Nespresso coffee machines are great for making single-serve coffees in a multitude of flavors without a lot of fuss or clean-up.
Once you get used to that easy fill-push-and-brew technique, it can be hard to go back to making your hot drinks in a traditional coffee pot or kettle.
Nespresso knows they’ve got a satisfactorily simple coffee-making system that lends itself to the lifestyles of single coffee drinkers and those who like a sleek and easy system.
That’s why they make such a wide variety of coffees and teas, ensuring hot drink enthusiasts don’t have to go off-brand for a steamy cup of the good stuff.
But can Nespresso machines make hot chocolate?
Yes. Technically, Nespresso machines can make hot chocolate.
But it’s probably not your best option, and you may not be happy with the results.
Does Nespresso Make Hot Chocolate Pods?
No. Nespresso doesn’t make their own branded hot chocolate pods, which should be your first indication a Nespresso machine isn’t your best choice for brewing hot chocolate.
In fact, the one notable exception to Nespresso’s wide variety of drink pods is hot chocolate.
Though, hot chocolate is a go-to hot drink in many cultures around the world, especially during those coldest winter months, Nespresso doesn’t make a single branded hot cocoa or hot chocolate pod.
So, what’s one to do when they want their hot chocolate fix with the aid of their Nespresso machine?
Drinkers have a couple of options, and one factor to consider.
Nespresso Compatible Hot Chocolate Pods
While Nespresso doesn’t make any branded hot chocolate pods, a handful of third-party pod manufacturers do.
Podista was the first, and the most well-known, third-party pod-maker to make hot chocolate for Nespresso machines.
Podista produces Nespresso-compatible hot cocoa pods in a variety of flavors: regular chocolate, mint, caramel and hazelnut.
They also have a sugar-free option in the regular chocolate flavor.
A handful of generic third-party brands also make hot chocolate pods for Nespresso machines.
So, again, the answer is “Yes,” a Nespresso machine CAN make hot chocolate using their own normal brewing technique and off-brand pods, but Nespresso doesn’t recommend it.
Will Using Off-Brand Pods Damage My Nespresso Machine?
Before you jump at those third-party coffee pods, you may want to keep in mind why Nespresso doesn’t offer their own branded hot chocolate pods.
Designers and manufacturers at Nespresso have determined chocolate too dense for their coffee pods.
This density prevents water from moving through the pods in a timely fashion and can result in backlogged water and clogs that may cause permanent damage to the machine. (Coffee and tea are less dense than powdered chocolate).
Third-party manufacturers like Podista, however, design and test their pods to ensure they will not damage compatible machines.
Using an off-brand hot chocolate pod should be safe, but there is always more risk with off-brand pods.
Will an off-brand pod void my Nespresso warranty?
While Nespresso strongly discourages the use of off-brand ponds, off-brand pods WILL NOT void your warranty.
There was an actual lawsuit about it.
Preparing the Nespresso Machine for Hot Chocolate
Presuming you make mostly coffee or tea in your Nespresso machine, you have one other potential issue as well when it comes to brewing hot chocolate.
Your hot chocolate is likely to come out with an underlying coffee or tea flavor, picked up from the filter basket of the machine.
For some, this may be a bonus.
If you want your hot chocolate to taste like hot chocolate with no underlying flavors, though, you’ll want to run clean water through the machine (with no pods in the basket) before you add your hot chocolate pod.
If you still notice an underlying flavor, give the filter basket a good wipe.
It can hold the oils from the coffee and teas passing through.
Nespresso Hot Chocolate Pod Flavor
A lot of drinkers who complain about the taste of hot chocolate from pods complain about the same thing – the flavor is weak and watery.
This makes a lot of sense. You probably make most of your hot chocolate at home with milk and not water.
You also can’t adjust the amount of chocolate to your personal preference.
Though, some Nespresso users do use two pods to bolster the flavor of hot chocolate made in the machine.
Even with two pods, though, off-brand hot chocolate manufacturers recommend adding frothed milk to Nespresso-brewed hot chocolate to get the best flavor.
By the time you brew up two cups of cocoa and froth milk, you might find it easier to just skip the Nespresso machine altogether.
Which is what Nespresso recommends.
What Nespresso Recommends
When it comes to making hot chocolate with its available product line, Nespresso recommends forgoing the brewer and pods, and using one of its frothers instead.
To make traditional hot chocolate with a frother, simply add a few squares of chocolate (they recommend their own branded chocolate, of course, but any chocolate will do) to the milk and froth.
The chocolate will melt and blend, and your chocolatey milk will pour up hot, frothy, and ready for marshmallows.
image: Daniel Foster/Flickr, CC 2.0