If there is anything to rival a cup of coffee, it’s a cup of hot chocolate. Whether you like the bitter, natural cocoa flavor or prefer to load your chocolatey goodness with marshmallows, it’s one of the most comforting beverages out there. But have you ever looked at your coffee equipment and wondered: “Can you make hot chocolate in a coffee maker?” The answer is, “Yes, you can!” And it’s really easy, too.
What you need to prepare hot chocolate at home
Hot chocolate is a delicious treat that you can prepare at home. All you need is hot water and cocoa powder. But you already knew that, and that’s not what you are here for.
There are infinite ways you can vary your hot chocolate experience. For example, you can prepare it with different dairy products, select a flavored sweetener, or add spices and toppings for a unique twist.
Let’s take a look at a complete list of things a home barista requires to make hot chocolate with a coffee maker or machine.
Cocoa powder or chocolate
You can’t make hot chocolate without the chocolate, can you? The easiest way is to purchase ready-to-use packets with a hot chocolate mix or cocoa powder from a grocery store.
But just like with specialty coffee, there is plenty of variety when it comes to hot chocolate. Artisan hot chocolate can be single-origin with a pretty distinct taste depending on the country it was produced. Also, you can come across some hot chocolate mixes that contain additional ingredients to boost the experience.
You can make your own hot chocolate powder if you feel creative. There are many recipes, but here’s one you can easily try at home. For a basic mixture, stir together two parts of confectioner’s sugar and two parts of powdered milk, and one part of unsweetened cocoa powder. Of course, you can adjust this recipe to suit your taste.
If you own a capsule coffee maker, you can buy hot chocolate capsules instead. They will make preparing a steaming cup a cinch.
You can use a small dark chocolate bar instead of chocolate powder for an extra rich and intense taste. In Argentina and Uruguay, this drink is called Submarino, which means “submarine.”
You will need cold drinking water to make hot chocolate. Tap water will do, but it might have minerals and contaminants from the pipes that can affect the flavor of your hot chocolate drink. You can eliminate some of them by first filtering your water.
Milk or cream
If you like milk in your hot chocolate, you will need refrigerated milk. Of course, you can use any milk, but fattier milk will make creamier hot chocolate. Swap the milk for heavy cream to make even more decadent hot chocolate.
If you are lactose intolerant or follow a vegan diet, you can also use plant milk. Oat milk is the ideal option here, as it results in a similar texture as dairy milk. However, it will be a bit more watery, so consider adding some extra chocolate powder to thicken your beverage.
While almond and coconut milk might be your favorite add-ins to your coffee, the texture of those plant-based drinks is quite thin. Therefore they won’t give the creaminess that you’d generally expect from a cup of hot chocolate.
Flavorings and toppings
Hot chocolate is delicious on its own, but there’s no reason not to kick it up a notch. Depending on your taste, your favorite syrup or some spices will let you explore new flavors and variations. So get creative and stir some chili powder, cinnamon, or a couple of drops of vanilla or almond extract into your cup.
You can never go wrong with a marshmallow and chocolate combination. Even though many people prefer tiny marshmallows to top up their hot drink, you might be in for a treat if you have a bag of big ones in your pantry. Big marshmallows melt slower, so you will have a nice layer of them until you finish drinking your mug.
If you can’t imagine hot chocolate without whipped cream, you are not alone! So make sure to leave some room in the cup for a generous cream topping.
When it comes to finishing touches to your hot drink, what can be better than topping it up with some more chocolate? Shaved dark chocolate is a fail-proof option as it intensifies the chocolatey flavor of the beverage. But if you want to add a seasonal twist, sprinkle some pumpkin spice mix or some crushed candy cane on top.
How to make hot chocolate in a coffee maker
The main reason for using a coffee maker to prepare hot chocolate is convenience. When you make hot chocolate in a pot or a saucepan, you will have to stay in the kitchen and keep an eye on it. Or, if you crave a cup of hot chocolate at work, you may not even have a stove, so a coffee machine will be your only resource. With a coffee maker, you can facilitate the whole process and produce a great cup of hot cocoa in minutes.
Making hot chocolate with a drip coffee maker
Aside from its primary purpose, a drip coffee machine is an excellent tool for preparing hot chocolate.
How to make hot chocolate with a drip coffee maker:
- Fill the coffee maker water tank based on how many cups you want to make.
- Add hot chocolate mix into the coffee carafe. You can make your hot chocolate thicker by adding more chocolate. The standard ratio is a sachet of hot chocolate mixture to a cup of water.
- Run a brewing cycle without coffee grounds in the filter basket.
- Stir the mixture well, and enjoy!
