In case you hadn’t heard, Trader Joe’s is going all out this holiday season. They’re not just adding a few holiday products to their arsenal, they’re adding over 80 new holiday products. We already tried most of their sweet new treats but we were so impressed with their selection of hot cocoas, we wanted to dedicate a special space just for these sweet, chocolatey potions.
We especially love these offerings from Trader Joe’s because while homemade hot chocolate is always a good idea, we don’t always have the time to whip up a cup. If you’re looking for the best store-bought hot cocoa option and have a trip to Trader Joe’s planned in the near future, here is everything you need to know about Trader Joe’s hot chocolate selection.
Trader Joe’s does have a generic hot chocolate but there’s nothing special about it so we decided to leave it behind during our hot cocoa haul. We’ve tried it before and it’s good, but we decided to focus on the more unique (hopefully tastier) options.
To make sure I wasn’t skewing the results of this very scientific taste test, I used exactly eight ounces of warm (but not boiling) 1% milk for each cup.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
I regret to inform you that I was terribly let down by this peppermint hot chocolate. I love peppermint mocha — it’s my favorite holiday flavor combo of all time but I will not be drinking this one again. I tried it two ways: once as a regular cup of hot cocoa and once as the mocha to my peppermint mocha latte. Both times I was bummed by the drink’s overwhelming artificial peppermint flavor.
Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Stirring Spoon
This one was a slight upgrade from the peppermint hot chocolate. The flavor was great and the method (swirling the spoon in a cup of warm milk) was fun, but this spoon is large enough to flavor about two tablespoons of warm milk. I would probably need three of these spoons to get a cup of warm milk chocolatey enough for my taste. If you prefer less intense cocoa, you may want to give this one a shot.
Hot Chocolate Sticks
These are basically mini chocolate bars that you stir into warm milk just like the spoon. First, these also were not chocolatey enough for me. I had to use two sticks to reach my desired level of chocolatey-ness. But I didn’t mind that as much as the weird way these melted (or didn’t melt). It’s hard to see in the picture below but no matter how much I stirred this concoction, the sticks never completely incorporated into the warm milk. They simply dissolved into smaller pieces of chocolate that just kind of floated around in the milk. I actually enjoyed the distinctly dark chocolate flavor, but it looked weird.
Ding ding ding! We have a winner! This not only exceeded my expectations but was the best store-bought hot chocolate I have ever had. I used a little more than recommended (I can’t help it, I love chocolate) but the flavor was out of this world. It was dark, rich, velvety smooth and everything you’re looking for in an indulgent cup of hot cocoa. If you want to really take it to the next level, try topping it with some of Trader Joe’s Peppermint Mini Marshmallows or Minty Mallows.