Jacques Torres: 19 Hot Cocoa Mixes, Ranked From Worst To Best

BY LAUREN BEACH/NOV. 12, 2022 11:47 AM UTC

A satisfying mug of hot chocolate is the rare beverage that children and adults can agree on — but not all hot chocolates are the same. The quality of the cocoa used, the inclusion of thickeners and additives, and even the instructions mean flavor and texture vary wildly from brand to brand.

We tasted 19 hot chocolates ranging from budget-friendly grocery store-brand packets to high-end canisters from chocolatiers. We spit some out after (unpleasant) tastings and there were a few that our tasters snuck off with.

To keep things fair, we carefully followed each package’s microwave instructions and leveled our tablespoon. If a label called for water, that’s what we used. For brands calling for milk, we used the same 2% dairy milk. If a brand suggested milk or water, we defaulted to milk.

We awarded each hot chocolate points based on creaminess, chocolatey-ness, sweetness level, and overall balance, with detractions for powderiness and off notes. Our top five hot chocolates include a few pricey-but-worth-it options, a delicious mid-range choice, and a value cocoa that strikes a balance between cost and quality.

1. Jacques Torres Hot Chocolate

Mug of cocoa and package

Jacques Torres Hot Chocolate, our third-favorite hot chocolate in NYC, was the priciest hot cocoa we tasted at a whopping $3.50 per serving. It’s worth every penny. The mix had small pebbles of chocolate mixed with powder and called for a high ratio of mix to milk, which is probably why it was so creamy and decadent. Despite the high amount of mix, there was zero powderiness. The ingredients include dark chocolate, dry whole milk, and several thickeners, which explains the silky, thick texture.

This is a luscious hot cocoa that was on the restrained side of sweet without any bitterness. While no child would say no to a mug of this rich, chocolatey cocoa, this is a secret-stash luxury you won’t want to share. We could see skimping on the mix a little to stretch this beyond the seven servings one canister makes. We plan to make this our special-occasion hot cocoa around here.

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