This is a very straightforward process, but I have a couple of extra tips. First, if you vigorously stir the cocoa powder and hot water in the carafe, it could shatter. Use a plastic or wooden spoon to avoid scratching or breaking the glass carafe.
Also, make sure you put the cocoa powder into the carafe, not the filter basket, as it will only clog it and make a mess in your kitchen.
You can also use a drip coffee maker to make chocolate-flavored coffee similar to mocha. When brewing coffee, add a sachet or two of hot chocolate powder into the carafe as described above. When the brewing cycle is finished, give it a good mix to ensure the powder is dissolved.
Making hot chocolate with an espresso machine
Owners of espresso machines may not even think of making hot chocolate with them. However, it is possible! Not only can you brew espresso to make delicious coffee drinks, but you can also prepare hot chocolate — in two different ways.
Do note that the process is different from that of making coffee. If you add the chocolate powder into the group head, you are risking clogging it, so don’t attempt to do that.
Espresso machines with a steam wand have a real advantage as you can make frothed hot milk and pour it over your hot chocolate powder. This method is perfect for those who like to drink hot chocolate with milk.
With the espresso machine that does not contain a steaming wand, heating up the milk won’t be an option. However, you can still use it to heat the water.
How to make hot chocolate with an espresso machine:
- Fill the machine with water.
- Insert an empty portafilter.
- Add your chocolate powder to a mug and put it under the spout.
- Run the brewing cycle.
- Once the water finishes running, mix the contents with a spoon to dissolve any lumps.
If you crave hot chocolate with milk, you can heat it on the stove or microwave it and top up your diluted chocolate mix.
Making hot chocolate with a capsule coffee machine
Do you own a capsule coffee machine, like a Keurig or a Nespresso? Then, you have possibly the most accessible tool to make hot chocolate in your hands. There are one-cup hot chocolate capsules for these machines on the market. Just pop the hot chocolate K-Cup in, fill the coffee maker with water, and hit the Start button.
If you don’t have hot chocolate capsules (or don’t want to shoulder the extra cost to buy them), there’s still a way to enjoy a cup of warm chocolatey drink. You can also use capsule coffee machines to make boiled water.
How to make hot chocolate with a capsule coffee machine when you don’t have chocolate capsules:
- Put the cocoa powder or hot chocolate mix in a cup and place it on the drip tray.
- Select the amount of water using the brew size buttons. If you intend to add milk to your hot chocolate afterward, go with a small amount of water.
- Run a brewing cycle without a capsule.
- Once the brewing cycle is finished, give your drink a stir.
Owners of K-Cafe coffee machines are in for an extra treat. These machines have a built-in milk steamer to heat milk for your hot chocolate. Just froth the milk, pour it over cocoa powder and mix.
Making hot chocolate with a French press
Is a French press the only coffee maker sitting on your shelf? I have good news for you: it can be used to prepare delectable hot chocolate in minutes! While you can use a hot chocolate mix or cocoa powder, real dark chocolate is the best-kept secret for this method.
Here’s an easy recipe to make hot chocolate with a French press:
- Chop four tablespoons’ worth of dark chocolate into small pieces or grate it with a hand grater.
- Add the chocolate chunks into the French press.
- Heat about two cups of milk on the stove until it’s just about to hit boiling temperature.
- Pour the hot milk into the French press and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
- Move the plunger up and down vigorously for about a minute to froth the milk.
- Serve and savor the flavor!
This recipe does not contain sugar (apart from that in dark chocolate), so your chocolate drink won’t be overly sweet. But if you have a sweet tooth, you can add your preferred sweetener or marshmallows.
Can you pour milk into a coffee maker when preparing hot chocolate?
Fans of hot chocolate with milk might wonder whether it is possible to pour milk into a coffee maker’s water tank. If this thought has crossed your mind, there are several reasons why it’s a horribly wrong idea.
Coffee machines normally heat water to 190-200°F (88-94°C). The protein and fats in milk undergo a physical change in chemical composition when heated over 158°F (70°C). If you run the milk through the water heating mechanism of your coffee machine, it will burn the milk, resulting in a strange, bitter flavor.
Sadly, your cup of hot chocolate is not the only thing you can ruin when conducting experiments with your coffee maker. If you decide to run a brewing cycle with milk, the milk proteins will stay inside the machine, clogging the tubes and attracting bacteria. As a result, the device will start smelling bad or even stop working. So weather you are tempted to pour milk into your Keurig or Moka Pot, stop right now!
If you prefer to add milk to your hot chocolate, use a milk frother or simply heat up milk on the stove. It will save you the headache and possibly your coffee machine.
As you can see, it’s pretty easy and fast to make hot chocolate in your coffee maker. So grab a sachet of hot chocolate mix and some marshmallows, and enjoy a steaming mug of chocolatey goodness in no time.