A lot of people ask this question: what is hot chocolate? Hot chocolate is a beverage that is usually served hot that consists of chocolate or cocoa powder, milk or hot water, and sugar. Hot chocolate can also be referred to as hot cocoa, drinking chocolate, or cocoa. Drinks that are referred to as hot chocolate may contain cocoa butter, while drinks referred to as hot cocoa generally do not contain cocoa butter. To better explain this, hot chocolate is made from chocolate bars melted into cream. It is a rich decadent drink. Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, which is chocolate pressed free of all its richness, meaning the fat of cocoa butter. The major difference of the two is the cocoa butter, which makes hot cocoa significantly lower in fat than chocolate while still preserving all the intrinsic health-giving properties of chocolate.
Hot chocolate can be made with dark, semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces and stirred into milk with the addition of sugar. American hot cocoa powder often includes powdered milk or other dairy ingredients so it can make a drink instantly from hot water without using fresh milk.
Chocolate and Cocoa Beans
Some people wonder what chocolate is. Chocolate in its raw form is melon-like pods that grow on 40-60 foot tall trees. These trees are botanically known as “Theobroma cocoa,” which means “food of the gods.” This tropical tree grows is Central America, South America, Africa, and part of Indonesia. The cocoa tree produces a fruit about the size of a pineapple. Inside the fruit the are tree seeds, also known as cocoa beans.
Hot chocolate is now starting to be served in K-Cups to be used with the Keurig machines. Green Mountain has one flavor that is hot cocoa as of right now. The K-Cup hot cocoa from Green Mountain contains 0% lactose content, though it does contain milk, soy, and tree nut products (coconut oil). To get the best hot cocoa, Green Mountain does recommend that their hot cocoa K-Cups be served at an eight-ounce brew level.