Best hot cocoa mixes to keep you warm
this holiday season
By Lillian Doiron-Wahlstrom, Reporter & Selene Dalinis, Reporter
Sitting down for a warm cup of hot cocoa is a classic holiday tradition. Though everybody feels their family’s choice is best, what brand should really be considered superior? We decided to test some common hot cocoa mixes in order to determine which one comes out on top. For this experiment, we tested each hot cocoa mix with water and got the Riptide class to rate them from best to worst; here’s our results!
Swiss Miss – Rating: 7.5/10
The class favorite was Swiss Miss—hands down. When Riptide ranked it, Swiss Miss had the best overall flavor since it was more rich and velvety than the other options. It also had more of a deep chocolate smell and seemed to be almost more of a dark chocolate mix. Although some other dark chocolates were bitter, this one was a perfectly sweet concoction. Swiss Miss is also relatively inexpensive; the price is a reasonable 34.3 cents per ounce. Everyone loved Swiss Miss, and we even got Ms. Ramirez to change her opinion in favor of it!
Nestle – Rating: 6/10
The second class favorite hot cocoa mix was Nestle. This mix had a sweeter, smooth milky taste. It didn’t have the same prominent chocolate flavor everyone loved in the Swiss Miss. But if we’re being nice—and considering we did test all of them in water—this mix made with milk would likely have a richer taste. Overall, the class felt Nestle hot chocolate had an artificial aftertaste, but when compared to the others we tried, it had a decent chocolatey flavor profile.
Great Value – Rating: 4/10
The Walmart Great Value hot cocoa was crazy cheap—only 14 cents an ounce. This cocoa was ranked the third best partially due to its low price point. Shockingly, the Walmart hot chocolate mix wowed no one. With a weak nutty flavor that barely even resembled chocolate at all, it was a divisive experience that left some happier than others. However, it left no one enthused. Riptide’s overall impression was not especially memorable. But if you need a cost-friendly option, Great Value is adequate.
Stephens – Rating: 2.5/10
The Stephens brand of hot cocoa mix came in fourth, partially due to its comparatively high price at 46.8 cents an ounce. We all felt it was bitter, the chocolate flavor was not strong, and the taste was weak and yet somehow had undertones of artificial coconut. This is hot chocolate, not a melted almond joy. The smell was overtly sweet in an artificial way but upon tasting it had a shockingly bitter taste. No one liked it.
Ghirardelli – Rating: 1.5/10
Riptide unanimously judged Ghirardelli as the worst hot cocoa mix, especially when considering the unholy price point of $1.12 per ounce. It’s just bad. The chocolate flavor was notably weak and sad; without even mentioning that it tasted more like bitter cardboard than actual chocolate. Even though Ghiradelli is a well regarded brand and one we all assumed would prevail, their hot cocoa mix is just not it.
In the end, the best hot cocoa mix option is Swiss Miss. The other commonly found contenders are either not good, not worth the price, or both. Hot chocolate is a great warm winter drink, and we recommend investing in or making some quality hot cocoa mix yourself. However, if you are just looking for a quick, easy, and cheap option, Swiss Miss is the way to go.