Hot chocolate is probably the last thing on your mind right now given the sweltering heat we’re experiencing. You will probably be much more interested in knowing how to make iced coffee, and I wouldn’t blame you. But, I recently came across a device that makes such good hot chocolate, I drank it despite the heatwaves – it tastes so good.
It produces thick, delicious results in minutes and requires minimal effort. Plus, it can do so much more than hot chocolate; iced lattes and chocolate martinis are literally at your fingertips. As a result, my partner and I are addicts and can’t get enough. Here is what happened.
Hot chocolate in the summer, are we crazy?
The machine that has become our latest obsession is none other than the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser ($149, Hotel Chocolate (opens in a new tab)). At first glance, $149 might seem like a high price for a hot chocolate maker, and I agree with you. We actually only bought it because we found it on sale probably due to the time of year. We almost bought it before, but never got to take the plunge.
However, I’m glad we decided to indulge ourselves in the end, sale or not. The quality of the hot chocolate and the machine itself is impressive. It’s about the size of a milk frother and sits on a small base that powers it like an electric kettle. A handle protrudes from the jug, which you use to tilt and dispense hot chocolate and there’s a single button on the side of the base to power it. It is available in four colours: copper, anthracite, white and platinum, giving it a sophisticated finish. The design is also top notch – the body is made from metal, the lid seals in place and the whisk inside is magnetized.
I should also mention that if you buy this unit you also get two ceramic mugs and hot chocolate to get you started which is a nice addition.
How does it work and what can it do?
This machine claims to “velvet” the hot chocolate, essentially producing a smooth, velvety consistency. It works much like a milk frother, whipping and heating your ingredients for just over two minutes until it’s ready to drink. However, what sets this machine apart from others is how well it works and the quality of the ingredients you use.
Hotel Chocolat’s own brand of hot chocolate comes in the form of grated chocolate flakes rather than powder. It’s advertised as “real grated chocolate, nothing else”, the appeal being that you get a more concentrated drinking chocolate. These flakes can be used with dairy or vegetable milk, or even water. In addition to hot chocolate, Hotel Chocolat also offers latte options that essentially combine coffee with the same chocolate flakes.
In addition to hot chocolate, you can use the Velvetiser to make iced hot chocolate and iced lattes – just whip up a separate glass of iced milk to get them. Alcoholic options are also possible, so you can make a Chocolate Martini, Praline Martini or even a White Russian with the right ingredients. Mochas are also possible of course, and you can customize each one to your favorite flavors. One thing we didn’t expect is that you can also make some desserts with the Velvetiser – pots of chocolate sauce and chocolate mousse are literally minutes away. So it’s safe to say that it’s a more versatile machine than it first appears.
Using this machine really couldn’t be easier. You fill the Velvetiser with your milk of choice to the indicated line, add a sachet of chocolate mixture, close with the lid and press the button. It’s pretty quiet when running, only hitting 58dB from as close as 6 inches away – we could barely hear it in the kitchen and you could easily have a conversation over it (although the noise probably varies by depending on the type of milk you use). The whole process took two minutes and 20 seconds and the outside of the jug remained cool enough to touch throughout – only reaching 80°F near the top near the lid.
There’s no audio indication once it’s finished, which is a shame, but you can hear it once it stops and the power button light goes out. Your hot chocolate is ready to serve immediately; However, it’s worth pointing out that you can only make one serving of hot chocolate at a time, which is admittedly limiting. You must rinse the carafe with cold water in successive batches to reset the thermostat.
However, cleaning couldn’t be easier. Simply add cold water and a few drops of dish soap to the pitcher, and run it like you would a hot chocolate, then rinse afterwards. The lid and whisk are also dishwasher safe if you need a deep clean.
We have no complaints in terms of hot chocolate flavor and texture so far. We use the classic 70% dark drinking chocolate, and the flavor is ideal for us. It’s neither too sweet nor too bitter, and you can really feel the difference compared to using a powder mix. The texture is thick and smooth, without feeling sick, and all the chocolate gratings are effectively dissolved by the machine, so there is no gritty residue at the end of the cup. The temperature of the blend is also ideal – it’s not too hot to drink straight after steeping at 138°F, but hot enough to stay warm for long enough.
It’s delicious enough to enjoy any time of the year. And while you might think of hot chocolate as a winter drink, this machine can definitely make you think twice.
A wide choice of flavors is available (opens in a new tab), which we are excited to try. There are dedicated flavors you can buy as well as boxes containing a mix (you get 10 sachets per box). Flavors vary widely, including white hot chocolate, maple and pecan, mint, ginger, salted caramel, and dark and milky options, among others. The only problem is, again, these aren’t cheap – you’re looking at $30 a box, or $3 a hot chocolate. However, you can buy three boxes for $65 to bring it down to just over $2 a cup. It is therefore more of a treat than an everyday drink. But it’s still less than the average coffee shop hot chocolate, which is of a similar quality to what you get here.
In the end, we’re glad we bought the Velvetiser. It’s by no means cheap, but it does exactly what it says on the box – produces delicious hot chocolate at an appetizing level. Plus, the versatility of the design means we’ll hopefully get more out of it in the future, especially in terms of frozen drinks.
I would recommend this to any hot chocolate lover, but I would say if you make enough for a family you might have to wait a bit due to limited capacity. Also keep in mind the ongoing costs of drinking chocolate; these will need to be an occasional treat unless you’re happy to splurge on hot chocolate.
If coffee is more your thing, read our guides on how to make espresso, how to pour over coffee, and how to make French press. Take a look at our best coffee makers for inspiration.