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There's a question with answers detailing the difference between pure cocoa powder and chocolate; it boils down to the 'raw' cocoa powder being a very ungrateful, bitter substance difficult to use without making the results taste terrible. It takes quite a bit of processing to be turned into chocolate; the difference is obvious.

Still, there are nice friendly and tasty 'instant' cocoa granulates that make quite delicious drinks very easily, "Just add hot milk".

enter image description here

And then there's instant drinking chocolate, "Just add hot milk".

enter image description here

What's the difference between the two? Is it just naming/branding technicality or are they two different drinks?

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They are technically different... but it seems that the producers do not always follow the correct terminology in an attempt to sound fancy.

Instant Cocoa is made with cocoa powder, as you stated in your question. It's made from leftovers from the chocolate making process and contains little cocoa butter. Hot beverages made with it are called "Hot Cocoa".

Drinking Chocolate is actually made with actual chocolate, either in disks, pellets or shavings. This means it contains lots of the rich, buttery cocoa butter. Adding it to hot milk causes the chocolate to melt and turn into the delicious beverage "Hot Chocolate".

The terms above are as found on several sites, including the one below... That being said, the "Drinking Chocolate" pictured above, Divine Drinking Chocolate, is not actually drinking chocolate. It is a sweetened cocoa powder mixture. Divine Site

So, when you're looking for a true drinking chocolate be sure to read the ingredients label.

More in-depth info on the source link.

Source: The Nibble

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I have a different observation from Catija. I've seen tons of "Hot chocolate" drinks which are indeed just mixtures of precooked cocoa powder, sugar and starch.

You have to read the ingredients to know what you have in front of you. Maybe there are jurisdictions where the name is preserved for real chocolate, but if this is not the case here in the EU, known for overly strict labeling, I doubt you will find such a protection elsewhere.

  • The question isn't about "hot chocolate" it's about "Drinking Chocolate". You are correct that many people conflate the terms "hot cocoa" and "hot chocolate" but I don't think that anyone would sell an instant cocoa powder drink under the name "Drinking Chocolate", plus, other than rebutting my answer, I don't see your answer as actually being an answer. – Catija Jan 29 '15 at 23:41
  • Though, to be completely correct, the image above, should actually be classified as a cocoa powder drink, so I guess people do incorrectly label things. So... Buyer be aware. Check the labels. – Catija Jan 29 '15 at 23:43
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    @Catija They certainly do sell instant cocoa as "drinking chocolate". I've had it often enough. La Festa is a brand which instantly springs to mind, it does have a good taste, but it's mostly dextrose and fat free cocoa powder, and is sold everywhere as "drinking chocolate". – rumtscho Jan 30 '15 at 9:16

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