Best Cocoa Mixes
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We Tried 11 Hot Cocoa Mixes and This is the Best

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Best Cocoa Mixes
svetikd/istockphoto

WINTER IN THE MIX

Much to the delight of skiers, snowboarders, hot cocoa drinkers, and "Game of Thrones" fans, winter has finally come. That means it's time to get snuggly and warm with a cup of cocoa every time you're at home or entertaining holiday house guests. Which cocoa to choose? There are a lot of brands out there — so we decided to research this very question.

Swiss Miss w/ Marshmallow
Courtesy of amazon.com

MOST RELIABLE


Swiss Miss with Marshmallows
Swiss Miss is the go-to brand for most people, and there's a reason for that. Even after all this time, it doesn't just taste like chocolate syrup; we're talking about a very distinct sweet, malty, and chocolatey taste. The marshmallows are tragically small, but they are very welcome.

Signature Select Rich Milk Chocolate
Courtesy of Safeway

BEST FOR THE PRICE


Signature Select Rich Milk Chocolate
This is exactly what you'd expect: a grocery store knockoff of Swiss Miss. It definitely doesn't taste as good as Swiss Miss, but at a dollar cheaper (this will run you $2.99 at Safeway), it's a steal. Truly not bad, though each package is strangely hard to open, and will undoubtedly leave your kitchen counter with a dusting of cocoa mix.

Starbucks Cinnamon Dulce Hot Chocolate
Courtesy of amazon.com

MOST OVERPRICED


Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce
This is a $7.99 box of overly thick chocolate powder packets that taste like somebody dumped some cinnamon into them but didn't mix them up. How it's possible that only some of the sips taste like cinnamon and others don't, we have no idea; it's truly a marvel of modern science. Cinnamon definitely works in hot chocolate, but this just isn't worth the money.

Droste Hot Chocolate
Courtesy of worldmarket.com

BEST BOX TO READ THOROUGHLY BEFORE PURCHASING


Droste
Droste hot cocoa is actually not hot cocoa at all, but rather pure cacao powder that was for some reason placed on the shelf in the hot cocoa section of the Albertson's where we bought it. We're not quitters though, so we mixed it with sugar and tried to create a hot cocoa mix out of it. It was still horribly bitter and essentially undrinkable. This one's on us.

Nestlé w/ Marshmallows
Courtesy of walmart.com

BEST HOT COCOA TO THROW DIRECTLY INTO THE TRASH


Nestlé with Marshmallows
This was unquestionably the worst hot chocolate we had. If you stuck some NesQuik in the microwave and threw some deconstructed bits of Lucky Charms marshmallows on top, you'd have an identical match, flavor-wise. We're not sure what it is with the Nestlé mix, but it has a weird aftertaste that you just can't shake. Even at $1.79 a box, it's not worth it.

O Organics Hot Chocolate
Courtesy of amazon.com

BEST HOT COCOA TO SPLURGE ON


O Organics
You'll spend almost $6 on this, but the container is big enough to warrant it. The flavor is undeniably solid, and tastes like something you might get at a cafe. It's extremely chocolatey in a good way; even more chocolatey, in fact, than the Ghirardelli mix.

Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
Courtesy of target.com

BIGGEST FLAVOR FAIL


Starbucks Salted Caramel
This creature of Starbucks' design is intended to be salted caramel-flavored, but it truly doesn't taste any different. We had three different cups. No dice. Unless you enjoy $7.99 packets of hot chocolate that don't actually taste like salted caramel, look elsewhere.

Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate
Courtesy of amazon.com

BIGGEST LET DOWN


Ghirardelli
You'd expect a hot cocoa mix from a company like Ghirardelli to display the deepest, boldest, chocolate-iest flavors. While the Ghirardelli mix is decently tasty, it's just not what we expected. It should have been so much more powerful.

Starbucks Classic Hot Chocolate
Courtesy of target.com

BEST HOT COCOA FOR CHOCOHOLICS


Starbucks Classic
If the Ghirardelli mix let you down, look to classic Starbucks flavor. This was easily the richest, most decadent chocolate flavor of any brand that we tried. It tastes like a big cup of melted dark chocolate — we filled our mugs to the brim with milk, and the stuff was still insanely thick. This guy right here is for the true chocolate lover.

Silly Cow Farms Chocolate Chocolate
Courtesy of amazon.com

BEST OVERALL HOT COCOA


Silly Cow Farms Chocolate Chocolate
What a truly pleasant experience this was, from start to finish. It's sold, first and foremost, in a very pleasant glass bottle, offering you a look at exactly what product you're getting. The mix itself is stellar — full-flavor taste without being too rich, and not at all clumpy when you mix it up. These geniuses have the foresight to tell you to use milk only, and don't even give you the option for water. After a dizzying array of mediocre mixes, Sillycow was a real breath of fresh air.