I read on the back of the unsweetened Hershey's cocoa powder box that I should first heat milk in a microwave and then pour into another cup with the powder, salt and sugar. This tasted much better than when I directly mixed in the powder with milk and heated.

What exactly is causing the taste difference? i.e: are there any scientific explanations for the above?

  • Was there a difference in texture between your results with the two methods? Did you manage to get the hot chocolate fully mixed with each method, or did one method leave you with little floating clumps of cocoa?
    – csk
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 16:30
  • I'll have to redo the experiment to check for clumps, but I am pretty sure the heating milk then pouring makes the whole drink a bit more 'thicker'
    – user84641
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 16:32
  • Other products call for the opposite. I don't check the packets but follow the same instructions from one I used to buy so make a paste with cold milk, add more milk to make up the drink, and microwave, stirring part way through (as otherwise the top would boil before the bottom got hot, in my microwave). But as to the actual question of "why? " I don't know. What's in the Hershey powder if you have to add sugar? Just cocoa? And salt? Is that just a personal thing?
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 17:51
  • I have never heard of unsweetened hot chocolate powder, and I can't find any such product of the Hershey's brand on the Internet. Do you mean that you are using Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder?
    – rumtscho
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 17:58
  • Oh yes @rumtscho
    – user84641
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


You were using real cocoa powder, not an instant drink. You probably cooked it in the microwave, or at least part of it. When milk over the powder, it was certainly not hot enough to cook the powder. So beyond any lumps that might have come together (you don't describe if you took measures against it), there is certainly a taste difference between cooked and uncooked cocoa.

  • Huh I never knew there was a 'cookedness' to cocoa , I always thought it just dissolved
    – user84641
    Commented Apr 8, 2021 at 17:35
  • Cocoa doesn't dissolve in water (or milk) at all. What cooks is the starch in the cocoa, to be more precise.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Apr 8, 2021 at 17:59

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