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Posted on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

The best hot chocolate in Ann Arbor

By Jessica Webster


The hot chocolate at Zingerman's Coffee is made with Callebaut chocolate drops and natural creamline non-homogenized milk.

Melanie Maxwell |

Someone somewhere decided that Jan. 31 should be celebrated as National Hot Chocolate Day, and who are we to argue? As the snow, ice, wind and cold have walloped the area this morning, it seems like the perfect day to settle in with a hot mug of chocolate.

Yesterday we asked you, our readers, to share your favorite hot chocolate destinations, and your answers were (predictably) diverse. We've compiled them—plus a few more—into a poll, and you can vote for your favorites after the jump.


My kid digs hot chocolate.

Jessica Webster |

When prepping for this all-important food holiday, I also turned to my favorite hot chocolate connoisseur for his opinion on the hot chocolate scene.

"I think this requires more research, Mom."

So my 10-year-old and I spent Christmas break hitting every hot chocolate destination we could think of. Starbucks was immediately discarded as a contender. (The chocolate flavor was too strong but "not chocolatey enough," and the baristas always make it scalding hot.) Great Lakes Chocolate and Coffee held a lot of promise—more than a few friends have raved about their hot chocolate and mochas—but the ratio of chocolate to milk was "too overpowering."

In the end, my little hot chocolate expert narrowed it down to three: two local shops and a surprisingly good national chain.

The best hot chocolate in Ann Arbor, according to Jacob:

Zingerman's Coffee. Made with Callebaut 67 percent chocolate drops, melted into steamed Calder Dairy milk. This south side coffee destination's manager Anya Pomykala told me that most people order the hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, but Jacob wholeheartedly recommends the housemade marshmallow. ($3.00/$3.75)

Here's Pomykala walking us through the making of this delicious treat:

Coming in at second place on Jacob's list of the best hot chocolate in Ann Arbor is the Mindo hot chocolate at Morgan & York. That's right, though Zingerman's Next Door's Mindo Hot Chocolate made Food & Wine's list of the best hot chocolate in the country, my discriminating 10-year-old believes that Morgan & York has the leg up on this one, and they charge less for it. The wine and cheese shop also makes a good hot chocolate with steamed Calder Dairy chocolate milk. Bonus: the shop also stocks croissants and other goodies from The Pastry Peddler and (occasionally) Cafe Japon. ($2.50)

Our best hot chocolate list is rounded out by a trip to Caribou Coffee. A couple of years ago, the chain switched from a syrup to making hot chocolate with melted chocolate nibs. They offer hot chocolates in either dark, white or milk chocolate, and are careful to regulate the temperature of the drink when it is intended for a child. ($3.09/$3.49/$3.79)

And now you tell us. We've compiled your choices for best hot chocolate in Ann Arbor in the poll below, and added a few favorites of our own. Vote for your favorite hot chocolate destination, or comment and tell us what we might have left off.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for Reach her at You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 6:28 a.m.

Looks like the article should have focused on Schakolad...


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

Possibly, though it is clear your comment and subsequent two replies did.

Chester Drawers

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

I can tell you what the worst cup of hot chocolate in Ann Arbor is - the cup of Swiss Miss (made with water, of course) that I am now drinking due to the fact that this article gave me an unbearable craving for some (and I'm just too lazy to venture out).

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

The last time I had hot chocolate? When I was in middle school, I think.. Time for an outing!


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 6:32 a.m.

Hit up Schakolad (dark chocolate w/whole milk) won't be disappointed, Lizzy!


Sun, Feb 3, 2013 : 6:32 a.m.

Hit up Schakolad (dark chocolate w/whole milk) won't be disappointed, Lizzy!


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

Beezy's no longer makes their hot chocolate :(

Jessica Webster

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 5:34 p.m.

Oh. That's news to me. Disappointing. I believe she had been using steamed Calder Dairy hot chocolate.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 5:18 a.m.

I haven't sampled them all, but I like Sweetwaters's hot chocolate a lot.

Kellie Woodhouse

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 4:12 a.m.

I recently discovered Schakolad's mocha. AMAZING. I'll have to give Zingerman's a try.

David Frye

Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 12:35 a.m.

About a decade ago I had the opportunity to go to Torino (aka Turin) in the north of Italy. The hot chocolate there has spoiled me forever -- I've never had its equal anywhere, though I've tried with low-to-moderate success to reproduce the effect at home. Rich, delicious, and thick enough to stand your spoon straight up in it. If only I could find real Torino chocolate here in A2!

Jessica Webster

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

I have never in my life had a cappuccino that has compared to the one I had from a cart in the train station on Rome. I totally understand.


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 12:32 a.m.



Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 11:36 p.m.

Sincere thanks, everyone - now that a winter storm front is buffeting while we're having a roof repair job: I have a craving for hot chocolate! Alas, as one other comment sadly expressed - the Chocolate House on Main St. is closed. But I'm not really deterred because making hot chocolate at home where it can be enjoyed from the comfort of one's own couch is really a winter treat which should never be passed up! And that's a key omission from the poll: I'd guess a substantial number of people actually prefer not going out for their hot chocolate drinks. But they are not represented in your poll.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 11:44 p.m.

I don't understand the last paragraph of your comment. "Nobody makes better hot chocolate than I do, at home." is the first option in the poll and, as of now, the second most popular choice in the poll.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 10:30 p.m.

Holidays restaurant on West Stadium has the best hot chocolate I have ever had.


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 8:20 p.m.

I tried Schakolad Chocolate Factory's dark hot chocolate. It was GREAT. I thought I made the best hot chocolate but theirs was outstanding. I do not work there, I do not own stock in the company, and I do not know anyone who works there. I just know I want more of their chocolate.

Erica Hobbs

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 8:17 p.m.

The best hot chocolate in Ann Arbor was The Chocolate House/Cafe' downtown. They used to have the most amazing dark hot chocolate, I used to go there all the time! I miss that place!


Fri, Feb 1, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

I totally agree. They had the Best. Hot Chocolate. Ever. Ever!


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

My fave is actually Espresso Royale's mint hot chocolate, with soy milk. Delicious!


Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 7:41 p.m.

On January 7, 2013, Scientific American (in their podcast, 60-Second Science) reported on a study (from the Journal of Sensory Studies, October 2012) which showed the color of the cup containing the hot chocolate influences one's perception of its chocolate flavor and (to a lesser extent) the sweetness and chocolate aroma.

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

I can attest to the joys of an orange mug as I own a number of them. Here's is one I received as a gift and would recommend:

Melanie Maxwell

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

I'm not much of a chocolate fan (unheard of, I know!) Perhaps I've been doing it wrong all this time!? Time to find an orange mug...

Jessica Webster

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 : 8:01 p.m.

Isn't that fascinating? We've been meaning to find ourselves an orange mug to see if we can "taste" the difference.