Mugshot: A hot chocolate – in a pod machine
”Ooh. Are they hot chocolate?” asked my 13-year-old when she spotted the box of Podistas – an Australian brand of coffee and chocolate pods – that had just arrived by post.
”But do we even have a Nespresso?”
”In that box in the hallway. A test one that I haven’t got around to returning yet.”
”So what are we waiting for?”
It’s easy to make hot chocolate at home: shave some good-quality dark chocolate, and melt in warm milk. You can make it with cocoa powder, sugar and milk, or even one of the numerous mixes on the supermarket shelves, which contain sugar, cocoa powder or cocoa mass, and other flavourings.
So why you would want to make it with a coffee pod machine is baffling – unless you want the whole family to enjoy the pod-machine experience, as Podista’s publicity release puts it. Podista comes in four flavours, plus a sugar-free version with sweeteners added, and on a De Longhi machine equipped with a milk frother you can make a nice frothy hot chocolate drink.
The smooth and creamy chocolate flavour was milk-chocolatey and a little over-sweet, a bit like some Easter eggs. The mint-infusion flavour tasted mint-slice-like; the caramel infusion had a mild, sweet butterscotch flavour; and the hazelnut infusion, confusingly, reminded me more of the caramel syrup we used to pour over ice-cream.
The cocoa powder content of the pods is 16 per cent (about 2 grams), while sugar is about 70 per cent (8.4 grams). There are also flavourings and salt. That’s a similar proportion to some supermarket chocolate mixes, although Lindt is 49 per cent cocoa, and Jasper 30 per cent (and organic).
The 13-gram pods costs $5.99 for a pack of 10: close to $50 a kilogram. Hot chocolate mixes in my local IGA ranged from about $12 a kilo (Vittoria) to $57 a kilo (Lindt). Good-quality cocoa powder costs about $33 a kilo, and sugar sells for as little as $1.50 a kilo.
In the machine’s long-milk mode the chocolate flavours were a bit light; you might need to use two capsules, the second as an espresso shot top-up – which makes it a fiddly $1.20 home hot chocolate.
I tested the Podista chocolate on two teenagers – one who makes her own at home using cocoa or hot chocolate mix, and one who doesn’t normally drink it at home (”mum says it’s bad for you”).
The not-at-homer described the results as ”not bad”, and expressed surprise at how well the milk was frothed. The chocolate-drinker’s verdict: ”To tell the truth, I think just putting chocolate powder in milk is better. It tastes kind of fake.”