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The Dartmouth
May 24, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

The Definitive Ranking of Hanover Hot Chocolates

One writer shares her quest to find Hanover’s best hot chocolate.


Hot chocolate is the best — and only — gift that cold weather has to offer. Luckily, in the Hanover area, there is no lack of options for getting a toasty taste of pure goodness. The only problem is that all hot chocolate recipes are not created equal. With unequal ratios of milk to chocolate and a lack of quality whipped cream and marshmallow combo, the hot chocolate you receive can lead to disappointment. Luckily, after a week of intense research, I have been able to rank all of the relevant hot chocolate spots within walking distance using a specialized hot chocolate algorithm created by experts (me). This list will help you decide where your next trip to get hot chocolate will be and expose some of the most disappointing realities in the Hanover hot chocolate market. 

1) Umpleby’s Bakery & Cafe  

Umpleby’s does a lot of things right. Their sandwiches are to die for, and their curry pastries are sometimes the only thing that keeps me going during a rough week. But unfortunately, their hot chocolate can be described in one word: nutty. Nutty is a flavor that doesn’t usually exist alongside the elements of milk and chocolate, but somehow, it was all I could taste after buying a small cup. My best guess is that the mix the cafe uses has a hazelnut — emphasis on the nut — base that doesn’t mix well with warm milk. Definitely stick to their coffee, unless you enjoy the taste of bad peanut butter soaked in milk (if you do enjoy this, please stay at least five feet away from me at all times). 

Final rating: 1/10 

2)  The Nest 

The Nest has some of the best coffee cake in Hanover, in my opinion. But unfortunately, their hot chocolate is not up to par. The service was fast, and I was happy to receive a piping hot cup on a minus 17 degree day. The only problem was the ratio of milk to hot chocolate — one of the key issues with many of the hot chocolate places in Hanover. It was as if I ordered a cup of hot milk rather than a chocolatey delight. There was absolutely not a hint of sweetness in the mix, and it tasted like the entirety of my week four: bland. 

Final rating: 3/10 

3) My Brigadeiro 

Like The Nest, My Brigadeiro has an amazing assortment of pastries and artisanal chocolates available at reasonable prices for Hanover. But the ratio strikes again — My Brigadeiro’s hot chocolate is more milk than chocolate, which was questionable considering that one-half of the store is dedicated to selling pure chocolate. Out of desperation, I took the piece of chocolate included with every drink order and dropped it in my cup, hoping that it would somehow bring back flavor. It did not, and I lost out on eating my chocolate. 

Final rating: 4/10 

4) Foco 

To my surprise, Foco does in fact have hot chocolate, and it’s actually not that bad. Situated right next to the tea station, Foco offers Hershey’s hot chocolate mix to thirsty students. While the mix is slightly sweeter than expected — Hershey should have been my clue — it is still a solid option for Foco. Plus, it’s basically free so what’s not to love? Just make sure to stop pressing the button at the halfway point of your cup, because it will keep going after you press stop — and that may lead to a slight overflow that will burn your hands off. 

Final rating: 7/10 

5) Starbucks 

Starbucks is a well-oiled machine when it comes to preparing even the most bizarre of drinks (the people that insist upon ordering off the “secret menu,” I’m looking at you). Naturally, every variation of their hot chocolate hits the spot. The ratio, hea and quality of their mix is nothing to scoff at. But when it comes to the intangible, Starbucks’ hot chocolate does not taste like it was made with love. You think I’m joking, but there’s just something about how standardized the chain is that takes away from the drink’s perfection. I’ll never hate the taste of capitalism, but sometimes when I’m looking for hot chocolate I prefer something a little more homemade. 

Final rating: 8/10

6) Novack 

Although Novack’s offerings are similar to Starbucks, their proximity to all my classes gives it a bump in the hot chocolate hierarchy.  However, their rating depends on 1) how horrendous the line is and 2) the stability of the espresso machine, which is beginning to resemble the state of a McDonald’s ice cream machine. 

Final rating: 8.5/10  

7) Dirt Cowboy Cafe  

While the hours of Dirt can be as confusing as figuring out one’s D plan, it was all worth it to receive some of the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted. The ratio? Perfect. The chocolate is balanced out by the milk to create a not-too-sweet, not-too-mild cup of deliciousness. If you ask for the added whipped cream and marshmallows (a MUST), the flavors blend together into a gooey delight that had me wishing I got a large instead of a medium. The cup is at a Goldilocks temperature and will survive the long walk back to whichever dorm you currently reside in. Buy this drink after a terrible midterm to make your day exponentially better. 

Final rating: 10/10