How To Order The Ultimate Decadent Hot Chocolate At Starbucks

On a cold day, very few activities are better than ordering a hot chocolate at your local Starbucks –- especially if you take your basic hot chocolate up a notch. After all, hot chocolate should be a creamy, chocolatey dream.

This particular recipe varies slightly from that of a regular hot chocolate (in which a barista adds mocha sauce to steamed milk), so you'll need to follow the baristas' drink ordering code closely for the best results. To get a decadent and velvety hot chocolate, your order will look like: venti hot chocolate with vanilla, no mocha, seven scoops of java chips, your choice of milk at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, stirred, and topped with cream and chocolate curls.


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While you can always use your milk of choice, for a truly decadent drink, order whole milk or even breve (aka half and half) for an extra creamy mouthfeel. Of course, you can also stick with the standard mocha sauce, or even ask for curls on top to further up your chocolate game.

To construct your drink, the barista will stir steamed milk with java chips to melt them, adding vanilla syrup in place of mocha. They will then top the drink off with whipped cream and dark chocolate curls. The result? A rich, foamy, and deeply chocolatey hot chocolate like you've never experienced. Just make sure you ask your barista to steam your milk to 170 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's hot enough to melt those chips.

Other simple ways to upgrade your Starbucks hot chocolate

Sure, the name 'hot chocolate' implies chocolatey goodness all the way through the drink, but this doesn't have to be the case. For instance, you might upgrade your Starbucks hot chocolate to a salted caramel hot chocolate. To do so, order a regular hot chocolate with toffee nut syrup and caramel drizzle. You can also request packets of salt and raw sugar to make your own crunchy topping, as the official salted caramel topping has been discontinued.

For a different kind of heat, you can order a Mexican-style hot chocolate. One version of this drink entails ordering a hot chocolate with added cinnamon dolce syrup and cinnamon topping. Alternatively, you can ask that the milk for your hot chocolate be steamed with cinnamon. Add cinnamon dolce and brown sugar syrups for an extra sweet kick. Decadent, right? That being said, your hot chocolate possibilities are endless thanks to Starbucks' collection of different syrups, sauces, and toppings.

Be considerate of your Starbucks barista when you order

Although there's nothing wrong with ordering from the secret menu or customizing something from the standard Starbucks menu, you should try to keep your barista's workload in mind. For instance, if Starbucks has a long line of customers, your barista won't be too thrilled with you asking for a secret menu drink by name. They likely don't know how to make it, nor do they have time to watch the TikTok tutorial. More complicated drinks also take more time to make and therefore throw off baristas' rhythm — and they make other customers wait longer, which may cause them to become frustrated with the baristas.

Instead, when you order something like the aforementioned ultimate hot chocolate, do so when business is slower, and be sure to provide your barista with all necessary information regarding steps and ingredients. They'll be much more receptive toward your order when you explain exactly what you want, rather than leaving them to guess. After all, your barista wants you to have the best experience possible, but they can only do that if they know exactly what you're looking for.

Lastly, don't argue with the barista when they tell you the price of your drink. Even when they start with a menu item as the base for your secret menu drink, they have to charge you for any extra ingredients and certain substitutions. They don't make the rules, so whether or not a $7 hot chocolate is worthwhile is up to you.