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Best Hot Chocolate From Fast Food Restaurants

Kristin loves sharing places to find yummy treats that your family might like.

The Best Hot Chocolate: Stacking up the Competition

The Best Hot Chocolate: Stacking up the Competition

Finding the Best Hot Chocolate

There's nothing like a cup of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream on a cool winter day. Like many other hot beverages, this classic winter drink has stepped up its game in recent years and gone a bit gourmet.

Enthusiasts can be thankful that being served a cup of dried cocoa powder and boiling water is fast-becoming a thing of the past. Steamed milk combined with chocolate syrups, or even melted chocolate, topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream is now becoming more the norm, even at fast-food restaurants.

I recently set out to find the best available for a few dollars or less. Below, you can see each cup I was served from Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, McDonald's, and Dunkin' Donuts.

Number of Locations Worldwide

  • Starbucks: 17,651
  • Caribou Coffee: 500 (16 states/several countries)
  • McDonald's: 34,000
  • Dunkin' Donuts: 10,083
Starbucks Classic Hot Chocolate

Starbucks Classic Hot Chocolate

Steamed milk with vanilla- and mocha-flavored syrups. Topped with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate-flavored drizzle.

— Description from starbucks.com

Curious to see if Starbucks could do for hot chocolate what they did for coffee, I was eager to give theirs a try.

I ordered a tall classic hot chocolate and within moments was served a very delicious and satisfying drink. With the whipped cream already melting on top, this Starbucks rendition was both creamy and flavorful.

The vanilla and mocha syrups added to the steamed milk hit the perfect chocolate flavor note—not too rich, not too weak. My only disappointment was that the chocolate drizzle was left off, which for me was merely an aesthetic miss.

All-in-all, this was a great cup, especially for the price, and I will definitely be going back for more this winter!

Starbucks Hot Chocolate Nutrition Information

Purchased at Chicago suburb Starbucks location. Nutrition information from starbucks.com.

12 oz. Classic Hot Chocolate (2% milk)$2.65

Calories

290

Total Fat

13g

Cholesterol

45g

Total Carbs

40g

Protein

11g

Caribou Coffee Hot Chocolate

Caribou Coffee Hot Chocolate

We melt premium chocolate of your choice (dark, milk or white) with steamed milk and then top with whipped cream and chocolate chips to create our decadent hot chocolate.

— Description from cariboucoffee.com

From the moment I entered my local Caribou Coffee shop, I could hardly wait to taste their hot chocolate. With its warm and cozy lodge-like decor—crackling fireplace, leather chairs, rustic wooden floors—how could Caribou Coffee not make the best cocoa?

I ordered a small hot chocolate and was given the choice of dark, milk or white chocolate, as well as type of milk; I chose milk chocolate and 2% milk. When I opened the lid I was pleased to see a few mini chocolate chips on top of a generous serving of whipped cream.

Caribou Coffee melts chocolate and steams it with milk to create this decadent drink. Each whipped cream coated sip is heaven, but at over four-hundred calories and twenty-six grams of fat per cup, this cup is more of a treat than a regular drink.

Caribou's version as certainly one of the best I've ever had and will most certainly be going back to order another cup and soak up the heat next to the fire on a cool winter day.

Caribou Coffee Hot Chocolate Nutrition Information

Purchased at Chicago suburb Caribou Coffee location. Nutrition info. from cariboucoffee.com

12oz. Milk Chocolate Hot Chocolate (2% milk)$3.09

Calories

410

Total Fat

26g

Cholesterol

65g

Total Carbs

36g

Protein

10g

McDonald's Hot Chocolate (McCafe)

McDonald's Hot Chocolate (McCafe)

Made with steamed whole or nonfat milk, rich chocolate syrup and topped with whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle.

— Description from mcdonalds.com

McCafe Nutrition Information

Purchased at Chicago suburb McDonald's location. Nutrition info. from mcdonalds.com

12oz. McCafe Hot Chocolate (whole milk)$2.40

Calories

240

Total Fat

8g

Cholesterol

Not Available

Total Carbs

37g

Protein

7g

In 2009 the fast-food giant McDonald's introduced the McCafe special line of drinks to its U.S. restaurants. Since these drinks tend to be more gourmet, similar to something served at a coffee house, I was eager to have a McCafe version.

