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Winter Warmer: The Best Hot Chocolate in Cleveland

Eat | By Cullen Fischel | Updated January 1, 2024


Cullen Fischel of Cleveland Ohio gives his guide to the best hot chocolate in Cleveland Ohio

As an enthusiast of all things Cleveland, Ohio, I find that one of the best ways to enjoy our chilly winters is by savoring a cup of hot chocolate. Cleveland has no shortage of cozy spots offering this classic winter warmer, each with its unique twist. In this article, I'll take you through some of the best hot chocolate spots in the city, perfect for those looking to indulge in this sweet treat.


Key Takeaways

  • Cleveland is home to a variety of hot chocolate experiences, from spicy twists to rich, dark delights.

  • Each café offers a unique ambiance, contributing to an enjoyable hot chocolate experience.

  • Exploring these spots is a perfect way to experience the cozy side of Cleveland during winter.

The Root Cafe: A Spicy Twist on Hot Chocolate

The Root Cafe in Lakewood is not just another café; it's a place where hot chocolate takes on an adventurous form. The Mexican Cocoa here is a must-try. It's a concoction of house-made chocolate milk, steamed with cinnamon, cayenne, and vanilla, resulting in a creamy cup with just the right amount of kick. For those who prefer the classic, they offer a regular hot chocolate as well.


The Mayan Mocha is another standout, blending the spicy Mexican Cocoa with a shot of espresso. This drink perfectly encapsulates the creativity and warmth that The Root Cafe is known for. It's the kind of place that makes you want to sit back and savor every sip.


Phoenix Coffee: Rich and Dark Chocolate Delight

Phoenix Coffee, with various locations around Cleveland, is high on my list of favorite coffee shops. But it's their hot chocolate that truly stands out. Made with a homemade chocolate syrup that's dark and rich, this hot chocolate strikes a perfect balance – it's not too sweet but deeply satisfying.


What I particularly enjoy about Phoenix's hot chocolate is its depth. The dark syrup adds a complexity that's often missing in traditional hot chocolates. It's ideal for those chilly days when you need something to warm you up from the inside out.


Six Shooter Coffee: For the Sweet Tooth

If you're craving something sweet, Six Shooter Coffee on the East Side is the place to go. Their hot chocolate, made with Ghirardelli chocolate syrup and vanilla syrup, steamed milk, and topped with whipped cream, is a treat for anyone with a sweet tooth.

This hot cocoa is quite sweet but still delicious. It's the kind of indulgent drink that reminds you of childhood winters, making it a hit among all ages.


Civilization: A Cocoa for Every Palate

Civilization in Tremont is unique in that it offers four different cocoa mixes. You can choose from regular hot chocolate, white hot chocolate, chocolate malt, or Mexican hot chocolate. Each cup is made with care, featuring steamed milk and topped with whipped cream.

I tried their Mexican hot chocolate. While it may not reach the heights of the Root Cafe's version, it still offers a pleasing mild spiciness. The variety here is a big draw, making it a great spot for groups with diverse tastes.


Honorable Mentions

Other notable mentions in Cleveland include local coffee shops that make hot chocolate using Hartzler’s chocolate milk. This local dairy produces a minimally processed milk that makes for a thick, creamy hot chocolate. Rising Star Coffee Roasters and Heartwood Coffee Roasters are particularly noteworthy for their use of Hartzler's milk.


Cullen Fischel's Tips for the Best Experience

  • Pairing: Try pairing your hot chocolate with a local pastry for a delightful treat.

  • Timing: Visiting these cafes during off-peak hours can offer a more relaxed experience.

  • Exploration: Each café is situated in a unique neighborhood worth exploring, so make an adventure out of it.

The Ohio Traveler Explains

  • What Makes Cleveland's Hot Chocolate Special?: It's the unique twists and local ingredients that set apart Cleveland's hot chocolate offerings.

  • Dairy-Free Options?: Many of these spots offer alternative milk options for those with dietary restrictions.

  • Seasonal Specials?: Keep an eye out for seasonal specials that often feature unique and festive flavors.


In Cleveland, hot chocolate is more than just a drink; it's an experience. Each of these spots offers something unique, making the simple act of drinking hot chocolate a memorable part of your winter in Ohio. Whether you're looking for a spicy kick or a sweet treat, Cleveland's hot chocolate scene has something for everyone.

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