The best and worst places for cocoa

Hot chocolate is an easy staple for fall and winter, along with oversized sweaters and fireplaces. Finding the best hot chocolate without paying a fortune, though, is not that easy. Here’s a list of the best and worst places that offer this tasty beverage around town, and their ratings on presentation, taste, and price.


Most students carry some kind of Starbucks delicacy in their hands daily, whether that is a frappuccino or warm latte. But how does Starbucks hot chocolate measure up? The medium or grande sized hot chocolate costs a whopping $3.75.  While avid Starbucks fans are committed to their other coffees, Starbucks should stick to what they know well, which is not hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was not bad, but it also didn’t meet the Starbucks reputation for being the best. Starbucks may be a popular coffee shop, but for hot chocolate, it is not the best place to go. Their over-priced, under-flavored drink is not up to par with other local hot chocolate sellers.

Presentation: ✰✰

Taste: ✰✰


Replacing Caribou Coffee was a hard task, and Peet’s seems to have stepped up to the plate. Their hot chocolate was one of the prettiest appearance-wise, with patterns in whipped cream and caramel drizzle. The price fell in the middle, at $2.90. The taste, however, was a bit too sweet and seemed less like hot chocolate and more like hot cream. Overall, it still ended up being one of the best ones, with the sweetness eventually balancing out with the chocolate.

Presentation: ✰✰✰

Taste: ✰✰✰


Speedway is good at serving gasoline, so much so that their drinks are even starting to taste like it. Starting from the disorganized self-serve hot chocolate to the cringe-worthy taste, the 99 cent price does not make up for the inadequacy of the hot chocolate.  Even the simple act of getting the hot cocoa in the first place is hard, and the self-serve hot chocolate/coffee/tea/lemonade machine malfunctions every other time a customer attempts to get a drink.

Presentation: ✰

Taste: ✰

Dunkin Donuts

Although the route to Dunkin Donuts might be a little bit further than the neighborhood McDonalds and Peet’s, this hot chocolate supersedes the others in taste. Although the presentation of the hot beverage is ordinary, the drink itself is the right mix of chocolate and creamy milk, at the right temperature. The price also is one of the least expensive, at $1.79, making this hot chocolate that much sweeter.

Presentation: ✰✰✰

Taste: ✰✰✰✰

Tim Horton’s

Although a Tim Horton’s is hard to find, the closest being next to Lifetime Fitness or at Great Lakes Crossing, this hot chocolate is at the top of the list in both taste and presentation. It is also very reasonably priced, with a cost at $1.60. The original hot chocolate taste comes through, and the creamy taste is perfectly balanced with the chocolate flavor, making Tim Horton’s an easy favorite.

Presentation: ✰✰✰✰

Taste: ✰✰✰✰


With a surprisingly expensive price of $3.09, the McDonald’s hot chocolate is not worth the time or the money. The hot chocolate is too sweet, with barely any chocolate taste, and seemed to be more of a sugar and milk mix. Its plain white cup also made its presentation boring. Overall, McDonald’s was simply over-priced and under-par.

Presentation: ✰

Taste: ✰

Bigby’s Coffee