The Best… Instant Hot Chocolate Brands?


December has officially begun! No longer do you have to hide your jingle bells with shame anymore, ‘tis the season to be jolly’ – so blast Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas’ from morning until night and drink your holiday drinks with pride. I armed myself with £1.25 in loose change at the big Sainsbury’s in Portswood to determine ‘The Best… Instant Hot Chocolate Brands’, for the good of Southampton, and perhaps mankind. 

THE WORST… Options , White Chocolate

Size – Small (11g)

Price (1 sachet) – 40p

I really wanted to like this flavour. When I poured the powder out in my seasonal mug of choice, it looked like gently fallen snow.  Too bad, then, that when I poured in the hot water, this off-white snow colour turned into a rather aggressive yellow shade. You would think that this would be the worst element, but no – it smelled so strongly of butter, I had to make sure that in my anticipation for hot chocolate, I hadn’t just stolen a flatmate’s butter and poured water on it. Sadly, I had not. Plugging my nose, I tasted it. Please be warned, this ‘hot chocolate’ drink has no hint of chocolate taste, but rather resembles the Jellybean flavour, popcorn. So bad, so so bad.

Cadbury Highlights  (Bournville)

Size – Small (11g)

Price – 30p

I bought this sachet not entirely understanding what Bournville chocolate flavour was, instead relying on the logo, which was a Cadbury’s hot air balloon. I thought ‘ooh, that looks fun’. It was not fun. It was dark chocolate. Now, I must state that I have an unrefined palate, I am sad to say that my taste buds still remain at the Kid Table, I am no adult. So sadly I did not enjoy this bitter flavour, but I imagine a future me, perhaps at age 30 – sipping on this while wearing reading glasses and talking about ‘the economy’. Yet, for now, it’s a mega ‘no’ from me.

Options, Orange

Size – Small (11g)

Price – 40p

I fully expected to hate this hot chocolate flavour. It smelled terrible, like a chemical clone of what orange and chocolate actually smell like, and I fully expected the taste to go the same way as the Options ‘White Chocolate’ flavour. Alas, this hot chocolate actually tasted annoyingly good. It was very sweet, with a slight tingly aftertaste.


Size – Large (25g)

Price – 30p

This hot chocolate was pretty good. It tasted very chocolatey. Unlike the other brands, there were no added flavours other than the chocolate, which was a positive, as I feel like the chocolate element would overpower anything else anyway. The only negative was that it didn’t mix very well. Even when it was overwhelmingly chocolatey, there were still large chunks of wet powder floating at the top, refusing to diffuse no matter how much I stirred it.

THE BEST… Cadbury Classic

Size – Large (28g)

Price – 25p

It turns out you cannot beat a classic… or what markets itself as ‘a classic’. This hot chocolate tastes exactly how it’s supposed to taste, and you cannot exactly fault it for being that way. Sure, it doesn’t have, “hints of dark chocolate,” or, “fruity undertones,” but those elements are better suited for wine connoisseurs. The Cadbury Classic is simply a nice chocolatey taste that isn’t overpowering and mixes well. Plus, the size and price beat out all competitors in every way, shape and form.

So there you have it, Cadbury Classic is best. If you dispute my judgement, do head down to the big Sainsbury’s in Portswood with £1.65 and try out these brands for yourself.

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