The Best Hot Chocolate in Boston
Warm up with sweet treats from L.A. Burdick, Tatte, Cacao, and more.
Watered-down Swiss Miss topped with stale marshmallows? Not this winter. Reward yourself post-shoveling—or simply indulge in a sweet treat any time—with these 15 brilliant twists on a classic mug of cocoa. From Flour Bakery’s spicy sipper, to a decadent drink by a chocolatier like Gâté Comme des Filles, here’s where to sip hot chocolate around Boston.
1369 Coffee House
The Cambridge-based coffee shops claim this cup is better than the candy it’s named after. It’s made in the same manner as their award-winning lattes, but to create the Almond Joy, the baristas add steamed milk to almond syrup, coconut, Dutch cocoa, and–at the customer’s request–whipped cream.
1369 Cambridge St., Inman Square, 617-576-1369; 757 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge, 617-576-4600, 1369coffeehouse.com.
Cacao Nuts and Chocolates
Interrupt your afternoon errands in Jamaica Plain for a cup of hot cocoa from this new sweets shop. Co-owners Leo Baez and Perla Rosario add a dash of cinnamon to their blend of specialty dark chocolate and milk, as a nod to the signature spiced hot chocolate drink of their native Dominican Republic. With or without whipped cream, Cacao’s version is finished with flakes of fresh dark chocolate on top.
660B Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 617-390-2400, cacaonuts.com.
The quintessential North End coffee shop serves the city’s most authentic cup of Italian-style hot chocolate, which is just as much a dessert as it is a drink. The secret ingredient in cioccolatto caldo is corn starch, which thickens the whole mixture. You may want a spoon–or a delicious pastry–to go with this one.
290 Hanover St., Boston, 617-227-7606, caffevittoria.com.
Hazelnut, whipped cream, and homemade salted caramel combine with steamed milk to make up the indulgent Tuck’s Turtle, the specialty hot chocolate at Davis Square’s Diesel Café.
257 Elm St., Somerville, 617-629-8717, diesel-cafe.com.
Flour Bakery + Café
Fiery Hot Chocolate
James Beard Award-winning baker Joanne Chang’s food may be the main reason to visit one of eight Flour Bakery locations, but the drinks are the reason to linger. This spicy mixture of chocolate ganache, steamed milk, chili powder, and cayenne pepper is a good bet to blast the winter blues away.
Multiple locations, flourbakery.com.
Gâté Comme des Filles
Dark Drinking Chocolate
No need to feel chilly while browsing the open-air maker market and food hall, Bow Market: The resident chocolatier has decadent drinking chocolate available all winter long. Gâté Comme des Filles pastry chef Alexandra Whisnant begins with luxurious Valrhona chocolate, and shakes things up with rotating flavored whipped creams, or blended-in flavors like lavender or coffee.
1 Bow Market Way, Unit #8, Somerville, 617-764-5872, gatecommedesfilles.fr.
Java may be the focus at the flagship espresso bar from Central Mass. roasting company Gracenote Coffee, but the hot chocolate is equally well made. With Mapleline milk from Hadley and Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate ganache from Eureka, Calif., it has notes of molasses, orange, raisins, and toast–but most importantly, chocolate.
108 Lincoln St., Boston, 857-321-0744, gracenotecoffee.com.
Jaho Coffee & Tea
Red Velvet Hot Chocolate
This red velvet cake-in-a-cup has notes of cream cheese flavor to balance the sweetness of the red cocoa, and it’s a brilliant pink color. The Red Velvet Hot Chocolate is rich, thick, and also available as part of a seasonal rum cocktail at Jaho’s three Boston-area coffee and wine bars.
665 Washington St., Downtown Boston, 857-233-4094; 1651 Washington St., South End, 617-236-1680; 116 Huntington Ave., Back Bay, 857-233-2704; 197 Derby St., Salem, 978-744-4300, jaho.com.
Dark Drinking Chocolate
The drinking chocolate comes in small servings, but it’s made with a blend of dark couvertures, a top-quality chocolate with a ridiculously high percentage of cocoa butter. It’s so rich and creamy that drinking it feels like more like dessert than a pick-me-up. The molten chocolate mix is also available to purchase by the bag, for the inevitable days when Boston winter prevents you from venturing out the house.
220 Clarendon St., Boston, 617-303-0113; 52 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-491-4340, burdickchocolate.com.
MET Back Bay
Boston Hot Chocolate Experience
An annual tradition, restauranteur Kathy Sidell offers an adorably decadent flight of cocoa from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day each year. The “experience” comes with four miniature mugs full of distinctive flavors, including dulce de leche hot chocolate with marshmallows and salted caramel; and peppermint hot chocolate. With proper ID, guests can choose to spike their sampler, and each drink can be ordered as a full-sized beverage, too.
Available from late November until mid-February, 279 Dartmouth St., Boston, 617-996-0576, metbackbay.com.
Oakleaf Cakes Bake Shop
Aztec Hot Chocolate
All of Oakleaf’s hot chocolates are made with a house-crafted mix, but the Aztec version stands out. It’s made with Dutch cocoa, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, for a rich, hearty and sweet drink with a spicy finish. But the star of the cup is the house-made marshmallow, which can be enjoyed on its own or left to dissolve in the drink, at the sipper’s discretion.
12 Westland Ave, Boston, 617-299-1504, oakleafcakes.com.
Nutella Hot Chocolate
Can’t get enough Nutella? This Brookline café makes its hot chocolate using the beloved hazelnut spread instead of a bar of chocolate. The result is a creamy, nutty, and chocolatey blend, topped with cocoa powder, and the option to add raspberry or mint to the whole concoction.
Paris Creperie, 278 Harvard St, Brookline, 617-232-1770, pariscreperie.com.
Sofra Bakery & Café
Sesame Caramel Hot Chocolate
The sesame hot chocolate is a blend of the café’s creamy cocoa with sesame caramel to give the whole thing a sweet, Middle Eastern twist.
1 Belmont St, Cambridge, 617-661-3161, sofrabakery.com
Tatte Bakery & Café
White Belgian Hot Cocoa
If you prefer your cocoa on the sweeter side, seek out this version with high-quality Belgian white chocolate at one of Tatte’s Parisian-style cafés. The white chocolate morsels are added to the bottom of the cup, melted by pouring steamed milk over them, and then mixed by hand for a light, sweet, and steamy beverage.
Multiple locations, tattebakery.com.
French Hot Chocolate
It may be hard to pass on Thinking Cup’s world-class Stumptown Coffee, but the French hot chocolate–made with Valrhona’s 64 percent Tainori drinking chocolate–is even more indulgent. When it’s cold outside, a mug pairs perfectly with a good book or some intelligent conversation.
165 Tremont St. (Boston Common), 617-482-5555, 236 Hanover St., North End, 857-233-5277, 85 Newbury St., Boston, 617-247-3333, thinkingcup.com.
Jacqueline Cain contributing reporting.