I ordered a small hot chocolate and was anxious to taste it. When I opened the lid I was flat out disappointed. Not only was there no chocolate drizzle as advertised, but there was no whipped cream!

Made with whole milk and chocolate syrup, the drink itself was really creamy and chocolatey. One thing I really liked about it was that it was hotter than others I had tried.

Recalling McDonald's jingle, "You deserve a break today," I guess I'll give them a break and try theirs again, but next time I will be sure to ask for whipped cream.

Dunkin' Donuts Original Hot Chocolate

Dunkin' Donuts Original Hot Chocolate

Chocolate lovers from far and wide rave about our rich and delicious Hot Chocolate. It is the classic warm-you-up treat.

— Description from dunkindonuts.com

Knowing that Dunkin' Donuts gets a lot of good reviews for its coffee, I was interested to see if their hot chocolate would be the same.

I ordered a small original hot chocolate and hoped it was going to taste as good as the over-sized picture of it on the restaurant window looked.

After one sip, I had a hard time wrapping my taste buds around the Dunkin' Donuts version. It's quite frothy and slightly creamy, yet it did not seem to be made with milk. It was a bit thin but not as thin as an awful water-based cup of hot cocoa usually is.

After looking at the ingredients listed on the website it appears that theirs is made with a dry milk product and powders. It's safe to say, I will not be returning for more.

Dunkin' Donuts Hot Cocoa Nutrition Information

Purchased at Chicago suburb Dunkin' Donuts location. Nutrition info. from dunkindonuts.com

10 oz. Original Hot Chocolate (non-milk)$1.79

Calories

220

Total Fat

7g

Cholesterol

0g

Total Carbs

39g

Protein

2g

Comments

CharZ on August 10, 2018:

I'm looking for a sweet hot chocolate with cream. Tried starbucks but it is too bitter for me. Looking for sweeter and creamier

Amanda W from Pittsburgh on January 16, 2015:

What a beautiful and well-written hub! I love your style.

I work at Starbucks, and I definitely enjoy our hot chocolates, but McDonald's new White Hot Chocolate is a huge guilty pleasure of mine. I'm sure I just like it because it's completely loaded with sugar. It's a very hit or miss experience. Sometimes, all of the flavor just pools at the bottom. Sometimes, they serve me a coffee instead.

It's a shame that the Caribou coffees around me have shut down, because I'd love to try one of their hot chocolates.

Chad Young from Corona, CA on April 07, 2014:

Hot chocolate just isn't right unless it has whip cream or marshmallows on top. This is why I picked Starbucks because the whip cream is what makes it the best. Dunkin Donuts, I love your coffee but do you hear me on this one?

I have to try Caribou...looks good in the picture.

~ Chad

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on January 26, 2014:

What a cool idea for a hub! I liked the review of each, the layout and the photos, as well as the nutritional information. This makes me want to go out and order a hot cocoa while it is still Winter!

Thanks for sharing this, and have a great day.

Since it is cold, and many people will "warm up" to the idea of hot cocoa, I am going to share this.

~ Kathryn

mylindaelliott from Louisiana on June 07, 2013:

I love hot chocolate at any time of the year. Thanks for the comparisons. I had a better experience with the McDonald's hot chocolate. I do like Starbucks too though.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on March 07, 2013:

lindacee - Submarino sounds like it melts in your mouth. I think the hot chocolate from Caribou Coffee probably most closely resembles submarino, but that coffee shop isn't everywhere. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

Linda Chechar from Arizona on March 07, 2013:

I love hot chocolate, but typically make mine at home. However, after reading your review, I might have to try some of your picks. I lived in South America (Uruguay) for 3 years and frequently ordered what is known as a "submarino"--steamed milk and a specially formulated chocolate bar that melts into the milk, creating a yummy, hot chocolate beverage.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on December 18, 2012:

Relationshipc - Apparently there is a lot of good hot chocolate in Canada (based on your comment and previous ones) that I'm missing out on.

