Whether its Starbucks or Costa, Hot Chocolate is my go-to on any cafe menu.

Steaming hot chocolatey goodness, coated in skooshy cream (I'm Scottish) and topped with sweet and melting marshmallows - it just can't be beaten. 

But with so many major coffee shop chains offering the classic hot drink - not to mention the abundance of festive spin-offs - how can we possibly know who does the best one? 

That's my cue.

I (too enthusiastically) volunteered as tribute to taste test hot chocolates for some of the UK's biggest brands from Starbucks and Costa to Pret A Manger and Caffè Nero.

@uktoday_ I found the best hot chocolate between #starbucks #costa #pretamanger #caffenero ♬ Hanging Lanterns - Kalaido

My dentist was less than pleased.

I ordered a medium (or regular depending on the store's offering) takeaway hot chocolate from each place.

Here's what I thought based on its taste as well as how much it cost and whether I thought it was worth the money based on what you got with it.

Enjoy and let us know what your favourite hot chocolate is in the comments.


Score - 8/10

Cost  - £4.35

I wasn't expecting a lot from Costa's Hot Chocolate but I was pleasantly surprised. 

As a child and teen, I spent a lot of time in this particular chain and I always found its hot chocolate bland and too milky.

Even its whipped cream was a bit sickly for me but I'm happy to report that I was proven wrong.

This time around, it hit just the right spot.

There was plenty of chocolatey flavour without it being too sugary. 

At £4.35, it's the most expensive out of the lot but overall I would say it's worth the extra pennies.

There's not a substantial difference in price compared to its rival and the cost does include both cream and marshmallows.

Caffè Nero

Score - 6/10

Score - £3.50

Truthfully, Caffè Nero's regular Hot Chocolate was nothing special. In fact, I was a little disappointed.

I have always considered Caffè Nero's version to be among the best - it's always been the most chocolatey (to give you the technical term).

Also, I've always enjoyed the chocolate chips they used to top the whipped cream with rather than marshmallows.

It was perfectly drinkable - if a bit milky - which I guess fits its £3.50 price point.

However, this price didn't include any toppings - you need to pay another 50p for cream for example.

For this reason, I won't be in a rush to try it again.

Pret A Manger


Score - 4/10

Cost - £3.45

I'm struggling to find many good things to say about Pret's Hot Chocolate I'm afraid.

I'd never had one from Pret before so I had no idea about what to expect. 

It was ready extremely quickly - too quickly - which was immediately unnerving. 

Don't get me wrong, speedy service earns it brownie points but it did make me question, how much effort and attention had been taken into its preparation. 

Ultimately I only drank half of my Hot Chocolate, throwing the rest into a bin on Edinburgh's Princes Street.

I hate throwing any kind of food away but it was so flavourless, I simply couldn't taste any chocolate at all.

Although it was warm, it reminded me of the hot milk that you would give to a child to knock them out before bedtime.

If that's what you're looking for? Great. If you're looking for a chocolatey Ho Cho, keep walking.



Score - 9/10

Cost - £3.80

I can't really fault Starbucks' Hot Chocolate.

In my opinion, it scores well across the board. It lands with a good and present chocolatey taste without being too sweet and sickly. 

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At the same time, it's a good price at £3.80 - especially compared to what feels like the rest of Starbucks' menu at the moment.

The price also includes the cream which was an added bonus and makes it the cheapest out of the lot - especially when you consider the add ons.

Those looking for a reliable, good-tasting winter treat, don't need to look any further.