Mugs Coffee Lounge:
1033 S. Taft Hill Road
If you like your drinks served with heart, head over to Mugs Coffee Lounge where the general goal is to serve your drink to you with love and affection.
“Every drink we make is about how the customer feels walking away,” said Brandon Laird, a shift supervisor.
Mugs offers traditional hot chocolate and a deadly rich shifting hot chocolate.
The shifting hot chocolate is very rich, dark, and creamy. Laird compared the texture to when a child has hot chocolate with marshmallows and lets them melt completely and mixes it up. If you love dark chocolate, this is the drink for you, but if you’re not keen on super rich, you probably want to say away from that one.
But no worries, Mugs also offers a traditional hot chocolate made with hormone free, local milk, chocolate syrup, and a bit of vanilla. The vanilla makes the drink taste a little different than you would expect from a normal hot chocolate.
Wired Bean Coffee House:
1240 W. Elizabeth St.
The unspoken theme of Wired Bean seems to be “have it your way,” as employees promise that they can make just about any drink you want. Whether you want it blended, iced, heated, or without espresso beans, they can make it. Hot chocolates allow you to put any type of syrup into the mix.
For my taste test, we made a Snickers hot chocolate, and I had the original as well.
The Snickers added caramel and a nut flavor, to give it kind of a toffee nut taste. It was delicious! The traditional hot chocolate was made with a rich, thick chocolate. Again, all drinks come topped with whipped cream and are pretty hot for the first couple sips. Wired Bean also is locally owned and uses local milk, which receives rave reviews. They even claim that a woman who works at another coffee shop goes to Wired because the milk makes such a difference.
Starry Night Coffee Company
112 S. College Ave.
At Starry Night, the drink is made perfect by the extensive amount of detail paid to the steaming process. Every employee goes through a course to learn how to steam milk properly. Apparently, if you steam milk properly, it makes the drink fluffy the whole way through, and brings out the sugars in the milk. The art also focuses on getting it perfectly hot, without actually burning the milk.
I tried the Mexican Aztec hot chocolate and the traditional. The Mexican hot chocolate was my personal favorite of all the hot chocolates sampled. It has a couple spices in it, which makes it taste like hot cinnamon chocolate. I strongly recommend it if you want some hot chocolate with a twist.
The traditional was very good as well, and was made with Ghirardelli chocolate. Starry Night also has home-made whipped cream with a bit of vanilla added. It’s very good.
172 N. College Ave.
Starbucks, the proclaimed guru of coffee, also knows how to make a pretty great hot chocolate. Like Wired Bean, Starbucks will make just about any type of hot chocolate you wish by adding flavored syrups. I tried the peppermint hot chocolate, and the traditional.
Peppermint was a knock out. It has great flavor, not too strong, which reminds me of drinking some sort of chocolate mint candy, like Andes. Mint lovers should definitely give it a try.
The traditional hot chocolate is very good as well, and probably my favorite of the “traditionals.” Some might find it a bit too rich, but I think it was just right. Not too weak, but not as rich as some of the other drinks I tried. The whipped cream portion is generous as well.
And unlike the other coffee shops, Starbucks is everywhere, so it isn’t very hard to find one close to you.
Staff writer Michelle Zilis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.