Kari on December 18, 2012:

I never would have tried McDonald's hot chocolate, I will have to give it a whirl.

I am a huge fan of white hot chocolate, and Second Cup (I think it's only Canadian) serves the BEST white hot chocolate.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on December 12, 2012:

petenali - Thanks for the added information. I'm going to check out their website.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on December 12, 2012:

Thanks torrilyn. Glad you liked having the calorie information too.

Pete from Ontario, Canada on December 12, 2012:

Although Tim Hortons started in Canada (Tim Horton was a hockey player), there are some Tim Hortons in the states too now... word is out as to how good they are!

torrilynn on December 12, 2012:

Great Hub ! I love hot chocolate so much and the fact that you included the calories was a great idea. Voted up.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on December 12, 2012:

petenali - I believe you're the second person that has mentioned Tim Horton's. I have never heard of that before (maybe it's just a Canada thing) but I will have to check it out.

Pete from Ontario, Canada on December 12, 2012:

I am presently addicted to the White Hot Chocolate at Tim Hortons here in Canada... beats the tried and true regular HC hands down for me!

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on December 12, 2012:

Thanks Robert. If it got as cold yesterday where you currently live (across Lake Michigan from me) as it did for me then I would say hot chocolate and other hot drinks are no longer enough to warm you up. You're going to need that heater!

Robert Erich from California on December 12, 2012:

This is clearly an important hub for this time of year! We are finally getting our heater turned on today, so the last few weeks got drinks have been a big part of our lives. Votes up and sharing this excellent hub. I am excited that you commented on my hub for the simple reason that it has helped me find another awesome writer to read about.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on December 04, 2012:

I'm glad you enjoyed it Louise. You're right, Caribou is not in London, but who knows, maybe one day. Thanks for your comment.

Louise Lately from London, UK on December 04, 2012:

Hi Ktrapp - I really enjoyed reading your hub which is very well researched. We have most of those brands here in London, UK but I'm not sure about Caribou. Hot chocolate is my favourite and I found your text very informative :)

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on December 03, 2012:

ElleBee - I grew up in New Fairfield, CT which was about a 6 hour drive to D.C. I'm not a coffee drinker, but every time I walk into Caribou Coffee or Starbucks the coffee aroma makes me wish I loved the taste as much.

ElleBee on December 03, 2012:

Ktrapp -- I'm in New England. At least 6 hours north of DC and that's if I miss NYC traffic! Maybe I'll just work Caribou Coffee into my next road trip, I haven't had their coffee in quite a while and it is good.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on December 03, 2012:

Thanks Bill. I like the way restaurants steam the milk with the chocolate or chocolate syrup--much better than what I can make at home.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 03, 2012:

Didn't I see that this won HOTD? If so, congratulations! I don't know if I have ever purchased hot chocolate at a fast food chain. Thanks for the info; I just might have to do that this winter.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on December 02, 2012:

ElleBee - I don't know exactly where you are, but Caribou Coffee does have some shops near the east coast in D.C., Virginaia, Maryland, North Carolina and Georgia. Maybe relocation won't be necessary :)

ElleBee on December 02, 2012:

Extra calories or not, that Caribou sounds delectable!! I think Caribou needs to venture out to the East Coast ASAP! Either that or I need to relocate myself west.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on December 01, 2012:

Mike - Thanks for the run down on each of the hot chocolates you've had. Hopefully Caribou makes it up to you in Calgary one day and you can try that one too. I didn't know you could get Starbucks extra hot. Thanks for the tip.

Mike Inkster from Calgary, Alberta on December 01, 2012:

Starbucks for me. It has flavour and you can get it extra hot also.

Mickey D well that is something else, haved drank it on ocassions due to the grandkids birthday parties.

We did have dunkin doughnuts in Canada at one time and tried it there no flavour to it.

