Hot Chocolate and its Popularity in the UK
Hot chocolate has been a beloved beverage in the UK for centuries. It is a comforting and indulgent drink that can be enjoyed on cold winter nights or as a treat any time of the year.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in high-quality, artisanal hot chocolate that uses premium ingredients and sustainable sourcing practices.
What Makes the Best Chocolate for Hot Chocolate in the UK
When it comes to hot chocolate, quality ingredients, ethical sourcing practices, and sustainability efforts are key factors in determining the best option for consumers. In this article, we'll explore these factors in detail.
I. High-quality ingredients
When it comes to creating the perfect hot chocolate, the quality of the ingredients is paramount. Look for brands that use high-quality cacao and other ingredients to ensure a rich, full flavour.
Varieties of cacao used for chocolate making
The type of cacao used to make the chocolate can greatly impact the flavour of the hot chocolate.
Some brands use a blend of different cacao varieties to create a unique flavour profile, while others use a single variety.
Look for brands that use cacao varieties that are known for their rich flavour.
Unique flavour profile of Arriba Nacional cacao
One type of cacao that is known for its unique flavour profile is Arriba Nacional. This variety is grown in Ecuador and has a fruity, floral taste with a hint of nuttiness. Brands that use Arriba Nacional in their hot chocolate can offer a unique and flavourful experience.
Careful sourcing from farmers
The best hot chocolate brands take care to source their cacao from farmers who use sustainable and ethical practices. This not only ensures a high-quality product but also supports the farmers and their communities.
II. Hot Cocoa or Hot Chocolate
Hot cocoa and hot chocolate are often used interchangeably, but they are actually quite different beverages. Hot cocoa is typically made from cocoa powder, sugar, and milk, and is often considered a lighter, sweeter, and less intense version of hot chocolate. Hot chocolate, on the other hand, is made with real chocolate and mixed with milk, and is typically richer, thicker and more flavourful than hot cocoa.
Let's explore the main differences between hot cocoa and real hot chocolate:
Ingredients: Hot cocoa is made from cocoa powder, which has had most of its cocoa butter removed. It is then mixed with sugar and sometimes other flavourings like vanilla.
Hot chocolate, on the other hand, is made with real chocolate, which contains cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar. It is often mixed with milk to create a rich, velvety texture.
Texture: Hot cocoa is typically light, with a consistency similar to hot milk. Hot chocolate, on the other hand, has a richer and more luxurious texture, with a creamy and indulgent mouthfeel.
Flavour: Hot cocoa generally has a gentler and sweeter taste compared to hot chocolate, which has a richer and more exciting chocolate flavour. Hot chocolate also tends to have a more complex flavour profile, with notes and flavours depending on the recipe and cacao variety.
Overall, while hot cocoa and hot chocolate may seem similar at first glance, they are actually quite distinct beverages with different flavour profiles, textures, and ingredients. So, knowing the difference between the two can help you choose the perfect beverage to suit your café needs.
III. Ethical Sourcing Practices
When it comes to hot chocolate, it's not just about the flavour, but also about the ethics of the production process. Look for brands that prioritise ethical sourcing practices to ensure that your hot chocolate is not only delicious but also supports a good cause.
Shortening the chocolate supply chain
Some hot chocolate brands have begun shortening the supply chain, which allows them to work more closely with farmers and pay fair prices for their cacao. This not only helps to support the farmers, but it also ensures that the hot chocolate is made with high-quality, sustainable ingredients.
Fair prices for farmers
Ethical hot chocolate brands ensure that farmers receive fair prices for their cacao. This not only helps to support the farmers and their communities but also ensures that the cacao is of high quality and sustainably sourced.
Support for cacao farming communities
Many hot chocolate brands go above and beyond to support cacao farming communities. This may include investing in community projects, providing education and training, and promoting sustainable farming practices.
IV. Sustainability Efforts
In addition to ethical sourcing practices, the best hot chocolate brands also prioritise sustainability in other areas of their production process.
Certified B Corp
One way to ensure that a hot chocolate brand is committed to sustainability is to look for the Certified B Corp logo. This certification is given to companies that meet strict standards for social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
Environmentally friendly packaging
Finally, look for hot chocolate brands that use environmentally friendly packaging. This may include biodegradable or recyclable materials, or packaging that is made from sustainable sources.
Overall, when it comes to choosing the best hot chocolate in the UK, there are several factors to consider. Look for brands that use high-quality, sustainably sourced ingredients and prioritise ethical and sustainable practices throughout their production process. By choosing a brand that ticks all of these boxes, you can enjoy a delicious and guilt-free cup of hot chocolate.
Interested in learning more about chocolate and cacao? Read our blog posts on a journey across Ecuador and Cristóbal Colón and the Chocó Cloud Forest, or find out more about our Sourcing Model here.