Thursday, March 23, 2023

Hits and swiss-misses: Ranking hot cocoa offered on Grand River Avenue

October 30, 2022
The State News tries hot chocolate on Oct. 21, 2022. Photo Illustration by Devin Anderson-Torrez.
The State News tries hot chocolate on Oct. 21, 2022. Photo Illustration by Devin Anderson-Torrez. —
Photo by Devin Anderson-Torrez | The State News

When the weather becomes unbearably chilly and the heat in the newsroom just isn’t cutting it, State News staffers must venture to keep warm with a winter staple.

On Grand River Avenue, there is ample access to a quick hot chocolate fix. The only question is: Which shop offers the best cup of cocoa? 

We ordered a medium cup of hot chocolate at four locations with no customizations and a large at Mitten Raised. We took thickness, price and overall flavor into consideration. 

Here’s how each cup ranked. 

Fifth place – Dunkin’ Donuts

Don’t worry – Dunkin’ didn’t have the slightest chance of topping our list this time around. The collective disgust in the newsroom was palpable amidst this sampling. It had a slimy texture as if the milk had been left out too long. But the torture didn’t stop there – it also had no taste. You can have either horrible texture or horrible taste, but we’d argue you can’t have both and still charge $4.09. 

Final ranking: 1.25/10

Fourth place – Starbucks

As a newsroom full of Starbucks addicts, this cup left us disappointed. Starbucks, usually known for its reliable consistency, dropped the ball. They went far too heavy on the mocha syrup and much too light on the sweetener, resulting in an overly bitter taste. The beverage felt like it stuck to your mouth with a grit – an immediate palette cleanser was needed. It was also too watery. After all of this, they still had the nerve to price this monstrosity at $4.19. 

Final ranking: 2/10

Third place – Blue Owl

This hot chocolate was about as mid as it gets. We didn’t have any major complaints – it was a nice break from the previous disgust that we had to endure – but it simply tasted like Swiss Miss. We could have made this at home and it would have been nearly as good. Plus, Swiss Miss wouldn’t have cost us a whopping $4.25. 

Final ranking: 4.75/10

Second place – Mitten Raised

This is how you successfully sell a cup of satisfactory hot chocolate. For just $2.25, we received a solid cup of cocoa, both sweet and thick enough. The price was one of the saving graces for this cup, so it had to make our top two. We will say, it was a tad too milky, but at this point, we didn’t have room to be too picky. 

Final ranking: 6.63/10

First place – Foster’s

Thankfully, we saved the best for last. This cup had notes of cinnamon and spice balanced with a perfectly chocolatey flavor. At $5, Foster’s overcharges for an exceptional hot chocolate. However, it also had a pleasant consistency, not too watery but not overly thick. For once, the flavors and spices overpowered the milkiness. We think the price is worth it, but maybe not more than two times a week, max.

Final ranking: 7.75/10

Disclaimer: We wanted to include Campbell’s Market in our ranking, but in true McDonald’s-like fashion, they said they couldn’t serve us a cup because their espresso machine was down. They’re safe from our criticisms for now...

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