As for the Caribou we do not have that breed here in Canada yet.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on December 01, 2012:

Glad to help kitkat1141 and thanks.

kitkat1141 from Ontario, Canada on December 01, 2012:

Thank you for including the tables with cost and nutritional content. Great hub for a cold snowy day!

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Cathy - A candy cane in hot chocolate sounds wonderful. I have never heard of doing that before. During the holidays I like to make sugar cookies with a little frosting and finely crushed candy on top. They are excellent with hot chocolate.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Thanks Deb. I have not ever heard of Tim Horton's before. If I ever get the McDonald's hot chocolate again I will be sure and ask for the whipped cream, even though it is supposed to include it and chocolate drizzle. It's part of the McCafe line of drinks. The problem is that I didn't realize that it was wrong until I drove away. Oh well.

Ms. Immortal from NJ on November 29, 2012:

My son was just telling me how excited he was for Christmas, one of the main reasons is hot chocolate. It is our tradition on Christmas Eve to drink a cup of hot chocolate with a candy cane placed inside the cup. Aldo at some point during the holiday season we usually indulge in a hot chocolate at Starbucks.

Thanks for a great hub!

Deb Welch on November 29, 2012:

Nice review on Hot Chocolate. We don't have Caribou. McDonald's I like and you can order it with whipped cream and extras. We have Tim Horton's here and their Hot Chocolate is excellent. Congratulations.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Nora411 - I always have to laugh when I drive by DD on my way to work - the drive-through line is long and there is always a police car in it. ( I hope no cops get mad at me.) On a different note, since you live in Chicago like me, do you recall years ago when they had cop cars on the side of the tollway with a dummy dressed as a cop in the front seat. I guess it was supposed to get people to slow down without having to pay an actual cop. The funny thing is, as if that's not weird enough, is that people started leaving boxes of Dunkin Donuts on the hood of the police car. Only in Chicago. Thanks for stopping by again.

Nora411 from Chicago, IL on November 29, 2012:

That's right Ktrapp, I am a big DD fan! I enjoy coffee in the morning and tea at night :)

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Thanks Vicki. I know a lot of people could learn from you and save a lot of money by eliminating routinely buying expensive coffees on a regular basis. You're so smart to be frugal where you can.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on November 29, 2012:

What great reviews! That Caribou one looks delicious. I don't know if we have one around here. I don't get out much--LOL. I'm so frugal that I rarely buy even a cup of coffee away from home. That hot chocolate is tempting, though. Great photos! Congrats on HOTD!

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Thanks savingkathy - Very fun actually! I checked, no Caribou Coffee in Canada, but they're in a lot of the great lakes states near the border :) Minnesota (their headquarters) has the most, over two-hundred. They're only in a few other countries (South Korea, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudia Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, UAE, and a few more).

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Thanks ComfortB. After looking at these pics on and off throughout the day I would have gone and gotten a cup if it wasn't relatively warm and sunny today.

Kathy Sima from Ontario, Canada on November 29, 2012:

This one must have been a fun one to research! Congratulations on your Hub of the Day. I love the pictures and the descriptions - the Caribou Coffee one sounds delicious! I don't think we have those in Canada, which is probably a good thing!

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on November 29, 2012:

Even though I'm not a hot chocolate fan, the images of the Starbuck's got me craving something sweet and chocolaty. "One cup of Cappuccino, please!"

Great hub. Voted up. And congrats on the HOTD award.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

johndnathan - Oh I'm sure you will. I visit the McKinney/Frisco area. I will have to look for "The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf" next time I'm there.

John D Nathan from Dallas, Texas. USA on November 29, 2012:

Of course I have "The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf", which is probably the best coffee and tea I've ever had, just a mile from my place, so I think I'll be all right.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Caribou Coffee's headquarters are in MN so I bet it was easy to stumble across one of their shops. I'm starting to see more and more of them opening in the Chicago area. They do have 500 locations; maybe they'll open one in Dallas.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Pinkchic18 - I did a little checking for you and a tall hot chocolate from Starbucks has 22mg of caffeine whereas a tall brewed coffee has about 260mg of caffeine. So all you have to do is just order about 12 hot chocolates for the same caffeine fix :)

John D Nathan from Dallas, Texas. USA on November 29, 2012:

I got to sample Caribou Coffee when I visited Minneapolis, and love it dearly. After I got back home I learned there is sadly no Caribou Coffee anywhere near Dallas, Texas.

