20 Places to Find Hot Chocolate in Ann Arbor

Hot chocolate, with its soothing warmth, is not just a drink; it’s a winter tradition. For cocoa enthusiasts, there’s good news this chilly season: our community is brimming with a wide selection of this comforting beverage. Whether you’re seeking classic flavors or innovative twists, there’s a cup of hot chocolate waiting to brighten your winter days.

Mesoamerican origins

Its story is as rich and complex as its flavor. The origins of hot chocolate can be traced back to ancient Mesoamerica, around 1900 BC. The Mayans and later the Aztecs, were the first to cultivate and consume cacao. They created a beverage, but it was vastly different from the sweet, creamy drink we know today. This original form was a bitter concoction made from ground cacao beans, water and spices like chili. It was often used in rituals and as a medicinal drink.

European influence

The journey of hot chocolate from a bitter ritual beverage to a sweet, popular drink is a tale of cultural fusion. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the New World in the 16th century, they encountered this exotic drink and brought it back to Europe. Initially, it was a luxury item, enjoyed primarily by the aristocracy. The Spanish began to sweeten it with sugar and cinnamon, transforming it into a more palatable drink for European tastes.

Photo from Unsplash.

Over time, as cacao became more widely available and less expensive, hot chocolate gained popularity across Europe. Each country added its own twist. For example, the French added milk, while the Italians preferred to keep it dark and strong.


The Americanization of hot chocolate is an interesting chapter in its history. In the United States, it became even sweeter and creamier. The introduction of marshmallows and whipped cream as toppings are distinctly American touches.

Additionally, the development of powdered hot chocolate mixes in the 19th and 20th centuries made it an easily accessible comfort drink for many American households. These mixes often contain less cacao and more sugar compared to traditional recipes, reflecting the American palate’s preference for sweeter flavors.


Hot chocolate’s popularity can be attributed to its comforting qualities and versatility. It’s a drink that evokes nostalgia and warmth, often associated with family traditions, holidays, and cozy winter nights. It’s also adaptable to various dietary needs and preferences, with dairy-free and sugar-free versions readily available.

Through the years, hot chocolate has transformed from an ancient ritual drink to a modern comfort beverage, evolving and adapting to the tastes and cultures of the people who embraced it. In Ann Arbor, you’ll find cafes and restaurants offering their unique takes on hot chocolate, from artisanal blends with exotic spices to classic, creamy versions that remind you of childhood. It’s a testament to the drink’s enduring appeal and its ability to bring people together, one warm mug at a time.

The Ann Arbor Roasting Company

Hot Chocolate ($3.75 plus $.75 for plant milk options)

324 S State St, Ann Arbor.

Black Diesel Coffee

Hot Chocolate ($4.25)

1423 E Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor.

Café Zola

Hot Dark Chocolate Ganache ($5.75)

112 W Washington St, Ann Arbor.

Cherry Republic

Cherry Hot Cocoa ($13.95/6.25 oz)

223 S Main St, Ann Arbor.

The Common Cup

Hot Chocolate ($3.75/12 oz, $4.25/16 oz)

1511 Washtenaw Ave, Ann Arbor.

Kilwin’s Chocolates

Shredded Drinking Chocolate ($25.99/1.5 lbs). This includes semi-sweet dark chocolate for hot or cold drinking chocolate. 

107 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor.

Lab Cafe

Hot Chocolate ($2.50 – $4.00)

505 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor.

Michigan Creamery

Hot Chocolate ($3.49/16 oz, $3.99/20 oz, $4.49/24 oz)
302 S State St, Ann Arbor.

Mighty Good Coffee

Hot Cocoa ($2.50/12 oz, $3.00/16 oz), sea salt hot cocoa ($2.65/12 oz, $3.15/16 oz plus $.75 for plant milk options)

217 N Main St, Ann Arbor.

Mindo Chocolate Makers

Ecuadorian Drinking Chocolate (powdered – $14.99/9 oz or $27.99/lb, ready-to-drink at the store – $4.00/10 oz or $5.00/16 oz)

206 N Fourth Ave, Ann Arbor.

Pilar’s Tamales

Mexican Hot Chocolate ($5.00/chico, $5.50/grande)

2261 W Liberty, Ann Arbor.

Roos Roast

Peppermint Hot Chocolate ($4.75/10 oz, $5.50/16 oz)

117 E Liberty St or 1155 Rosewood St, Ann Arbor.

Stray Hen

Mexican Hot Chocolate ($6.00)

403 E Washington, Ann Arbor.

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea

Hot Chocolate ($3.30)

735 W Cross St, Ypsilanti and several Ann Arbor locations.

Taco King

Mexican Hot Chocolate ($1.99)

2231 W Liberty Street or 4079 Stone School Rd, Ann Arbor.

Trader Joe’s

Hot Chocolate Dark Chocolate Sticks ($3.99 for 8 individually wrapped sticks).

2398 E Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor.

York Food and Drink

Hot Chocolate ($2.50/small, $4.50/large).

1928 Packard St, Ann Arbor.

Zingerman’s Deli

Too many DIY hot cocoa and drinking chocolate options to list.

422 Detroit St, Ann Arbor.

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