Ranking last on our list, Dagoba’s hot chocolate was found to be just awful, described as tasting like "muddy water," air, and cardboard with no sweetness. However, tasters thought it had a good dark chocolate color and a rich, chocolaty smell.
Coming in at number eight, Swiss Miss’ hot chocolate made one of our tasters wonder, "What’s the point?" of drinking it. This hot chocolate looked and tasted like water that was artificially sweet, lacked a strong smell, and had a very thin consistency.
Described as having an “unnatural,” gray color, an "odd chemical flavor," and a strange aftertaste, Whole Foods Organic 365 Hot Cocoa didn’t meet the hot chocolate expectations of our panelists even remotely. One taster noted that it didn’t taste like chocolate at all. Apparently, though, as it had a slightly nutty and amaretto scent, it smelled a little better than it looked and tasted.
According to our panelists, the classic kids' Nesquik mix was "not repulsive" but lacked any "substantial flavor." One taster said they smelled allspice but tasted nothing. This hot chocolate was not sweet or creamy, and some thought it tasted watered-down and had a consistency that was too thin. Really the only thing it had going for it was its dark chocolate color.
This hot chocolate mix didn’t appear to be very well liked by our panelists, but still, it came in at number five. It had neither a very chocolaty smell nor a very chocolaty flavor, and was described as "a little bland" with suggestions that it may contain low-grade chocolate. Its color was a "boring light brown" and its consistency was "milky." One taster commented, "You can tell it’s cheap, but hey, it’s not killing anyone."
Our panelists generally enjoyed Starbucks' hot chocolate mix with only a few dislikes. It was found by most to smell, look, and taste as good hot chocolate should, with a rich and bitter, dark chocolate smell, a creamy consistency, and a very chocolaty taste. But some tasters mentioned that it left a bad aftertaste and that it tasted powdery.
Opinions about Trader Joe’s Peppermint Hot Chocolate were 50/50, but "hot chocolate thin mint" was the most accurate description. Tasters who favored the mix thought the hot chocolate resembled Andes chocolate with a rich, creamy consistency as well as a rich color and a minty smell. Others who disliked it found it to be "toothpaste-y" in smell and taste and even like a "chocolate Altoid."
Ranking a number two, Ghirardelli Chocolate Mocha was very well-liked for its rich, dark brown color, thick and slightly creamy texture, bitter smell, and sweet taste. It was thought to be “decadent” for a mix and called the “epitome of chocolate bran.”
Out of nine hot chocolate mixes, Nestlé Milk Chocolate was considered number one. It was creamy and chocolaty with a smooth brown color and a “marshmallow smell.” Describing it as “classic” and “full-bodied,” tasters said it tasted like real chocolate and was “thick and rich in all ways.”