10 Years At Hotel Chocolat Watford
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What’s your favourite drink?
…we asked the barista at one of our London cafés one chilly winter afternoon at the end of last year. While we stamped the warmth back into our feet and blew on our hands, barista Adam whipped up something short and frothy and unfamiliar: our first Salted Caramel Flat White.
As soon as we tasted it, we knew we were in trouble.
We were going to have to get something like this on the menu. And fast.
Let the experiments begin
Just a couple of weeks later in a room above our London restaurant, Rabot 1745, our resident culinary genius David got to work. Over the coming weeks we experimented with sugar – no thanks! – syrups – too fake! – full fat milk – greasy! – size – long or short? – and then, one day, something changed…
“You’d think it’d be too sweet, but it isn’t…”
“It’s so creamy…”
“The roasted coffee coming through it’s sort of nutty…”
We didn’t know it at the time, but it was our first Coffee Chocolat Latte: the White Chocolate option, with real grated flakes of our chocolate, a double shot of espresso and a comforting foamed feel.
All the other flavours faded away. This was what we’d been looking for. But – more…
Let’s get serious
Now we had the basic idea, it was time to perfect it. Coffee and chocolate made sense together: cocoa and coffee trees grow together on our estate and in similar regions around the world, they’re fermented and dried similarly and, when it comes to enjoyment, we knew both were something people would stop and take their time over. Besides, chocolate and coffee had been paired before: the caffé mocha had been around for years.
“This needs to be more than a mocha,”
Our co-founder Angus told us, and he was right: to us, ‘mocha’ said cheap chocolate and over-roasted coffee.
“It’s time to reinvent the coffee-chocolate combination, give the ingredients prominence. It needs to be a Coffee Chocolat Latte.”
Premium cacao wasn’t a problem: it’s what we do. The coffee to complement it? Arabica, because it’s neither too sweet nor too acidic. But not burnt, as it so often is in an effort to keep the flavours consistent: instead, carefully roasted to bring out those richly nutty, chocolatey notes.
“Pair it with our 70% dark and you get a mellow chocolate drink with a hit of strength from the coffee,”
David explained as he prepared our first taste.
“Add it to our 100% and it’s a different story: two pronounced flavours – like the 70% with boosters! If you like espressos or macchiatos, you’ll love this.”
As usual, he knew what he was talking about. The coffee enhanced not only our white, 70% and 100%, but our Salted Caramel and Hazelnut chocolates, and even one made with a warming blend of spices, Mayan-style. Add a splash of skimmed milk –
“It doesn’t fight the flavours of the coffee and chocolate, or leave a film like full-fat”
– and there they were, finally: our fully-fledged Coffee Chocolat Lattes.
A cool refuel
It’s been less than six months since that first Salted Caramel Flat White, and even that’s too long for us – which is why we’re bringing our Coffee Chocolat Lattes to your nearest café straight away.
So whether you’re in need of something to wake you up on the way to work or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, come in out of the cold and choose from Classic Chocolate (70%), 100% Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Hazelnut, Spiced or – where it all began – the White Chocolate Coffee Latte – and taste the difference that the best, natural ingredients make.
Want to know more about our flavours first? Check out our Coffee Chocolat Latte tasting notes
Got an idea for your own delectable cocoa drink? Enter our Create-a-Chocolat Competition