Hot chocolate is a completely different creature in winter. And these cafes take it to the next level.

Mörk Chocolate Brew House

Visit Mörk for an artisan cup of ethically sourced hot chocolate. Campfire is the Insta star, recreating the nostalgic atmosphere of a childhood bonfire. You can pick up a DIY pack to make your own at home, complete with house-made marshmallows. But the latest standout is the layered chocolate drink. Chilled dark chocolate is topped with warm crema catalana custard, infused with orange zest and vanilla bean.

A hot chocolate in a glass with steam coming off it
Mörk Chocolate Brew House

Club Colombia

Go to the source, and try a Latin American–style hot chocolate at Club Colombia. This one comes with an unexpected salty sweet hit. Made with Colombian chocolate, the warming drink is spiced with cloves and cinnamon. Beneath the froth of foamy milk you’ll find oozy melted mozzarella. Go on, try it and see.

Min the cafe

For a healthier take on a sugar-fuelled hot chocolate, Min serves up a superfood-style sip. The red velvet latte blends beetroot powder, cacao, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla bean. It’s an earthy chocolate hit. Classic Mörk hot chocs are also on the menu, along with a malty Ovaltine latte. Alternative milks include soy, oat, almond and skinny. You’ll find Min at the Docklands end of Bourke Street.

Heartattack and Vine

Friendly neighbourhood spot Heartattack and Vine is one of Carlton’s quiet achievers. The vibe is relaxed European, with the focus on warmth and hospitality. Their Spanish hot chocolate is made with house-made ganache and chilli orange syrup. It’s an absolute winner. To add a touch of France, enjoy with an almond croissant from Noisette.

A person's hands holding a hot chocolate
Heartattack and Vine’s hot chocolate. Pic by Grace Petrou for What’s On.

Chokolait

The Belgian hot chocolate from Chokolait will transport your taste buds to a winter wonderland. The chocoholics at the helm of this Royal Arcade spot can add cinnamon, chilli or mocha for extra flavour. For a jolt of pure chocolatey goodness, order a milk or dark hot shot. You have two choices, so dense you can eat it with a spoon, or just thick enough to sip.

Bowery to Williamsburg

Bowery to Williamsburg offers a ‘coco deluxe hot chocolate’. But don’t come expecting glamour at this New York–style cafe. Hot chocolates are served in NYC deli takeaway cups. It’s the perfect partner for a NYC-style pastrami on rye or slice of cheesecake. Want something different? Try their peanut butter hot chocolate, boosted with Reese’s famous Peanut Butter Cups.

Koko Black

You’re spoiled for hot chocolate choice at Koko Black’s flagship store in Royal Arcade. Their signature beverage is a perfectly balanced blend of Belgian 54 per cent dark chocolate, cream and milk. It’s brewed for two hours for extra creaminess. For added spice, try the chilli hot chocolate. Or mix fire and ice in a vanilla bean affogato. For hot choc on the go, grab a takeaway from the kiosk outside the Town Hall store on Swanston Street.

A hot chocolate on a saucer with an orange chilli hot cocoa packet next to it.
Koko Black

Parco

One of Melbourne’s cutest drinks-to-go spots is Parco. It’s a tiny kiosk on Argyle Place in Carlton, and hot chocolate here is by Koko Deluxe. A silky-smooth mix of West African cocoa powder and Aussie cane sugar, it’s vegan and gluten free. Opt for oat, soy or almond milk, and it’s basically a health food. Plus, it’s specially made for cooler weather.

Local Folk

A Kensington favourite, Local Folk serves brunchy goodness every day of the week. Order a hot or iced chocolate beverage, with your choice of milk. Soy, almond or lactose-free. Then decide on your breakfast, brunch, or lunch. A bowl of fresh fruit granola, or smashed avo on pumpkin sourdough? Most local folk can’t go past the passionfruit pancakes with candy floss and berries.

Naröcha

Want a different choc treat? Try a boba from Naröcha. This premium tearoom serves a range of matcha 'makiatos' and milk teas. For a bubble-tea take on a hot chocolate, try a foamy cream-cheese chocolate makiato with tapioca pearls. But perhaps the closest match is the Milo mocha. It’s malty and creamy, with soft chewy pearls.

Bubble tea in a plastic cup
Narocha tea and chocolate fusions

Seven Seeds

One of Melbourne’s finest coffee roasters also happens to make superb hot chocolate. Seven Seeds’ version is made with ethically sourced vegan chocolate by Birdsnake. To make your own hot choc, pick up a pack of Birdsnake’s Ecuadorean drinking chocolate in store. Or, even simpler, a jar of their Strange Magic single-origin chocolate sauce. Just add a tablespoon to hot milk.

Market Espresso

As the name suggests, coffee’s the specialty at Market Espresso. But you can also stop in for Melbourne-made hot chocolate. Their baristas’ own blend of hot chocolate packs a dark, 70 per cent cocoa punch. Or go for the lighter, creamier 40 per cent cocoa range. The kiosk-style cafe is in L Shed at Queen Victoria Market.

Lukumades

For convenient chocolate treats, order a tray of 10 bite-sized Greek donuts from Lukumades. They have stores in West Melbourne and on Lygon Street. Top your donuts with a choice of melted choc sauces and crunchy garnishes. Nothing goes better with these golden doughy delights than a creamy hot chocolate.

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