Sip and Swirl, or Spit it Out?

Here’s the scoop on what places to hit for the best hot chocolate this season.

McKell McIntyre- Social Media Editor

With the cold weather here to stay, it’s time to start stocking up on some toasty fall drinks. There’s nothing like curling up on the couch with a good book or movie and sipping some rich and delicious, frothy hot chocolate. Although hot chocolate is a fan-favorite, there are some kinds that are less than satisfactory. To keep people from wasting their time with anything less than the best, I set out to find out which places to hit. Each cup of hot chocolate was scored in four categories: price, wait-time, temperature, and flavor.  

The first cup of cocoa came from Starbucks. I obviously couldn’t review hot chocolate without stopping there first. Priced at $2.97, it was the most expensive of the four locations. It took five minutes for the beverage to be served, and was ready to drink as soon as it came out--not  too hot, not too cold, just right. The flavor wasn’t the expected sweet taste, but slightly more bitter. The beverage wasn’t as filling either. Its unique flavor made the taste lighter and not so overwhelming. Due to its unusual flavor, wait-time, distance, and price, Starbucks scored an overall rating of 2.5 out of 5 stars. Although the hot chocolate wasn’t the best based on the established scoring system, Starbucks did offer other interesting qualities. The atmosphere was modern and chill, making it the perfect setting for a date or a night out with friends. 

McDonald’s was the next stop. Because of its close proximity to Lone Peak, McDonald’s is convenient for students without cars. Priced at $2.29, it was the second-most expensive. It took six minutes for the beverage to be served. The hot chocolate however, needed a few extra minutes to cool before it was at a suitable temperature. The flavor wasn’t too overpowering, and it did offer a delightful milk-chocolate taste. The drink was served topped with whip cream and drizzled in hot fudge. With an overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars, McDonald’s proved a great option for a quick cup of cocoa. 

Harts was up next. Located down the street from Lone Peak, a few extra minutes of travel time might be needed. However, no wait-time need-be expected due to their self-serve machine. With the least expensive price of $1.29, Harts’ hot chocolate was the leading competitor in affordability. Unlike its competitor at McDonald’s, the beverage from Harts could be consumed immediately without time to cool. The flavor was richer than its McDonald’s counterpart as well, scoring an overall 4 out of 5 stars Harts took the lead. 

Eight minutes away from the school was the last contender: 7-Eleven. Although a long drive might deter some, because of affordability it cannot be excluded entirely. Also operating with a self-serve station, wait-time was eliminated. With a price point of $1.38 it trailed slightly behind the less-expensive Harts hot chocolate. The temperature of the drink was hot, but not scalding and the provided coffee straw helped dispense the drink gradually, preventing a burnt tongue. The flavor was sweeter and more poignant than any of the others. The self-serve station also offered a variety of different-flavored creamers that could be added to the hot chocolate. Tallying an overall score of 4.5 out of 5 stars, 7-Eleven stole first place from Harts. Because of its distance from Lone Peak, 7-Eleven might not be the best option in a short lunch period, but if you have the time, consider stopping by.   

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Although there was some stiff competition, 7-Eleven captured the title of Best Hot Chocolate. With a little bit of a drive, 7-Eleven’s affordably priced, mouth-wateringly sweet hot chocolate rose to the top of the charts when convenience and quality tipped the scales in its favor. Compared to the more expensive and distinct taste of Starbucks hot chocolate, the familiar taste of the 7-Eleven brew is an all-around crowd pleaser. Though 7-Eleven took first, McDonald’s, Harts, and Starbucks were all great contenders. No matter the origin, hot chocolate can never fail. 

** Written by McKell McIntyre, a long-time lover of hot chocolate and other fall drinks.

Illustration By: Mckell McIntyre