Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Lot Of Work For Little Payoff: Starbucks Peppermint Hot Cocoa Disappoints.

The Good: Tastes wonderful
The Bad: Very expensive, Environmental impact of the packaging, A lot of work, Not at all minty
The Basics: Starbucks Peppermint hot cocoa takes a bit of work to make and does not taste very much like peppermint, though it is a rich, chocolatey cocoa that tastes good!

For Valentine’s Day, my wife treated me to what was supposed to be a delightful surprise. She picked me up a box of Starbucks Peppermint Hot Cocoa and it seemed like it would be everything I truly love in a drink. It promised to be minty, richly chocolatey, and as delightful as other Starbucks products. Unfortunately, the pricey Starbucks Cocoa – which (at the least expensive place we could find it) was almost seven dollars for a box of eight – which was flavorful was not very minty at all.

In other words, the Starbucks Peppermint Hot Cocoa is good, but not at all great and as one who truly loves mint, it is impossible for me to recommend this beverage.


The Peppermint hot cocoa mix is part of the Starbucks premium hot cocoa line. The mix comes in a box of eight 1 oz. packets. Each box has eight servings and these bear an exceptionally high price of seven to nine dollars. 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 Starbucks Peppermint hot cocoa mix is a pain in the butt to make. Each serving comes in a 1 oz. package and requires a cup of milk to make it into a hot beverage. There is no fuss on the measuring front with this hot beverage; each packet is a single serving. Simply open the envelope and dump the powder in a cup. Unfortunately, one needs to bring a cup of milk to a near-boil for each serving. Making sure the milk is not boiling so it does not curdle is important and requires the consumer to pay attention to cooking the cocoa. It is important to note that this cannot be mixed with milk and then heated, even when one is making the cocoa in bulk.


The aroma of Starbucks's Peppermint hot cocoa is strongly of chocolate. There is no mint in the bouquet and that did not bode well for a cocoa that I was looking forward to.

On the tongue, the Peppermint hot cocoa is richly chocolate flavored. It is a deep, rich hot chocolate that is only slightly sweet . . . and that is a sweetness born in the aftertaste. There is no coolness in the flavor, no hint of mint. There is, in fact, nothing that even insinuates mint in the flavor of this cocoa.


Starbucks Peppermint premium hot cocoa mix is hot cocoa mix and therefore not the most nutritious thing in the world, though there is nothing truly awful in this beverage. The primary ingredients are sugar, cocoa and peppermint candy. There is a milk derivative in this hot cocoa powder, so it is not Vegan compliant.

What is not a mystery is how high this product is in sugars. In each cup of Peppermint, there are 120 calories, fifteen of which are from fat. There are one and a half grams of saturated fat, but no trans fats! There is no cholesterol, nor sodium in the Peppermint Cocoa, which is nice! 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 and wheat, so one must assume it is not gluten-free. There are also allergy warnings against peanuts, tree nuts, milk, and eggs for the mix. It is, however, marked as Kosher.


So long as one leaves the Starbucks Peppermint Premium Hot Cocoa powder in its envelope, it ought to stay usable. The box my wife gave me for Valentine’s Day expires on December 28, 2013, but I imagine it will be gone well before then (given that I have already gone through half the packets.

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.


Starbucks Peppermint hot cocoa falls into my failing grades because it does not deliver upon its promised flavor. There are a ton of peppermint cocoas on the market that actually taste like mint and chocolate . . . and are vastly less expensive than the Starbucks cocoa which does not taste at all minty.

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 Food Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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