To-go with Jojo: hot cocoa

Jojo Wertheimer, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Nothing says “happy holidays” like burning your mouth on a steaming cup on hot cocoa. I have to tell you, I am not looking forward to a winter of sub-zero temperatures and isolation. However, there’s something I can always count on to make me feel better—and warmer—and that’s a good cup of hot chocolate.

So what makes a good cup of hot chocolate you ask? Well that depends on what you’re looking for. In my opinion, there’s three main factors involved: chocolatiness, thickness and of course, the price is important to take into account. If I’m spending three dollars on a cup of hot chocolate, it better not be Swiss Miss. 

For this month’s review, I chose to order a small cup of hot chocolate at three different locations in Evanston: Backlot Coffee on Central St., Bennison’s Bakery on Davis St., and Reprise Coffee Roasters on Main St. 


I’ve lived in Evanston my entire life, but I’ve actually never been to Backlot until now. I know, I know, it’s absurd but I’m not a Northsider, so why would I come all the way up here for a cup of hot chocolate or a coffee? I’ve heard a lot of great things about Backlot’s coffee and food, so I was very excited to give their hot chocolate a try. However, I have to tell you, I was a little disappointed. The drink came to $3.31, but it was super small. As in, I downed it in under 10 sips, small. The chocolate flavor was not intense at all, and it was on the liquidy side, although they did add whipped cream, so added points for that. Of course it is a hot chocolate, so it was good, and it got the job done, but the experience didn’t stack up to what I expected. I’ll definitely be going back to Backlot for an iced coffee, though. The place has promise. 

2.3 / 5


Bennison’s never disappoints. Whether it’s a doughnut, a coffee or a cup of hot chocolate, Bennison’s is always delicious. First of all, the hot chocolate was significantly less expensive than the other two places—it was double the size and cost $2.50 rather than $3. It also had a different texture than the other two: more frothy and a little bit thicker. The chocolatey flavor was more rich, and, overall, I was very happy with the experience. This cup of hot chocolate hits perfectly on a freezing cold day. 

4.1 / 5


This was the first time I had ever been to Reprise, and I was not disappointed, but I also wasn’t amazed either. Just a few doors down from Evanston staple La Principal, Reprise was super warm and endearing. Once again, I ordered a small hot chocolate, and $3 later, I was burning my mouth for the third time. This cup of hot chocolate was nice and basic. Not too watery, but not necessarily rich either. It tasted chocolatey, but not as much as I would’ve hoped. Again, added points for the whipped cream. I wouldn’t necessarily go back to Reprise for hot chocolate, but I bet they make a mean iced latte. 

2.9 / 5