald’s hot chocolate the most convenient option is that there’s one at every corner and the prices are the lowest, with a medium sized drink costing $2.89. Many might expect their hot chocolate to be watered down at such a low price, but if anything, it can be a bit too rich at certain times. I’d sometimes feel as though I was drinking hot chocolate syrup, which is why I decided to give it a rating of 4/5. McDonald’s makes their hot chocolate with steamed milk, rich chocolate syrup, and tops it with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle.

Other places to check out for excellent hot chocolate include Cafe La Fortuna and Patti’s Sunrise Cafe.