Hot Cocoa vs Hot Chocolate

What is the difference between hot cocoa vs hot chocolate? Which one is better? Both drinks are derived from cacao seeds, and they often look similar. They both can be topped with fresh whipped cream and plump marshmallows. Well, traditionally, hot cocoa and hot chocolate are not the same. Continue reading below to see the distinctions!

In this article, we will discuss about:
– What hot cocoa is,
– What hot chocolate is,
– The differences between hot cocoa and hot chocolate,
– The flavor comparison of hot cocoa and hot chocolate, and
– Which drink that is generally more recommended for you.

What is Hot Cocoa?
As a matter of fact, at the moment of this writing, there is no legal definition for hot cocoa and hot chocolate in the United States. Which means, some random person is basically able to label any drink as hot cocoa or hot chocolate. So, in practical terms, the distinctions between hot cocoa vs hot chocolate greatly depend on who is making or advertising the beverages. See also: Cocoa Powder vs Chocolate.

However, there are notable traditional differences. Traditionally, hot cocoa refers to a thin and sweetened beverage, which is made from cocoa powder, milk, and sugar. Furthermore, according to The Kitchn, hot cocoa often has additional flavorings, such as spices, vanilla, or liqueur – although these additional flavorings are optional and not obligatory.

What is Hot Chocolate?
On the other hand, hot chocolate is sometimes also called sipping chocolate or drinking chocolate. Traditionally, hot chocolate is made from real chocolate that is melted. Usually, the chocolate bar is ground or shaved into fine pieces so that it can melt more quickly.

You may make hot chocolate from any kind of chocolate. You may use milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or even white chocolate. After the chocolate is melted, you can add hot water, milk, and cream. Usually, additional sugar or flavoring is not added because the chocolate already contains some.

Hot cocoa usually has a thinner texture. This is because the drink is made from cocoa powder, which contains little to no fat. Cocoa powder contains mostly cocoa solids, which produce the flavor but not the texture.

On the other hand, hot chocolate typically has a rich and thick texture. This is because chocolate bars often have higher amounts of cocoa butter. As the effect, the fat content is much higher. The fat content is responsible for creating the distinctive texture.

The flavor is also different. Hot cocoa is usually sweeter due to using higher amounts of sugar and an additional flavoring. Also, if an additional flavoring is used, the drink may have another flavor on top of chocolate.

Hot chocolate is usually less sweet and bitterer. This is very noticeable if you use dark or bittersweet chocolate. The chocolate flavor is more prominent.

Hot Cocoa vs Hot Chocolate
Hot CocoaHot Chocolate
- Traditionally made from cocoa powder, milk, and sugar- Traditionally made from melted chocolate, milk, and cream
- Use additional sugar or flavoring- Doesn’t use additional sugar or flavoring
- Thinner texture- Richer, thicker texture
- Sweeter flavor- Less sweet, bitterer

Although “hot cocoa” and “hot chocolate” are often used interchangeably, there are some traditional differences. Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder with milk and sugar. It may use additional flavorings. Hence, the texture is thinner and the flavor is sweeter. Meanwhile, hot chocolate is made from melted chocolate with hot water, milk, and cream. Hot chocolate is richer and thicker, with a bitterer flavor.