The Good: Aroma, Taste
The Bad: Environmentally irresponsible packaging, Expense
The Basics: Very chocolatey, but not quite enough to satisfy a dark chocolate fan, Land O' Lakes' Chocolate Supreme hot cocoa mix is more average than extraordinary.
In a perfect world, hot chocolate would actually taste like chocolate and fans of darker chocolate would be easily satisfied by a real dark chocolate hot chocolate blend. I tend to forget that when people make claims about something being "more chocolatey" that they do not necessarily mean "darker" chocolate. I reference this at the outset of my review of the Land O Lakes Chocolate Supreme hot cocoa mix because if it were less expensive, this is more the flavor that ought to be the standard hot chocolate flavor. It is not a revelation of chocolate flavor that is likely to change minds and it is certainly not a supreme level of chocolate that will make dark chocolate lovers feel like they have found the drink of their dreams, but it is satisfying and it tastes good. And, for those who can afford it, Chocolate Supreme becomes the staple hot chocolate. But for the rest of us, it is an occasional treat and it is not an especially decadent one at that.
My wife bought me Chocolate Supreme hot cocoa for review for the winter holiday and I've been so backlogged on food and drink reviews that it was only this morning that I got around to trying it. My wife has been very supportive of my reviews in this way and provided me with the Land O Lakes Chocolate & Mint Cocoa (reviewed here!) and Chocolate & Caramel Cocoa (reviewed here!) before this! My expectations coming in were that this chocolate drink would be delicious and taste like dark chocolate. I was ready to be both stimulated and blown away. I was stimulated, but not overwhelmed with a sensational chocolate flavor that I felt I had to have again.
The Chocolate Supreme hot cocoa mix is part of the Land O' Lakes Cocoa Classics premium hot cocoa line. The mix comes in a 1 1/4 oz. sealed foil package and come a dozen per box. Each 1 1/4 oz. packet is a single serving and these bear a relatively high price tag virtually everywhere I have found them. They tend to run approximately three for two dollars. This is expensive when compared to other make-at-home products, especially when compared to other basic hot cocoas.
Ease Of Preparation
The Cocoa Classics Chocolate Supreme hot cocoa mix is ridiculously simple to make. The cocoa is rather enduring and the packet my wife purchased for me in autumn of 2010 had an expiration date of January 27, 2013. Because each packet is individually sealed and has some artificial preservatives in is, this is likely to last virtually forever unopened. A single serving is the packet and six oz. of water. There is no measuring of the product involved!
As a result, preparation is ridiculously simple. The top of the envelope has a perforated edge and one need simply tear open the top, which is quite easy, and pour the contents of the packet into a mug that is at least eight ounces large. Then, simply pour hot water - near boiling, but not actually boiling as boiling water cooks the ingredients as opposed to simply dissolving them - over the powder and stir. Stir the powder until there are no blobs of chocolate powder visible in the water or giving resistance from the bottom. The beverage will have a light brown color to it and will be uniformly smooth and creamy.
Land O' Lakes Cocoa Classics Chocolate Supreme hot cocoa has an appropriately strong chocolate scent to it, but there is something more to the aroma than just chocolate. In fact, when I first added the water to my packet of Chocolate Supreme, I was surprised by how familiar the scent was. Chocolate Supreme smells surprisingly like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. There is an undertone in the bouquet of Chocolate Supreme of processed peanut butter. With that in mind, I took my first tastes of Chocolate Supreme hot cocoa.
The scent actually prepared me for one of the eccentricities of the Chocolate Supreme's taste, which was a dryness that I associate with peanut butter. Outside the dry aspect of the taste, Chocolate Supreme hot cocoa tastes almost exactly like warmed brownie batter. It has a distinctly chocolate flavor and it is delicious. But it is more like a concentrated milk chocolate than a dark chocolate, so instead of having a richer, deeper chocolate flavor, it tastes more like one is drinking more chocolate per sip. As a result, it is still a fairly mild chocolate flavor, at least for fans of dark chocolate.
Land O' Lakes Cocoa Classics is a hot cocoa mix and therefore not the most nutritious things ever, though the Chocolate Supreme flavor could be far less nutritious than it is. While I am used to reviewing things like all natural teas where the ingredients are all easily pronounceable and recognizable, the Chocolate Supreme hot cocoa has a few ingredients that sound more like a chemistry experiment than a food product. The primary ingredients are sugar, nonfat dry milk and whey. It is not vegan compliant as a result. The chocolate flavor arguably comes from the Dutch-processed cocoa that is high up on the ingredients list.
Obviously, Chocolate Supreme is pretty high in sugars. In each cup of Chocolate Supreme Cocoa Classics, there are 140 calories, twenty-five of which are from fat. There are three grams of saturated fat, so while one might be tempted to curl up and enjoy this while resting, they are likely to pay for it later on! While there is no cholesterol, a consumer gets 11% of their recommended daily allowance of salt out of a single packet of this beverage! There is a little protein, but not enough to live off this. In other words, this product is not a nutritious food product. But it is good!
This product contains soy and milk and because there are no notations on it, one must assume it is not Kosher or gluten-free.
So long as one leaves the Chocolate Supreme Cocoa Classic powder in its packet, it ought to stay usable. One assumes it will last quite a while and dissolve appropriately when one attempts to use it. The packets, for those of us who consider the environmental impact of such things, are terribly wasteful and expensive. The foil/plastic wrappers are not recyclable anywhere I've been. In bulk, I tend to prefer canisters which reduce such waste, but this cocoa is not available in that form.
Cleanup is very easy. If the product spills while dumping it into the mug, simply wipe it up or brush it up with a dry or damp cloth. If it has already been reconstituted with water into hot cocoa, simply wipe it up. Light fabrics are likely to stain if this gets on them, in which case consult your fabric care guide to clean it up.
The Land O' Lakes Cocoa Classics Chocolate Supreme is good and this is what chocolate flavor in a hot beverage ought to be, but it is too expensive to recommend as the staple tea. Instead, I suspect most consumers will take the minimal disappointment of slightly less chocolate flavor over the added expense of stocking up on this flavor cocoa.
For other hot chocolate mixes and hot beverages, please check out my reviews of:
Kahlua Mocha Coffee
Nestles Chocolate Mint Cocoa
Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows
For other food and beverage reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.