The best hot chocolate spots around campus
These are the best spots around Washington Square Park to grab a quintessential winter cup of cocoa comfort.
Nov 23, 2021
As another New York winter approaches, we break out our puffy coats and thick boots and prepare to hunker down. Hot chocolate, the drink of comfort and nostalgia, starts calling our name. The sweetness, sometimes accented with hazelnut or mint, brings out the coziness of the season. Its warmth radiates through our limbs — there’s no question as to why we crave this staple winter beverage.
I walked around NYU’s Washington Square campus to find the best hot chocolate in the neighborhood. I considered each shop’s atmosphere, as well as the drinks’ price, flavor and texture, and ended up with six spots that offer an incredible and cost-effective experience. Each of the hot chocolates in the article costs between $2 and $5.
Heavenly Market and Deli — 77 Third Ave.
Located on Third Avenue, Heavenly Market and Deli is located in the same building as the Third Avenue North residence hall. It’s your typical New York deli — they’ve got bagels, sandwiches, cold cuts and a wide selection of drinks. It might not strike you as a place with an impressive cocoa, but their $2 hot chocolate has a smooth, creamy texture with a strong hazelnut flavor that coats the tongue, like if Nutella were a drink. The consistency is a bit thicker than most other hot chocolates, making it a hearty, full-bodied beverage.
Colomba Coffee and Bakery — 29 Waverly Place
This is right across the street from the Silver Center, making it a convenient place to grab a quick cup or get some work done before class. Their service is friendly and quick, and their interior decorations have a fun, modern yellow theme, but their chocolate is on a whole other level. At $4 a cup, it’s slightly higher in the price range, but it’s worth every cent. It’s frothy on top and thin underneath with an easy-to-drink texture. It has nutty hints reminiscent of Ferrero Rocher candies. It’s definitely a sweeter hot chocolate — the rich milk chocolate flavor stays on your tongue long after your last sip.
Think Coffee — 248 Mercer St.
This coffee chain has many locations in New York, but the most convenient one for a pick-me-up between classes is across Mercer Street from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. The shop is abuzz with keyboards clacking and heated group project debates. The chocolate itself has a more subtle flavor — it doesn’t draw attention to itself. Instead, it’s just a little sweetness in your mouth, like a gentle reminder to keep going. Mauve-brown in color, its scent carries a hint of raspberry, and its light thin texture melts away easily with no aftertaste. It’s reasonably priced at $3.75 and is the chocolate to keep you motivated through the end of the term.
Caffe Reggio — 119 MacDougal St.
Unlike the hot chocolate at Think Coffee, this one has a decidedly stronger cocoa flavor. Caffe Reggio is already a popular spot for NYU students — its Old World vibes are only one block away from Washington Square Park, and it’s open until a student-appropriate 3 a.m. (4 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday night). The cafe’s chocolate suits its setting; it carries an artisanal flavor with notably more bitterness than the average drink. Served in a wide porcelain mug about the size of my hand, the liquid has an enticingly dark color and an earthy cocoa smell. This chocolate will wake you up and comes at the fair price of $3.75. It’s not for those fond of sweeter drinks, but it’s an invigorating experience good for cold late nights.
Mille-Feuille Bakery — 552 LaGuardia Place
This French patisserie is located off the southwest corner of Bobst. With a couple of indoor and outdoor tables, it’s the perfect quaint place to take your mind off of work. This chocolate was my personal favorite — my verbatim notes from trying this drink: “Ohhh, yes. This is the one.” It has a rich cocoa smell and a frothy texture, but the sweetness of the milk chocolate offsets the bitterness of the cocoa. Mille-Feuille Bakery balances the two extremes of hot chocolate flavor, sweet and bitter, into one beautifully smooth drink — the peak of hot chocolate. That exquisiteness does make it the most expensive drink in this article at $4.50. But if you’re looking for the true hot chocolate experience, not just the taste, the drink is well worth it.
Patisserie Claude — 187 W. Fourth St.
The two-block walk from campus to this pleasant pastry shop on the West Village side of Sixth Avenue is a nice change of pace. The $2 chocolate has a distinctive aftertaste: a hint of hazelnut and cool mint. It’s subtle — this chocolate definitely isn’t mint-flavored — but inhaling afterward has a freshness like chewing a piece of gum, enhancing the chocolate flavor with every sip.
Honorable Mention: Bobst Library
The vending machine area on LL1 has a hot chocolate maker! It would be a great place to take a break from studying for a sweet sip… if they restocked it, ever.
Contact Jules Roscoe at [email protected]