Nosh Hunt: Snow much cocoa!

As a self-proclaimed chocoholic, the idea of drinkable chocolate tops my list of favourites. Heat it up and there you have it — the million dollar hot cocoa, perfect for when the weather isn’t on your side. I know — not everyone has that special someone yet, but I say why look for them when you have a drink that’ll give you that same hug from the inside? The criteria we’re looking for here is: creamy, chocolatey, frothy and it better give me that warm hug. We’ll also be looking at the price points, because I feel your bank account calling.

Before we start — hot cocoa vs hot chocolate — what’s the difference? Hint: it’s in the name! You’ll get your answer at the end!

Tim Hortons

As we all know, Tim’s is the best. This hot cocoa was exceptionally creamy, chocolatey and frothy, ticking three of my boxes. No — that’s not where it ended — it was successful in giving me that hug and definitely economical. $2.50 for an extra large cup — sign me up. Located conveniently from my Sauder classes and the Koerner library, this is my perfect on-the- go drink while simultaneously being my makeshift heater for when I forget my gloves. The signature red cup was cute and I was glad they maintained the holiday spirit even though its January. Something interesting I noticed was this didn’t taste the same as their hot cocoa mix, so visit the store for the best taste. Regardless, for the price and taste, this drink is an all round great pick!

Rating: 3.75/5
Price: $2.50 for an extra large

Tim Hortons hot chocolate
Tim Hortons hot chocolate Sara Arora

Boulevard Coffee

This gem of a coffee joint is a stunning spot to relax, study and work. And while you’re at it, grab yourself a good cocoa. This drink was extremely chocolatey and frothy — an added plus. It was a little on the pricey side, with an 8 oz size costing $3.81. But then again, you’re also paying for the experience. The cup was iconic, although not holiday themed. However a big problem was that they couldn’t comprehend the hot aspect of the “hot cocoa.” In other words — it wasn’t hot at all. Yes, I had to ask them to reheat the drink which wasn’t such a hassle, but one would expect a hot drink to begin with. Other than that, the drink and experience was wonderful! They also have refrigerated items half off after 5 p.m., so look out for the discounts.

Rating: 2.5/5
Price: $3.81 for 8 oz cocoa

Boulevard Coffee hot chocolate
Boulevard Coffee hot chocolate Sara Arora

Starbucks

The last place on my list is the very basic. Believe it or not, this was my first time trying their hot cocoa, based on a recommendation from a friend. Honestly, their cocoa was heavenly. Again, on the pricier side, but really great in flavour. I could taste subtle notes of dark chocolate in the aftertaste. But nothing out of the ordinary. It ticked all my fundamental boxes, but did it have anything that made it stand out? Nada. However, the plus point was that Starbucks has a huge range of choices and I was able to customize my drink too! Although I personally wouldn’t purchase the drink again, I’d definitely recommend it for a try.

Rating: 3/5

Price: $4.55 for a grande hot chocolate

Starbucks hot chocolate
Starbucks hot chocolate Sara Arora

The results

On the whole, what disappointed me was the absence of marshmallows in all drinks.
As you probably guessed, my absolute favorite was the Canadian treasure. Even though they may not shine in the chicken strips department, they sure know how to make a damn good cup of hot cocoa. The drink excelled in ticking all boxes, plus its price is another attractive feature! If you ever manage to get yourself out of bed early for your 8 a.m. class, make sure to hit up Tims to skip their long queues and devour one of life’s treasures all in a cup, starting your day with that sugar high.

Answer: Technically speaking, hot cocoa is made from using cocoa mix while hot chocolate uses actual chocolate. But the two terms are generally used interchangeably.