Difference between Hot Chocolate and Hot Cocoa

Key Difference: “Hot cocoa” is a hot chocolaty drink that is made using cocoa powder, hot milk or water and sugar. “Hot chocolate” is made from chocolate shavings (melted), sugar, cream or milk, and water.

Many people use the terms “hot chocolate” and “hot cocoa” interchangeably as they do not know the difference between the two. Well considering they are both hot, chocolaty and they warm you on cold nights; they must be the same thing, right? Well nope, they are very different drinks, especially in the manner how they are made.

 A hot chocolate drink is believed to originate from the Mayans around 2,000 years ago, while a hot cocoa drink is believed to originate from the Aztec around 1400 AD. Chocolate drinks were also used for medicinal purposes until the 19th century to treat stomach diseases. Though today, hot chocolaty beverages are used as a treat on cold winters. Both “hot cocoa” and “hot chocolate” can be topped off with whipped cream, and or embellished with orange slices, cinnamon sticks or powdered cinnamon, peppermint sticks, chocolate sprinkles, etc.

 “Hot cocoa” is a hot chocolaty drink that is made using cocoa powder, hot milk or water and sugar. The recipe for making hot cocoa differs from family to family, while some create a paste of cocoa powder, sugar and cream and then add hot water to the mixture; other take milk and add sugar and cocoa powder and mix it all together. Cocoa powder is less fatty compared to chocolate, as the butter in chocolate is removed during processing, making “hot cocoa” a healthy drink.

“Hot chocolate” is made from chocolate shavings (melted), sugar, cream or milk, and water. Again the process for making this differs, while some first melt chocolate on the stove before adding cream/milk, sugar and water; others heat up milk/cream and water and add it to chocolate and sugar to melt it. “Hot chocolate” is much richer and smoother in taste compared to chocolate and is best in small quantities. It is also more fattening due to the cocoa butter.

In many countries, an instant form is sold on the market that already contains cream, cocoa powder or chocolate powder and sugar. It is quite popular as it becomes even easier to make the drinks. In some parts of Europe, chocolate drink is also sometimes served in the form of a chocolate soup and is thicker compared to the drink. According to research, “hot cocoa” offers various health benefits such as high amount of antioxidants, and can help treat fever, liver disease, chest diseases and stomach disorders. However, it can also contain an excess amount of sugar which can be dangerous. Though, “hot chocolate” tastes much richer and creamier than “hot cocoa”, it has fewer health benefits and is high in sugar and fats.

We can all continue arguing about which drink is better in taste and which is healthier, but one thing everyone can agree, on a cold chilly night, a nice cup of a hot chocolaty drink with mini marshmallows feels just right.

Image Courtesy: thenibble.com, cw-usa.com

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