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on November 29, 2012:

I'm in love with starbucks, though I've never gone there for hot chocolate. I need the caffeine!! lol

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Gail that's really nice of you to say all that and to stop by and tell me so. You can't miss with Ghirardelli and they have a variety of flavors too (but plain chocolate is all I need). Thanks again.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

moonlake - That's what I wanted to know when I took the lid off my McDonald's hot chocolate, "What's the deal?" I have to have whipped cream. I like the sweetness it adds and the cool mixed with the hot. Thanks for your comment and vote.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Thanks Denise. I appreciate you stopping back by to offer congratulations.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Thanks Nora. I see you prefer DD coffee to Starbucks in one of your Hubs. I'm not a coffee drinker, but to me there's nothing like a cup of hot tea to begin each day and a cup of hot chocolate occasionally in the winter.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on November 29, 2012:

Came back to wish you congratulations on getting HOTD recognition for this professionally done hub.

This is a great example of how delightful photos and specific comparisons through use of tables can make a review stand out from the pack!

Also, thanks for your tips about using skim milk and Ghirardelli when making hot chocolate at home. Will have to try it.

Hub Hugs,

Gail

moonlake from America on November 29, 2012:

Congrats on Hub of the Day. I have only had McDonald's hot chocolate but what's the deal with them not putting whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle, that's my favorite part. We don't have any of the other places available here just McDonald's I'll have to try Starbucks when we do our Christmas shopping in a bigger city. Voted up.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on November 29, 2012:

Congratulations on your HOTD award-a great selection!

Nora411 from Chicago, IL on November 29, 2012:

Great article!! I love DD coffee and HC! :)

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Thanks summerberrie. I hope anyone who enjoys a good cup of hot chocolate every now and then finds this information useful. There's nothing worse than ordering some and being served a cup of brown water. I'm glad you liked the pictures too. The snowy scene in the first one is from my backyard last winter and it reminds me that winter and all the good things that come with it, is on its way. Every time I see the photo of the Starbucks hot chocolate I want to get in my car and go get more!

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Junaid - I'm glad you enjoyed this hot chocolate Hub enough to make you want some. Thanks for your comment.

summerberrie on November 29, 2012:

A great hub all the way around. Useful information and beautiful pictures. Congrats on the HOTD. Well done.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

RTalloni - It is a tough life, I know :) but it had to be done. Thanks for your comment and kind words.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

intenpete - Yes it is! I'm glad I inspired you to try Caribou's hot chocolate.

Junaid Ghani Durrani from Karachi, Pakistan on November 29, 2012:

Very Nice Hub, I really enjoyed your writing style and research you put forward for different chocolate deals. It made my mouth watery.

RTalloni on November 29, 2012:

A hot chocolate tour? Tough life… ;) Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for a super evaluation of these brands! Well done in every way.

Peter V from At the Beach in Florida on November 29, 2012:

It is always important to know where to get a good cup of hot chocolate! I have not tried Caribou Coffee hot chocolate but after reading this I will certainly give it a try next time I see one. Great Hub!

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Thanks Cyndi10. I had a lot of fun taking the hot chocolate photos and picking out which ones to use, but even more fun taste-testing. I'm glad you liked the comparison.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Sarah - I have to say I'm not that big of a fan of white chocolate; it tastes a bit like sour milk to me, but how interesting that you don't like it either but find Dunkin' Donuts white hot chocolate amazing. I see they also have a mint hot chocolate too. Thanks for your comment.

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on November 29, 2012:

Wonderfully written review with great visuals to match. I love hot chocolate and it is nice to have a comparison. Congrats on Hub of the Day.

