Food is meant to be eaten not drunk and that’s why I could never understand the point of hot chocolate.

But many people seem to be a fan so I decided to see if my expectations could be surpassed and went on a search to find the best – most tolerable – one in Oxford.

Maya's - 3/5

Oxford Mail: It came in a simple paper cup.It came in a simple paper cup. (Image: Noor Qurashi)

This family-run café can be found at the Westgate shopping centre.

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I went for the regular ‘São Tomé’ milk hot chocolate which was £3.60.

It came in a very modest-looking cup.

Oxford Mail: Maya's store in Westgate.Maya's store in Westgate. (Image: Noor Qurashi)

The hot chocolate tasted like it was of good quality and didn’t singe my tongue as these things so often do.

But the cup – though I liked that it was all paper - was a little impractical for my purposes and perhaps the drink was a bit too simple for my liking.

Hotel Chocolat - 5/5

Oxford Mail: I couldn't help myself from trying some of the cream before taking a photo.I couldn't help myself from trying some of the cream before taking a photo. (Image: Noor Qurashi)

I nipped into this store as a sort of last-minute decision.

Again, I got the most standard-seeming option to assess all drinks fairly – it was £3.95 and came with complimentary cream.

The very friendly young man behind the till asked if I wanted a chocolate spoon and I said yes.

First, I tried the cream and it tasted pretty nice, as expected.

Then I got to the hot chocolate and to my pleasant surprise it was very good - rich and chocolatey.

I still don’t know how I feel about hot drinks but I would probably get this again. It was quite delicious.

Knoops 3/5

Oxford Mail: I had heard a lot of hype about this one.I had heard a lot of hype about this one. (Image: Noor Qurashi)

This is the one I had heard the most hype around.

Knoops opened last year in Oxford and its stores across the UK are dedicated to the hot chocolate-making craft.

Again, I went for the standard option – a small milk hot chocolate for £3.75, described as a “balance of milk, cocoa & caramel notes”.

I can see how some people might like this but for me it was too sweet.

Though they did have a lot of other options so perhaps there was something else that would have appealed to me slightly more.

G&Ds - 2/5

Oxford Mail: It had an orange twist.It had an orange twist. (Image: Noor Qurashi)

I had to try the hot chocolate from this staple Oxford café chain in Little Clarendon Street.

It was a bit watery, hot and had orange in it which I hadn’t asked for.

That said, my positive perception of G&Ds for its nice selection of desserts and chill vibes remains unchanged.


It’s a shame I couldn’t hand the title of best hot chocolate in Oxford to an independent store.

And regardless I still prefer chocolate in its wholesome glory to the liquified - literally 'watered down' - version.

But I have now found my favourite hot chocolate in the city - or in any case, the one I dislike least at Hotel Chocolat.