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I thought this would be an easier search but I'm hitting a wall.  We'd like to start serving some drinking chocolate at area markets and as I search for a machine to keep warm and agitate our heart-stopping concoction all I am seeing is 900$ machines and $50 ones.  Is there no middleground?  Are the billete high end machines really worth it?  How fast do the cheapies break down?

Have you gone through this row and found a path that can be shared?  It's getting cold out and we want to warm some patrons souls up.

Tags: chocolate, drinking, machine, purchase, recommendation

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We started with 2oz servings in little shot glasses but have worked our way up to 3.25oz servings in little espresso cups.  We also offer homemade marshmallows so it gives enough room in a 4oz cup.


Our machine is going to go to what you are looking for, parties, catering, etc.  We've been trailing it out at one of our indoor stable farmers markets but the general consensus is that the product is too fine to be just walking around with.  Maybe if we made it more swiss-miss like (hah).

On the first days of what looks like long cold winter in Santa Fe, I am on my second cup of thick hot chocolate from Taza. 

Just about a year later now, how is your hot chocolate dispenser working out. Did you purchase the BRAS Scirocco or the SF Cioccolata Calda. Have some questions but I will wait until I find out which one you bought....

Hi Andy,


I just picked up on this thread.  I use the same machine as advertised on Sarahs Sweet Shop, but found these are available far cheaper if you shop around.  I have 2 of them.  Many just melt chocolate in this, but we have developed a hot chocolate that has people queing in the winter, and keeps both machines busy.  How we do it is simple - if you only make a half mix (half fill it), it will heat up to around 60 degrees in about 15-20 minutes - my staff put it on as soon as they arrive.  In the 2nd machine, they put a full mix, which can take a lot lot longer - not twice as long but almost 3x as long. However, by the time the 1st machine is empty, the 2nd is ready, and we simply refill the first machine so its ready when the other machine then runs out. 


We make the mix up from cold, but add a lot of chocolate to it and heat it up to 90, then bring it back down to 60C, it means it thickens a bit better and doesn't require artificial thickening. We leave it churning away happily - it is fine for the day, but we do not keep it from day to day, we make it fresh each day.   I can't give you the recipe, but it is easily our best known product, and our top grossing revenue product in the store - which is a boutique chocolate shop.  We also only do it in takeaway, as we have no seating.   We also make this up from cold, and it has a milk base.  There is nothing better on the market I have found, and these two machines paid for themselves 100x over in the first year.


We use a 5l machine, and I picked up one of them for around $400US. New.  So shop around. 


Hope this bealted first hand example helps!



Stu - would you mind letting us know where you got a 5L machine for around $400?  I have spent quite a bit if time and the only $400 machine I found was a smaller machine.

I have a better idea:


Premake your drinking chocolate base using a scaled up recipe of 1 part liquor,  2 parts granulated sugar, and one part powdered sugar. We make 16 litres at a time, heat it to 165 degrees F and put it in a fridge to cool.  It's important to NOT bring it to a boil, but heat it high enough to kill pathogens. 


Then when a customer orders, we portion out 200ml and use a cappuccino steamer to heat it.  It only takes a few seconds, and at that time the cornstarch in the powdered sugar thickens the drink, making it very rich and creamy.


We also have one of the drink dispensers, but there are challenges with it:

1.  You have to throw out what you don't use at the end of the day (waste).

2.  For higher volumes, 5 litres doesn't take you very far, so you have to keep refilling it.

3.  It limits the types of drinking chocolates you can offer (one per machine)

4.  If you use a true cocoa liquor and nobody buys a drinking chocolate for a while, you end up with a skim of very unattractive oil (cocoa butter) on top of the drink in the machine.

5.  Multiple machines take up space

6. Most dispenser bins are made of plastic, not glass.  The plastic begins to look ratty after a being cleaned out a number of times.


By premaking a base, and using a steamer to heat individual portions, you can offer a multitude of drinking chocolates with different infused spices, because you add the spices to the drink just before you steam it in the cup.  This steeps it just as if it were a tea.


Try this recipe:

1 oz good cocoa liquor

1 oz powdered sugar

2 oz granulated sugar

1/2 tsp Indonesian Cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground Cloves

Sweetened whip cream with a touch of vanilla on top with a sprinkle of fresh ground nutmeg.


My two bits for what it's worth.




I have this hot drink dispenser and love it. I make my own chocolate sludge with spices, then dilute it, still making a thick chocolate shot which we serve in a 3 oz portion with a shot of whipped cream or handmade marshmallow. The machine warms and agitates and has a wide temp range. It does get some condensation inside but usually not until its gotten pretty low, The bowl capacity is plenty large to take to a function/festival and sell a lot of shots.

At night you can put the bowl in the fridge and rewarm the next day. You disassemble the nozzel and clean daily. We use almond milk which is dairy free and lasts longer than cows milk plus adds a nice nutty taste.

Hi Melanie, I should send you some of my Mayan hot drinking chocolate mix to see how you like it and how it works out in the machine. What is the capacity/volume that it holds?


I think the capacity is about three gallons. I'd love to check out your drinking chocolates for my store.



It's that time of year again, so people are looking more and more at hot chocolate. One of the avenues I've been exploring is using one of the insulated Zojirushi water boilers to heat milk instead of water. There are multiple temperature settings, including 175F. Pour your house-made syrup into the bottom of a cup then add hot milk. An alternative would be to create a syrup that has the milk in it and then just add hot water (you can get to boiling in these machines). This would avoid the waste problem at the end of the day that Brad mentions.

I also like the flexibility this approach offers - one for milk, one for water, one for soy milk ... 

Price is about $170 each for a 4 liter machine, discounted. Make sure to get the insulated variety as they are far less expensive to operate and can maintain temps above 140F for several hours after being unplugged.

I just happen to have one of these Zojirushi's in my garage sale pile, which I just reclaimed. I also have the Italian made BRAS hot chocolate machine, but I am perplexed at the amount of plastic on a high end machine. If I did not know the machine was made in Italy, I would think it was made in China!! Anyone out there use the BRAS.

Clay, I just read your book, very nice, thanx.  S.

Solis, if you're able, can you take a shot of the interior of your Zojirushi? I'm trying to understand how the unit heats.


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