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The Great Campus Cocoa Caper

An Ultimate Ranking of All the Hot Chocolates Available on Our Campus.

By Emily McKay


Graph: Emily McKay

I’m sure you’ll all agree with me when I say that warm drinks are one of the biggest perks of Winter. I relish the day the snow begins to fall, and it means I can sip my hot chocolates unabashedly. Out of procrastination, I decided that my opinions had to be known and, as a service to the student population, I had to find the best of the best!


Therefore, I set myself the challenge of trying every hot chocolate on campus and ranking them based on taste, appearance, and value for money.

And, there are a set couple of rules for this challenge: I always ordered the smallest size, and I didn’t tell anyone serving me that this was for a review. The last disclaimer I’d like to make is that these are my opinions and you’re allowed to disagree!


I began in Shelter Coffee and from the first sip of this hot chocolate I was impressed. The chocolate flavour wasn’t too overpowering whilst still being sweetly present, and there was also a welcoming layer of foam on top. It was served in a small mug and didn’t have any particular art on the top but was still nice to look at. 


My second stop was at the Hardback Café. I’m not sure if the rest of the student population will agree with me but I only ever go to this cafe out of pure necessity on the day of a deadline. The service is always super, but the cup charge always puts me off entirely. As usual, there was a nice foamy top and I liked that I was offered the opportunity to substitute milk chocolate for white chocolate, but I had to stick to my rules. Sadly, I wasn’t too excited by the flavours (probably because I burnt my tongue on it beforehand) and it wasn’t particularly sweet. It just wasn’t particularly memorable, unfortunately.


I haven’t been an avid visitor of Union Brew; however, I was very pleasantly surprised when I tried it out. One thing to note is that they “proudly serve Starbucks” however as a connoisseur of Starbucks’ hot chocolates I can say that they are poles apart in flavour. There was a distinct taste of chocolate syrup and the art on top was rather simple (not to be crude but it looked a lot like a butt which is an odd choice). My friend was also charged an extra 40p for whipped cream which I believe is CRIMINAL, especially in this economy.


One thing I have been enjoying about this little adventure is the amount of unfamiliar places I’ve been trying, one of which is Aberbean! The service was superb and the women serving me were extremely sweet. The appearance of the drink wasn’t anything too impressive; it wasn’t too hot, and the flavour wasn’t strong but overall, I was still a fan! 


My next stop was at Foodstory — this was unfortunately the most expensive hot chocolate out of every cafe on campus, and although what you’re paying for is a genuinely nice drink, it doesn’t feel 100% worth it. It is however one of the more aesthetic cafes to sit in on campus and pretend to be a law student!


One of my most surprising visits was to Grub, I was incredibly happy that it came with a little Biscoff biscuit. It wasn’t too foamy, but the flavour was nice and sweet, and Grub further surprised me with a little square of chocolate at the bottom!


For some background, I’m a Kilau girlie.

Any opportunity to get my stamp card filled I will grab with both hands and so I left this one to last till last with the knowledge that it would get one of the highest scores. However, this time was a little weird. I think it’s possible that doing this study has turned me into a slightly joyless critic and I just didn’t get the same warm fuzzy feeling as usual. Shoutout to the super nice server though!


The last stop on this little adventure was at Shakes 'N' Cakes. But to be honest, with all the options on offer, a hot chocolate feels like the saddest one. As this is a dessert parlour, I had slightly higher expectations for the presentation, and I was a tad let down. There wasn’t any foam, and it wasn’t particularly chocolatey: there was a Nesquik sort of taste. On return, I’d probably pick out a milkshake or waffle instead (to be fair, who wouldn’t?).


So, from this “study” we have learned that it’s impossible to get a hot chocolate on campus for under £3.10, however, the cheapest one is also the best! You can see my official rankings in the graph (shown above) with all the scores and prices. I’d urge whoever is reading this to go out, buy hot chocolates, and help support some of the campuses’ small businesses!



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