Hot chocolate like baristas in a coffee shop

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

Postby 650b » Jan 11, 2018, 8:14 am

Hey everyone. First time poster but long time coffee snob.

I recently obtained a Delonghi Scultura ECZ351 to make awesome coffee at home and it does just that, I'm outstanded! Such an amazing value machine, i could go on...

Anyway, the wife's not really a coffee drinker, she likes the occasional vanilla latte and she quite likes a mochaccino. I've been making hot chocolates for us both for years using the powder (of various different brands) from the supermarket and by heating up milk in a pan. The stir-in hot chocolate powder products seem to have an ingredient that adds foam to the drink and seems mostly to consist of sugar and not much actual chocolate. Since I got my Scultura, I've been using that to make hot chocolates and mochaccino's as its nice and quick but it seems to make up some hot milk with the perfect texture only to spoon in some hot chocolate powder that starts fizzing to make its own foam.

I'd really like to produce something similar to what the baristas do in the coffee shop. I'm guessing it's all in the chocolate powder they use but I have no idea what they use. I've asked and they reply with "I don't know, it just comes in the delivery from head office".

Does anyone know if it's just pure coca powder? Perhaps there's something I can buy in the supermarket that's similar?

Thanks Very much!

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Postby JR_Germantown » Jan 11, 2018, 10:08 am

When I make them, I use a dark chocolate syrup/sauce like Torani, Ghirardelli or similar (from a regular grocery store). I froth the milk exactly as I would for a latte (pretty homogeneous microfoam—no sudsy stuff). I use the microwave to gently preheat the syrup in the cup, and pour the frothed milk over it, as if making a latte. No complaints from my "customers". ;)



Postby idrinkjetfuel » Jan 11, 2018, 11:49 pm

I use good ole Hershey's syrup and 2% milk. I prepare it the same way as Jack. Great on a cold winter night. Beats the heck out of any powdered product with artificial marshmallows in a packet. I will try a higher grade chocolate to see if it makes a difference.


Postby Shuka » Jan 12, 2018, 12:32 am

I make hot chocolate fairly often: cocoa powder (favorite us valrhona) and sugar, whole milk into my steaming pitcher, and steam up. I also use solid chocolate flakes from Sprüngli for special occasions. Only real advice is to go hotter with the milk than for lattes. When you texture the milk, everything gets nicely homogenized, and you can experiment to see how much foam you like (I like a lot). Your steam wand will just need a little extra wiping....
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Postby vit » Jan 12, 2018, 6:53 am

What ratio cocoa : sugar : milk are you using (approximate)

As far as I can see, Hershey's syrup mentioned above contains 50% sugar, 8% cocoa, the rest is water, stabilizers etc

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Postby primacoffee » Jan 12, 2018, 2:41 pm

I work as a barista on the side, and our shops use sauces for hot chocolates and mochas. Most use Monin dark chocolate sauce, which we lightly dilute with hot water before topping off with steamed milk. One of our cafes uses a drinking chocolate mix from Ritual Chocolate, which is prepared into a sauce in batches and is then served the same way.

At home, I grind chocolate bars on a Microplane, add a light pinch of salt and a little bit of sugar (depending on the bar at hand), then melt in the cup with a little hot water and top up with steamed milk. The amount of chocolate I actually use depends somewhat on the bar itself, but I'd guess it's around 1 oz of chocolate per 8 fl oz final beverage. Darker chocolates will seize with hot water, so sometimes you need to use hot cream or melted butter instead to make the sauce. This makes a drink that falls between a typical hot chocolate and something like a drinking chocolate; it's rich but not so much so that you can't enjoy a big mug of it.

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Postby Marcelnl » Jan 12, 2018, 3:17 pm

I use dark chocolate callets (small flat spheres) from Valrhona or the Belgian Callebaut containing anything between 55 and 77% Cocoa normally used in gastronomy and patissery. No additional sugar added (callets already contain sugar) and steam the milk a tad hotter than for Cappa's as the chocolate needs some heat to melt. You need to have a look at the purpose of the callets as not all melt equally well but steaming with callets in the cup homogenates the drink quite well though you may want to go slow for the risk of overheating the milk before the callets are 'dissolved".

Kids verdict (12y): "best chocolate milk ever". youngest taste panel member (20months) verdict, kept drinking and then came straight back to me to beg for more saying 'nice'.

Ratio? anything to your liking, experiment around. Callebaut says 35 g to 200 ml of milk but then again, they suggest to use milk chocolate...
LMWDP #483


Postby *sigh* » Jan 12, 2018, 3:26 pm

I do something similar to Marcel, but I normally chop the chocolate with a serrated knife to aid the melting.

I'll put the chocolate, sugar (if needed) and some milk into one milk pitcher and will steam that slowly on my espresso machine to get everything melted and make a "sauce", then I'll put that in a glass and top if off with steamed milk for the final product.

I haven't bothered to come up with a recipe as of yet, I've been experimenting with various chocolates so they've all been a bit different.

A good chocolate sauce is another great option and definitely the easy method of the bunch.


Postby Sideshow » Jan 12, 2018, 4:17 pm

Does anyone who puts the ingredients into the milk to steam at once ever worry about getting the inside of the steam wand or the tip dirty? I dutifully purge after every use, but I'd still be worried about the effects of potentially sucking up solid (even melted/dissolved) food stuffs into the wand. Maybe I'm being too cautious.

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Postby AssafL » Jan 12, 2018, 4:37 pm

I don't fret the wand.

One thing I like to do is thick hot chocolate. Basically milk and sugar and corn starch. Mix and steam. Pour over chocolate (like Vahlrona 60-80% solids), I add salt and a bit of cayenne.

Thick and unctuous.
Caution! Water, heat, pressure and electricity don't mix! I want an espresso.