Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good Cocoa, A Lot Of Fuss, Ghiardelli Chocolate Mocha Hot Cocoa Mix Is A Lot Of Work For Mixed Results.

The Good: Tastes good, Decent environmental packaging
The Bad: Somewhat expensive, Preparation is a bear.
The Basics: Ghirardelli Chocolate Mocha hot cocoa is good, but not honestly worth all the effort one needs to go through to make it.

As part of my wife's charming of me, she gets me a ridiculous amount of hot cocoa, regardless of the time of year. Generally, I am a fan and there are so many things she has gotten me for enjoyment and review that have been so good that they easily dwarf the failures. And, before she got me the Ghiardelli Chocolate Chocolate Mocha Premium Hot Chocolate, she had had no real outright losers from Ghiardelli. My wife keeps me stocked with the holiday-themed chocolates like the Milk & Pumpkin Spice Caramel Chocolate Squares (reviewed here!). So, when one of the local grocery stores was going out of business and she found Ghiardelli Chocolate Mocha cocoa real cheap, we both had every reason to believe it would be a good buy.

Unfortunately, like a lot of premium hot chocolates, Ghiardelli Chocolate Mocha requires milk to make it into a hot beverage that is anything worth having. This is not a hot cocoa that dissolves in water. As a result, and because of my insistence on not using a microwave for milk for cocoa, Ghiardelli Chocolate Mocha hot chocolate requires a lot of extra preparation time (usually on the order of ten minutes) and frankly, the results are not quite worth the wait.


The Chocolate Mocha hot cocoa mix is part of the Ghiardelli premium hot cocoa line. The mix comes in a 16 oz. cardboard and metal canister. Each canister has about a dozen servings and these bear a relatively high price in the five dollar range. For a single mug of cocoa, this is expensive when compared to other make-at-home products, especially when one factors in the additional cost of the milk.

Ease Of Preparation

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Mocha hot cocoa mix is a pain in the butt to make. The canister has a decent shelf life, which is why I was surprised it was being clearanced. The canister my wife got over a month ago would not expire until the end of 2012. A single serving is four heaping Tablespoons added to eight fluid ounces of milk. Measuring out the powder is easy enough.

The Chocolate Mocha hot cocoa is best prepared using a whisk in a metal saucepan or pot over a low heat. It takes about fifteen minutes to make a two-serving pot, which is what I did for most of my batches simply because a single cup was too little to bother with. This is a lot of work compared to simply boiling water and mixing it with hot cocoa powder.


The aroma of Ghirardelli's Chocolate Mocha hot cocoa is strangely muted. The scent is simply one of dark chocolate, like about what one gets when they melt baker's chocolate before they add any sugar or other ingredients to it. The scent is not particularly inviting, but it is in no way a detraction to this beverage either.

The taste of the Chocolate Mocha is appropriately bitter and this is a very dry tasting hot chocolate beverage. In no way refreshing, Ghiardelli's Chocolate Mocha hot cocoa tastes rich and chocolatey, with a very dark chocolate flavor. Indeed, this is like one took 50% Cocoa Dark Chocolate and melted it into a cup of hot coffee. The flavor is bitter, dry and distinctly chocolate with little in the way of sweetness.


Ghiardelli Chocolate Mocha premium hot cocoa mix is hot cocoa mix and therefore not the most nutritious thing in the world, though having actual milk in the beverage makes it a bit more nutritious. Surprisingly, this cocoa has very little in it that is not easily identified, mostly just an emulsifier! The primary ingredients are sweet dry chocolate and cocoa and coffee. Given that it has to be mixed with milk, it is not vegan compliant.

What is not a mystery is how high this product is in sugars. In each cup of Chocolate Mocha, there are 130 calories,fifteen of which are from fat. There is only one gram of saturated fat and if one uses skim milk, there is no additional fat! While there is no cholesterol, a consumer gets 2% of their recommended daily allowance of salt out of a single serving 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.

This product contains soy lecithin, so one must assume it is not gluten-free.


So long as one leaves the Ghirardelli Chocolate Mocha Premium Hot Cocoa powder in its canister, it ought to stay usable. Given that it has an expiration date almost two years away, one assumes it will last quite a while and dissolve appropriately when one attempts to use it. The multi-serving canister, for those of us who consider the environmental impact of such things, is environmentally responsible, especially when compared to the single-serving packets most cocoas have!

Cleanup is very easy as well. 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 milk 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.


Ghirardelli Chocolate Mocha hot cocoa is very average, but the added preparation it requires is annoying enough to make it less worthwhile than other cocoas. This is a rare strike-out from Ghirardelli.

For other hot chocolate drinks, please visit my reviews of:
Land O' Lakes Raspberry And Chocolate Cocoa
Butterfinger Hot Cocoa
Forrelli Rich Chocolate Hot Cocoa


For other food or drink reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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