I hate coffee, like tea, but I love my cocoa. My family knows to not try to have a coherent conversation with me before I have had my morning cup. Over the years I have had a lot of different versions of this classic.
I am finding that either my palate has become fussier, or the quality of cocoa powders, in general, has diminished. And I made a HUGE mistake last fall. I found myself in the Said Chocolate shop in Rome. An old family run establishment, their proprietary chocolates and cocoa are perfectly suited to my palate. They are ridiculously expensive, but I splurged anyway. And now I am paying for it, because brands that suited me fine prior to developing a taste for Said now seem wan and tired in comparison. I would love to find a brand that is more available than Said (not that I wouldn't love to use my cocoa habit as an excuse to dash over to Rome of course!) and not so crazy expensive. 25e for 8oz of cocoa is mad.
I am not ashamed to say I keep old school Hershey's cocoa powder on the shelf. I use it in baking but I also make hot cocoa out of it as well. The flavour has become less satisfying recently and I find a lot of filtrate in the bottom of the cup, even when I have sufficient sugar in the mix to keep it in suspension. Increased hull debris?
I do not like the Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder, it has an off flavour that bothers me. In general I think Dutching flattens the flavour of most cocoas. For the longest time the Spouse thought because I like the Special Dark chocolate (for a grocery store brand) that I like the Special Dark cocoa, but I don't.
Callebaut and Valhrona suffers from this in my opinion, although not as badly as the Special Dark.
Even though I am a San Francisco native I do not generally use Ghirardelli's any more. Back in the day it was a pretty good product but now, not so much. It just lacks, for me, a depth of flavour.
Droste, TJ's, Guittard, Penzy's? Mexican versions like Taza?
What brands do you like?
Keep in mind that I am only polling here for hot cocoa, not for baking which is a different ball of wax entirely!