Sarah AtHome on November 29, 2012:

Great hub! I also appreciated your inclusion of the nutritional information. While I agree with most of the commenters that Starbucks has great cocoa, the best I've tried is the white hot chocolate from Dunkins. As a Seattle native, it pains me to say that! I don't even like white chocolate normally, but the white hot chocolate from Dunkins is amazing!

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

cclitgirl - Searching for a Starbucks is a bit of an oxymoron, at least where I live. Off the top of my head, I can come up with at least five Starbucks located within several miles of where I live. But that's not a bad thing. I'm glad you liked this Hub. Thanks for your comment.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on November 29, 2012:

Congrats on HOTD - well deserved! Now you've got me craving hot chocolate. I am going to have to search for a Starbucks today. Hehee. Awesome hub and I had a hunch that either the coffee house or Starbucks would win out the chains - they specialize in gourmet drinks, so the results weren't surprising. :)

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

healthwealthmusic - Doesn't that photo of the melting whipped cream in the Starbucks hot chocolate just make you want a cup? It is a bit of a treat though. Normally for a hot drink I have hot tea which is virtually calorie-less, so a Starbucks hot chocolate is a nice change every now and then. Thanks for your comment.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Over four-hundred calories is a lot for a cup of hot chocolate, I think Caribou almost needs an extra small size. I'm going to give McDonald's a second chance because the hot chocolate itself was very good. I was so bummed that they left the whipped cream off.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

You know Glimmer Twin Fan, it was a tough "assignment" but someone had to do it. Thanks for the kind words.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

leahlefler - Caribou Coffee is based out of MN and I see they have a few locations in the Pittsburgh area, but not yet New York. Global-Chica commented earlier that they are located in D.C. So be on the lookout for a CC as they do seem to be growing. What's nice about Caribou Coffee is that many of them have a fireplace so you can cozy up to the fire there with a good cup of hot chocolate, coffee or tea.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 29, 2012:

Thanks vespawoolf. At the moment, Caribou Coffee has 500 locations, but seem to be rapidly expanding. They're in a few countries besides the U.S. (Turkey, Kuwait, UAE) but sadly, not Peru where you are.

Ruth R. Martin from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York on November 29, 2012:

Thank you for breaking down all the different locations for getting hot chocolate! I will now know where to get my next cup when I decide I need a treat :) Form your descriptions - I believe I will pick Starbucks! great and honest review - awesome job!

Your Cousins from Atlanta, GA on November 29, 2012:

I love hot chocolate, but 410 calories for a cup of Caribou is too rich for me! Think I'll try the McDonald's and make sure they add the whipped cream. Delicious HOTD.

Claudia Mitchell on November 29, 2012:

Awesome review and I bet it was hard doing the research ;-). Your photos are great as are the write ups. I think I'll have to go get some hot chocolate today. Congrats on your HOTD.

Leah Lefler from Western New York on November 29, 2012:

Starbucks definitely makes a good cup of hot cocoa. I wish we had a Caribou in my town - I'd love to try it! There is nothing better than a rich cup of hot chocolate on a snowy, wintry day. I love your pictures - they make me want to cozy up in front of the fireplace with a cup of cocoa!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on November 29, 2012:

Congrats on HOTD! I'm sorry to say I've never heard of Caribou, but you can be sure when I find it that I'll be trying their hot chocolate! This is a great review and I enjoyed reading it.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 26, 2012:

Hi Gail. Thanks for the kind words about the review and photos. The first one was actually a lot of fun to create. I used to make the same Nestle low fat, low sugar hot chocolate at home and then I topped it with low fat whipped cream; and it was virtually low-taste, if not no-taste :) These days if I make it at home I use skim milk and Ghirardelli hot chocolate, but I have to say, I'm really looking forward to having another cup of the Starbucks and Caribou Coffee hot chocolate during the winter. And seeing that our winter seems to go clear through the end of March, I have plenty of time. Thanks for your comment, votes, and sharing. ~Kristin

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on November 26, 2012:

What a professional review and the photos were awesome, especially the first one!

