“Hot! Hot! Ooh we got it!” Top cocoas this season


Savannah Lane

All the contestants for the crown of “best hot chocolate of the 2022 holiday season.

Savannah Lane, Staff Writer


With the holiday season in full swing, many students are ready to bundle up and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa. But which brand is the best way to enjoy this winter tradition? With eight hot cocoas and four categories to rank them, I have come to a conclusion about the best cocoa out there.

Before sharing the winner, I have to tell you about all the contestants. After taking a trip to Kroger, I bought six  hot cocoa brands, and then went over to Starbucks to get two more.

I judged all the cocoas on four categories: Smell, taste, consistency and intensity. The results are in, and here are my rankings:

  1. Kroger Brand

Though the directions stated for the hot cocoa powder to be mixed with hot water, it was a bad decision to follow this suggestion. The consistency was watery and slimy, and it tasted like pond water. This was an insult to what hot chocolate should be, and I’m ashamed it’s even on my list. The smell was okay, and it was very intense, but not in a good way. I rate this a 1/10

  1. Nestle 

This was another water-based hot chocolate. The taste was slightly better than the Kroger brand, but by no means was it delicious.. It was very watery, and the only reason it was better than the Kroger brand was because it was less intense, and less in your face. I rate this a 2/10

  1. Starbucks Double Chocolate (packet)

The Starbucks packet was bitter and surprisingly not very chocolatey. It had a good smell that heightened my expectations for it, but any excitement was torn down by its taste, which was like the barista just added cocoa powder to milk and called it good. I was disappointed by the results, and it really let me down. I rate this a 2/10

  1. Starbucks Classic Hot Chocolate

The Classic Starbucks hot chocolate was another miss for me. If I was out and wanted a hot chocolate, I would feel like I wasted my money on this. Usually, Starbucks is very good, but their regular hot chocolate just lacks sweetness, and doesn’t even taste like hot chocolate. It’s borderline bitter, and very intense for being a sub-par drink. I rate this a 3/10.

  1. Nesquik

I didn’t know that Nesquik could be hot cocoa, not just chocolate milk. This really surprised me and the results were better than I was expecting. It didn’t have a very strong smell, but the taste boosted the rating. It tasted like the classic chocolate milk we all grew up with, but warm. I prefer Nesquik cold, but it was an interesting addition to this taste test. I rate this a 5/10.

  1. Private Selection 

Private selection is a very neutral hot chocolate. It’s not amazing, but I will drink it if it’s around. It has a good taste, and smells like your average hot chocolate. It was overall average, but it was intense and well rounded, making it an acceptable drink on  a cold winter night.. I rate this a 5/10

  1. Swiss Miss

This was the highest rated packet of hot cocoa. If I was locked in on a snow day, this would be a great drink to go for. It has a great consistency, and a taste that is a staple of winter. It is very sweet and chocolatey, and has an amazing smell too. I rate this a 7/10

  1. Starbucks White Hot Chocolate

White hot chocolate might not be “traditional”, but it is the best in my book. Its sweet taste balanced with the white chocolate is just heavenly. It has a smooth consistency, and an amazing smell. This is what all hot chocolates should aim to be. It can be overwhelming if you drink too much of it, but I think that a cup of it is perfect for a cold winter day. I rate this a 9/10

Now that this crucial issue has been resolved, I’m looking forward to trying more to see if my rankings change. If you’ve ever wanted a hot chocolate and weren’t sure what to get before, now you know just what to avoid, and what you should be buying in mass.