By Lynn Blamires feature writer for My Local Utah
Nineteen words or phrases exist that can describe a cup of hot cocoa. There is no need to bore you with the list. That is not the point. When you are relaxed and enjoying a cup, it doesn’t matter which name you use or where you went to find it. It has to be delicious, have the right flavor, and the right temperature to fit your mood.
A Brief History of Cocoa
I researched the history of cacao and how it got its start some 4,000 years ago in what is now Mexico. It was a drink used for medicinal purposes and in ceremonial rituals.
Many years later the Mayan’s referred to it as the drink of the gods. They used the ground cocoa seeds to make a drink called “xocolatl,” which translated means, “bitter water.”
Chocolate found its way to Europe and other parts of the world, thanks to the Conquistadors. In 1828, the invention of the chocolate press revolutionized chocolate making. This innovative device could squeeze cocoa butter from roasted cacao beans, leaving a fine cocoa powder behind.
Cocoa powder is an unsweetened chocolate product that adds deep chocolate flavor to desserts and beverages. The leftover dried solids get ground into the product sold as cocoa powder.
The Health Benefits of Cocoa
That gives you a picture of the history of chocolate, but there is more to chocolate than where it came from. A cup of cocoa has many health benefits that do more than keep you warm on a cold night.
The chocolate itself is high in powerful antioxidants that help prevent heart disease. It is also useful in preventing age-related macular degeneration, premature aging, and can even reduce your risk of cancer since they combat free radicals in your body.
Hot chocolate has been used for many years to treat diseases and fight bad moods. It was known as a special health drink from the 16th to 19th centuries and was taken as a medicine even during this time.
Drinking hot chocolate can help boost your brain power and improve your overall brain health. The flavonoids in hot chocolate increase the blood flow and oxygen to your brain, helping you think better.
Hot cocoa is a well-known mood booster. This tasty drink helps fight stress, anxiety, and depression. Hot chocolate stimulates an endorphin release, which helps to improve your mood and make you feel happier.
The flavonoids found in hot chocolate are good for your arterial health. Flavonoids reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and improving blood vessels.
Where to Find Cocoa
Now, where do you find a cup of this nectar favored by the gods if you don’t make it at home? Where there is coffee, there is hot cocoa. Here are some nearby places to get a warm and relaxing fix:
I went all the way to Wendover for my first taste of Starbucks cocoa. I am not going to say it was worth the trip because I could have picked one closer. However, the reason for the trip is worth mentioning. My wife and I took the Fun Bus to Wendover and had cups of cocoa at Starbucks.
It was delicious and I was amazed at the varieties offered. Besides cocoa, they served peppermint cocoa, peppermint white cocoa, toasted white cocoa, and white cocoa. I would go to Starbucks for cocoa anytime.
Beans & Brews
B&B offers one flavor of Cocoa in 16-, 20-, and 24-ounce sizes. They also offer an assortment of sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Daily Rise Espresso
The Daily Rise is good for cocoa on a cold day. They offer Hot Chocolate with whipped cream. They also have White Hot Chocolate, which is made from warm milk, white chocolate, and whipped cream. A third option is called a Steamer, which is warm milk with your choice of flavors, and whipped cream.
At Swig, we are talking my kind of Cocoa. They have a choice of Coco Cocoa or The Nutcracker. Coco Cocoa is hot chocolate with vanilla, coconut cream, and whipped cream while The Nutcracker is hazelnut with vanilla cream.
Black Rifle Coffee Company
I would go to this place just for the name. It has a mountain man ring to it and they serve hot cocoa.
Dutch Bros Coffee
The Bros does serve Dutch hot chocolate in a most delicious way – White Chocolate, Caramel, Double Chocolate, and Vanilla.
Sips Caffeine Bar and Drive-Thru
Sips serves Gourmet Hot Chocolate in four flavors – Caramel, Raspberry, Peppermint, and Toasted Marshmallow. They also serve a selection of breakfast sandwiches.
Java Espress Beverage Company
J.E.B. serves gourmet chocolate milk steamed to perfection.
Corner Bakery and Café
The café offers a Truffle Hot Chocolate that is sure to please.
Buzzbru West Haven
Buzzbru serves Hot Chocolate and White Hot Chocolate.
Great Harvest Bread
You can find a cup of Hot Chocolate here.
Cocoa is on the menu at the Kaffe
These places have cocoa, but this is by no means a complete list. As previously stated, where there is coffee, there is cocoa. However, as you can see from the selection of cocoa sources, all cocoa is not equal. There are flavors listed that could get me out in the cold long enough to get the best cup. In fact, I could pick up a cup on the way home. Better yet, I think I will.