I love hot chocolate but usually only drink the low fat, low sugar variety at home, made from a Nestle's packet. It warms me up, but is far from a decadent experience.

Enjoyed your review, however, and though I never go to Starbucks, I might go once just to try their hot chocolate on a cold day.

Voted up across the board except for funny and shared with followers and on FB.

Good luck in the Rigorous Review Contest.

Hub Hugs,

Gail

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 25, 2012:

Jill - Thanks for your comment and votes and I'm certainly glad you enjoyed it.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 25, 2012:

twoseven - I often have a love/hate relationship with nutritional information. I want to see it, but I know it may spoil a good thing. I do like how a lot of the websites let you pick and choose the ingredients and calculate the nutritional value for exactly what you would order.

Jill Spencer from United States on November 25, 2012:

Love your layout. It made your hub really easy to read. Don't you wish you could have added more than one rating box? Enjoyed it! Voted up, useful and interesting. All the best, Jill

twoseven from Madison, Wisconsin on November 24, 2012:

Great hub! I especially appreciate having all the nutritional info. I have always loved starbucks hot chocolate, and it looks like I am not alone!

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 24, 2012:

I know what you mean divacratus - I've been wanting hot chocolate all week after working on this Hub about it and seeing the pictures over and over. The melting whipped cream in the Starbucks cup gets to me the most.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 24, 2012:

Rebecca - There can definitely be a big difference in calories between hot chocolate from different restaurants. What's nice is that many of their websites allow you to select your ingredients (i.e. non-fat, 2% or whole milk; whipped cream or no whipped cream) and then calculate the calories.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 24, 2012:

Thanks Denise. It's too bad you can't enjoy the creaminess of a milk-based hot chocolate, but good that you've found one you like. At home I like the Ghirardelli brand of hot chocolate which comes in a variety of flavors, but I'm not sure how it would be with water. Thanks for your comment, votes and sharing.

Kalpana Iyer from India on November 24, 2012:

Nice information! I have tried hot chocolate from Starbucks and I've loved it, but got to try the others - especially the one from Caribou. The pics made me crave for a cuppa.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on November 24, 2012:

Great job giving us lots of information on the hot chocolates to go. It just turned warm here and this really makes me want hot chocolate I want to go in my pajamas so I choose a good drive-thru. Considering the calorie difference, I think I will stick to MacDonalds or Dunckin Donuts. I will try the other two later!

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on November 24, 2012:

What a great review topic! You picked a timely product, for sure. :)

I don't drink Starbucks b/c it's made with milk,and it would upset my stomach. So, my choice has been the IHOP h.c. which hits the spot. It doesn't upset my stomach, so I'm thinking it is hot water and chocolate with PLENTY of whipped cream, lol.

Otherwise, I drink Swiss Miss French Vanilla flavor. Rated UP/Awesome. sharing.

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 23, 2012:

That's too funny eHealer. I would love to do the same, but it's so cold and windy today where I am near Chicago that I don't even want to leave the house. If I do leave later though, I am definitely going to go to get a Starbucks hot chocolate. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. I had fun taking them, and of course drinking the hot chocolate.

Deborah from Las Vegas on November 23, 2012:

Ktrapp, I want you to know I had to come back and write this after opening your hub because I had to go get hot chocalate!!! The photos are stunning and so inviting! Great work and very informative!!

Kristin Trapp (author) from Illinois on November 23, 2012:

Thanks Global-Chica. You definitely have to go to Caribou Coffee! The locations near me all have a nice woodsy feel that just makes you want to sit back and kick your feet up - which you can easily do since they have chairs and a coffee table with newspapers strewn about, inviting you to stay. Not only was the hot chocolate one of the best, but the staff was so friendly and knowledgeable. I would love to hear back if you get the chance to give it a try. Thanks for your comment and compliment on the photos too.

Anna from New York, NY on November 23, 2012:

I recently moved to Washington, DC and have a Caribou Coffee by me and although I've been getting hot chocolate from Starbucks, which I loe, your review makes me eager to try Caribou Coffees. Thanks for the awesome review. Love the layout and photos!