Winter seems like it’s here to stay for a while, and we’re going to need a little something sweet to keep us warm! If you’ve had your fill of coffee today or are simply looking for an afternoon dessert, try a cocoa concoction from our list of local favorites.
Though many of the festive peppermint choices are gone, there are still plenty of creamy and chocolaty drinks on hand. Enjoy!
Located on East Liberty, Lab is a coffee and tea shop serving a mixed menu of coffeehouse classics and unique mix of pastries, frozen yogurt and beer. While they might be known for their hipster vibe and delicious house blends, they also have a great hot cocoa, perfect for those looking for something sweet and caffeine-free. And, if you’re on the hunt for some dairy-free cocoa, they also have a wide variety of dairy-free milks that you can choose to use in your drink instead. Pair it with one of their delicious pastries and you’re in for a tasty winter treat!
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Sweetwaters is well-known throughout Michigan and Ohio (and even as far as Walnut Creek, California!), but the humble coffeehouse began right here in Ann Arbor. Alumni of the University of Michigan, Wei and Lisa Bee, founded the first Sweetwaters in 1993 in downtown A2. Now you can grab a mug of their classic, soul-warming hot chocolate Downtown, in Kerrytown, on the UM campus, at Westgate Library, in Canton and in Ypsi.
The Michigan Creamery story began back in 2007 with a charming storefront in Dexter. Today, they operate one shop right here in Ann Arbor. Everything from the ice cream and chocolates all the way down to the ingredients—is locally produced in Michigan! In addition to delicious frozen treats, Michigan Creamery also makes some of the best hot drinks in town, including coffee, chai lattes and hot chocolate. Visit them online or by calling (734) 662-1700 to place your order in advance and they’ll have it ready for you when you stop by!
Locals adore this Ann Arbor staple—and it’s easy to see (and taste!) why. Serving brunch for over 30 years, the Afternoon Delight breakfast menu includes pan-grilled pancakes, homemade bran muffins, customized three-egg omelets, fresh poached salmon on the weekends and more. One of our favorite Afternoon Delight offerings is their Café Mocha Delight: hot chocolate mixed with a cappuccino and topped with whipped cream! If you’re looking for a caffeine-free alternative, they also offer their yummy hot chocolate all by itself.
The deeply local Roos Roast is the headquarters for freshly roasted coffee and delicious drinks in Ann Arbor. Their hot chocolate is a local favorite, featuring rich chocolate and plenty of whipped cream. In the summer, don’t miss their Hot Chocolate Cold Brew, a highly caffeinated chocolate milk for adults! They’ve been voted the best in Washtenaw Country and the best in Southeast Michigan, so we suggest stopping by to experience Roos for yourself.
Located inside Ann Arbor’s historic Nickels Arcade, Comet Coffee has been serving delicious beverages since 2009. Their menu is unbeatable, offering everything from smooth coffees, cold brew, chai lattes, milk steamers, and rich hot chocolate! Pair it with one of their pastry offerings, which come straight from another local business: The Pastry Peddler.
From the same team behind MANI Osteria and Mikette Bistro & Bar, Isalita is our hometown’s very own cantina. The menu is inspired by the street stall food found in open-air markets throughout Mexico and the hospitality is designed in true “mi casa es su casa” spirit. Their Mexican Hot Chocolate is one of our favorite drinks in town, offering a beautifully sweet, slightly spicy taste that you won’t find anywhere else in town! You can pick it up curbside along with pantry staples from Mani Osteria, like pizza dough, handmade pasta, dips, market meals and more.
1511 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor
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When there isn’t a pandemic, The Common Cup is a gathering place for students, community members and visitors alike. In addition to designing a warm, cozy space for local art and great coffee, The Common Cup is a non-profit coffeehouse run through University Lutheran Chapel. Don’t miss their hot chocolate when you visit, made using local diary from Michigan’s own Guernsey Farms!
Born from a love of French culture, Le Bon Macaron is a local, family business that offers two of the most charming cafés in Michigan: one in Grand Rapids and one in downtown Ann Arbor. On the menu, you’ll find hot chocolate along with French press coffee and espresso from Rowster Coffee, fresh scones made daily, ice cream sundaes with Cone Appetit craft ice cream, French and Italian sodas made with handcrafted fruit puree and, of course, the macarons that have made them famous.
Located in the heart of Dixboro, MoonWinks Café is a warm, homey family-owned café serving gourmet breakfast and lunch along with specialty coffee, tea and sweets. Because they love the Ann Arbor community so much, they’ve taken to featuring items from other local businesses like coffee from Hyperion Coffee, bagels from Barry Bagles, scones from Wallace Scones and rotating flavors of Ashby’s Ice Cream. When you visit, don’t miss their rich and creamy hot chocolate, made with steamed milk and topped with whipped cream! You can call (734) 994-5151 to order ahead and avoid contact with other people.
Zingerman’s Coffee Co. is a wholesale roaster supplying cafes, restaurants and businesses all over the region, but they also offer their own coffees at their coffeehouse on Plaza Drive! There you can get the best of Zingerman’s, like their coffee, bread, tea, candy and more. While we love their fresh coffee, we have a special place in our hearts for their hot chocolate, made with Callebaut chocolate drops, steamed Calder Dairy milk, and real whipped cream.
Would you like a marshmallow with that?
Where is your favorite spot in A2 to grab a hot chocolate or hot cocoa? Let us know in the comments below!