JK Review: Cozy up with the best hot chocolate this winter


There are probably few things better than curling up with a cup of hot chocolate during the cold, winter months. It can be hard to go wrong with any hot chocolate — even the home powder mixes are pretty good — but what makes one hot chocolate better than some of the others out there?

Bluestem — $2.99 (small)

Julia: This hot chocolate came with a TON of whipped cream and chocolate drizzle on top when I picked it up. By the time we went to drink it, it was all melted and had a purple tint to it, as I mentioned in the video. That didn’t stop it from being delicious, as the chocolate was very bold and sweet. However, the texture of the steamed milk was a bit watery for my liking. I loved the chocolate, just wasn’t a huge fan of the liquid.

Kelsey: Out of all the ones we tried, this was my least favorite hot chocolate. There was something just not right about it. There was a weird aftertaste, and, like Julia said, it was more watery than the others. Whatever it was I was tasting, I was really thrown off by it. I shouldn’t have questions about drinking hot chocolate, so it’s safe to say I probably won’t come to Bluestem for my cocoa needs.

Caribou — $3.49 (small)

J: This hot chocolate was very sweet and SO good! The chocolate was rich and had a unique, wonderful taste that out-did Nestle hot chocolate packets any day. Two thumbs up here for sure. Out of all the hot chocolates, this one definitely put me in the Christmas mood, which is why I dub it as my favorite.

K: This was a very close second for me. Actually, it was pretty much a tie between Caribou and Radina’s. Caribou is sweet and chocolatey, which is fantastic. It just didn’t have as strong of a chocolate taste as my favorite one on this list. Seriously, this was a close one.

Radina’s — $2.99 (single)

J: Balance is key with chocolate and milk in hot chocolate and Radina’s perfected it! This hot chocolate wasn’t too chocolatey or rich, yet definitely satisfied my sweet tooth. It was well-mixed and not too sugary. I give it a close tie with Caribou. No doubt, it deserves to be in the top two.

K: Oh, sweet chocolate goodness! I don’t know if there really was a chocolate bar melted into this cup, but I can imagine it. The texture almost seemed a little thicker than the other drinks we tried, and overall, I just thought it was a richer, fuller flavor. Radina’s makes it to the top of the list for me.

Starbucks — $2.99 (tall)

J: Hot chocolate is filled with sugar, so you can’t really go wrong. This one was still good, except a problem I found in the taste of the chocolate. It was sweet, yes, but had a hint of that cheap, Nestle hot chocolate packets that I did not want. I was slightly disappointed, but if I was seriously craving hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day, I think I would still take a cup of warm Starbucks hot cocoa.

K: I enjoy Starbucks as much as the next person, but it’s true its drinks are not always the best. There was more of a chemical taste to this cup than the others and it was a little more watered down. While not bad, it wasn’t blow-your-mind incredible. It tasted like the cheap hot chocolate packets you can pick up at the store, so I’d rather just make it at home if Starbucks is my only other option for hot chocolate.

Hi everyone! I'm was a senior in journalism and cultural anthropology. My favorite things are storytelling, coffee and meeting new people. In that order.