King's Cupboard CocoaWhat should you expect from a good cocoa or hot chocolate mix? Read this page! Photo courtesy The King’s Cupboard.





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STEPHANIE ZONIS is a contributing editor of THE NIBBLE.



December 2006
Updated January 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Beverages

The Best Cocoa Mix

Some Like It Hot: Cocoa & Hot Chocolate ~ Part 1

Page 5: Cocoa/Hot Chocolate Mix Manifesto


This is Page 5 of a six-page article. Here, what you should look for in the best cocoa mix. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.


The Hot Cocoa/Hot Chocolate Mix Manifesto

Having tasted 65 hot chocolate and cocoa beverages for this article, I have come up with my own public declaration of views on what chocolate beverages should and shouldn’t be like. Here is a list of my “demands”—and if you seek a quality product, they should be your demands as well.

No Extraneous Ingredients

I can think of no good reason for a drinking chocolate to contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, yet multiple mixes reviewed here did. Others contained mono- and diglycerides (used to blend together ingredients which might not blend well on their own), corn syrup solids, dipotassium phosphate (prevents protein coagulation and/or precipitation), cellulose gum (an indigestible fiber used as a bulking agent), artificial flavors, canola oil, sodium silicoaluminate (a lump-preventing, anti-caking agent), sodium citrate (a buffering agent, added to adjust pH), sodium caseinate (provides a little bit of dairy flavor as well as a wee bit of thickening and a creamy look and feel), silicon dioxide (another anti-caking agent), and a few more ingredients I’m forgetting right now.

  • I don’t want my dietary indulgences containing this nonsense, nor do I care if a mix contains “less than 2%” of them.
  • It should be noted, incidentally, that the majority of the more expensive preparations used fewer or none of these ingredients.
  • There’s no reason that even a basic hot cocoa mix has to contain any of the thickeners, anti-caking agents, bulking agents, etc., listed above, except that their manufacturers want a cheap product that will store well on a supermarket shelf for many months.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Consumers will note that the difference between many high-quality specialty foods and many mass-marketed products is that the latter often use lesser-quality ingredients and additives to produce a desired result—creaminess, thicker consistency, shelf stability etc. But “you get what you pay for”: a premium cocoa will cost three to five times what a supermarket product does.

Canola oil: Great for coking, but we don’t want it in our cocoa! Photo courtesy Spectrum.

What we all should look for in a hot cocoa or hot chocolate preparation is a short list of real ingredients, such as chocolate, cocoa, sugar, milk powder, cocoa butter, pure vanilla (none of that artificial vanillin nonsense), and a few others. Gentle reader, you have the power to make this happen. If enough people boycott the cheap products filled with unnecessary additives, manufacturers will be forced to stop making them. Just something to ponder.


Continue To Page 5b: The Rest Of What You Do Or Don’t Want In Your Cocoa Mix

Go To Page 6: Make Hot Chocolate From Scratch ~ Recipe

Go To The Article Index Above


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