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Rebecca vs. Rebekah

Point Counter-Point: Hot Chocolate vs. Boba Tea

January 28, 2022

The Delectable Drink That’ll Never Let you Down

Photo+by+Natali+Brito

Photo by Natali Brito

   A piping hot mug of sweet and creamy hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows and whipped cream, sits on the counter waiting for you to take the first sip and experience pure bliss. 

   Widely regarded as a holiday classic, hot chocolate has been the go-to warm beverage for kids and adults alike for decades. 

   But hot chocolate isn’t just a cold weather necessity. There are so many variations that can be enjoyed, the same way people enjoy variations of coffee. Just like people enjoy caramel macchiatos, mochas, and vanilla lattes, you can enjoy peppermint hot chocolate, iced chocolate, and even chai hot chocolate. 

   The infinite amount of hot chocolate combinations possible is something that commonly goes underappreciated; and unlike coffee or tea, hot chocolate can give you a sweet fix without the jittery after effects. According to Hotel Chocolat, a British cacao grower, “[the amount of caffeine] can depend on the type of hot chocolate.. Ready-to-drink, powdered hot chocolate mixes contain a very low percentage of caffeine, ranging between 0-5mg. However…a large mug of hot cocoa can serve you a surprising 25 mg.” In contrast, a cup of coffee can have anywhere from 95-150mg of caffeine, and a cup of tea has around 75mg per serving. 

   But for those who prefer starting their day with coffee and tea for their unsweetened caffeine punch, dark hot chocolate is the perfect alternative to classic hot chocolate; it’s less sweet with more caffeine than its classic counterpart.

   But despite the variation in flavors and caffeine content , you can’t go wrong with the classic. As junior Katherine Omole puts it, “I like hot chocolate with marshmallows because it adds a contrasting texture to the drink.” Marshmallows elevate the classic drink without completely changing the comforting chocolate flavor—they just add a little something to keep it interesting. 

   Even completely plain, though, it’s delicious. “Hot chocolate is great, and perfect because it tastes good and it’s so warm. It reminds me of the holidays, and it just tastes great!” expresses junior Peter Alan. With the recent cold front sweeping through South Florida, hot chocolate just might be making its post-Christmas comeback. 

   Plus, when you’ve got a craving and you need a fix, it’s way easier for you to reach to the back of your pantry and grab those somehow ever-present Swiss Miss packets. Or if you’ve got plain cocoa powder, just mixing that with sugar or some solid chocolate and hot milk can make you a cup of happiness. 

   If you want boba, though? Unless you’ve got tapioca pearls and drink mixes at home, (which can only be found at Asian stores or online) you’d have to leave your house or get it delivered. On top of racking up extra fees, you’re effectively waving goodbye to quality, as the melting ice waters down your drink on the way from the boba shop to your house. Even if you do get your hands on boba, trust me when I say there’s nothing more disappointing than a mediocre cup of boba, which is frighteningly common. A simple hot chocolate will taste exquisite, but a simple boba will leave you unsatisfied, wondering why you even spent those 5 bucks. 

   Boba milk tea and hot chocolate are two vastly different drinks that people drink for vastly different reasons, but there’s no denying the power in wrapping your cold fingers around a simple, steaming cup of hot chocolate. 

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Bubble Tea Sets the Bar for Sweet Drinks

Photo+by+Natali+Brito

Photo by Natali Brito

     The sweet deliciousness of the tea, the cool touch of its ice, and the chewiness of the tapioca all at once — ahh, the perfect sip. As the drink runs its course through your body, relief sets in and a certain new energy follows suit. Finally, you understand why drinks as good as these are called liquid refreshments.

     Any given day of mine can be made with bubble tea. From its unique flavors and textures to the refreshment you feel afterwards, it’s just not a treat to give up. Sure, the classic hot cocoa is a close runner up in the realm of sweet drinks, with its rich chocolate and warm comfort it brings. Once you try boba, however, you’ll find that it’s a game changer, and truly nothing can compare.

     For one thing, you’re bound to find a tea you like as boba encompasses an entire variety of distinct flavors to choose from — as sophomore and so-called boba enthusiast Natalie Tsung says, “one to suit every taste.” For those who like more flavorful, creamy drinks, you can discover the milk tea of your taste (like brown sugar milk tea or taro milk tea); and for those wanting a more fresh feel, you can find something in the fruit teas (like peach green tea or passion fruit tea). You’re given the chance to experiment possibility after possibility, so it never gets boring. With hot cocoa, however, the same can’t be said. The one and only flavor you always taste is said right there in its name: chocolate.

     But wait, there’s more. Not only is there a broad range of flavors of bubble tea, but there are many add-ins to personalize your drink as well. Be it regular tapioca pearls, popping boba, or jelly (which all do, indeed, also come in different flavors), you’re in for a treat. The new textures make the tea fun to drink, but rather than intensifying the sweetness, it actually balances it out. Sophomore Morgan Taylor, another fan of bubble tea, describes it perfectly: “I like the fact that you’re getting it all at once. Of course, marshmallows and whatnot are in hot chocolate, but it all melts into one big hot heap.”

     And the only time this “big hot heap” is mouthwatering is usually the wintertime for us Floridians, which is exactly the problem. Bubble tea is perfect for any time of the year: it can be a refreshing summer beverage for the warmer days, or just something you crave on a cold day. Sophomore Carlos Montesdeoca notes this also, explaining how “[he] feel[s] like hot chocolate fits Christmas vibes or cooler weather… but you can drink boba whenever.” Still, even when it’s freezing outside and something’s needed to warm your body, you can always break out a regular hot tea to heal your chills.

     So if you want a sweet drink, it’s better to raise a glass to bubble tea. It’s flexible, it’s flavorful, and it’s fun to drink. Whether it be hot or cold, fruit tea or milk tea, or tapioca pearls or jelly, you’re sure to find your own cup of tea.

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