WHO doesn't love to snuggle under a blanket on a bitter winter's night with a lightly frothed, perfectly warm hot chocolate in hand? If that sounds like a dream to you, then let us introduce you to Hotel Chocolat's Velvetiser.
The sleek hot chocolate machine has been piquing interest since its launch in 2018 but is it worth its price tag? We've tried one for ourselves to see if it lives up to the hype.
- Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser (Copper), £110 from Amazon – buy here
A machine that promises to whip up barista-grade hot chocolate and velvety smooth lattes in two and a half minutes, the Velvetiser has been making major waves ever since it hit the market for its minimalist design, ease of use and, most importantly, for creating cloud-like hot drinks.
- Aldi is selling a Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser dupe for just £40
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- Makes excellent hot chocolate in a wide range of flavours
- Stylish, compact design
- Easy to clean
- Also makes lattes
- Only compatible with Hotel Chocolat sachets
- Makes one drink at a time
Velvetiser review: quick summary
An aesthetically-pleasing, petite gadget that looks fetching on the kitchen countertop, Hotel Chocolat's Velvetiser knows a thing or two about making great hot chocolate and it elevated our homemade versions to super status.
Made in partnership with Dualit, it's incredibly easy to use with a one-button mechanism, it pours well and it's small enough to slot into even tiny kitchens with relative ease.
Another selling point is just how easy it is to clean – for many appliances, cleaning is the most painful part, but the Velvetiser makes it a cinch.
The whisk can be removed and rinsed under the tap, plus it's dishwasher-safe and the wipe-clean, non-stick interior of the Velvetiser is also quickly rinsed and wiped clean in seconds.
It's not perfect – priced at just under £100, it's quite an investment and it's designed to only work with Hotel Chocolat's sachets, which, at £13 for a pack of 10, can soon make your hot chocolate obsession add up.
It can also only make one hot drink at a time – each drink takes two and a half minutes, which is fine if you only have a maximum of two to whip up, but any more than that and the first starts to cool.
But there's no denying just how good it is at producing rich, creamy, frankly heavenly hot chocolate in an array of flavours. And that's where the Velvetiser shines and earns every penny of its price tag and every second of its ample praise.
For anyone who wants to take their hot chocolate-making to a whole new level, Hotel Chocolat's Velvetiser is a must-buy.
- Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser (Copper), £110 from Amazon – buy here
Velvetiser review: full review
What you need to know
Launched in 2018, Hotel Chocolat's Velvetiser is available in Copper (what I received), Charcoal and White and the brand is imminently launching a Stellar White hue.
The machine is priced at £99.95 and comes with two white ceramic Pod Cups, which are the perfect size for holding the 220ml single serving size that the Velvetiser makes.
The machine makes hot chocolate using the brand's high-end chocolate flakes, which come in 35g single-serve sachets in a range of flavours.
A fantastic accessory for any chocaholic's kitchen, the Velvetiser also makes a pretty stellar gift.
First impressions and unboxing
The Velvetiser comes well packaged in a cardboard box and unveiling the shiny Copper gadget was pretty exciting.
It's petite – smaller than my average-sized kettle – and the design is sleek and minimalist, with only an 'on' button, a black Hotel Chocolat badge and protruding handle.
The overall impression on the countertop is good; the shiny rose gold hue looks modern and its compact size means it doesn't overwhelm the space.
Setting up the Velvetiser is as easy as plugging it in.
How does the Velvetiser work?
Let me preface this by saying I've never owned a coffee machine before – our basic kettle is as sophisticated as it gets when it comes to drinking machines. I was slightly nervous to try something more elaborate than flicking the switch on a kettle, but how wrong I was.
To make a hot chocolate, you pour in your chosen milk up to the maximum fill line, add the contents of a sachet on top of the milk, put the lid back on, press the start button and wait. When the on button stops lighting up your drink is ready. It really is that simple.
The machine takes two and a half minutes to make your drink and it works by heating, whisking and blending the milk and chocolate flakes together.
The Velvetiser has a very subtle pouring spout at both sides of the exterior for easy pouring and the liquid comes out at the perfect drinking temperature. The brand recommends swilling out your cup with boiling water if you like your hot drinks to be just that little bit hotter.
How does Velvetiser hot chocolate taste?
Really, really good. I've tried a lot of hot chocolate from various high-end cafes, hotels and hipster mobile vans in my time, but the hot chocolate from the Velvetiser is up there with the best of them. And the really marvellous bit – I created it in my own kitchen.
Each flavour offers something different (more on that later), but Hotel Chocolat delivers the classics really well. Its Milky 50 per cent is a best-seller and it's easy to see why – I made it with semi-skimmed milk and it easily beat any at-home hot chocolate I'd ever made. Created with a thin layer of bubbly froth at the top, the flavour was creamy, sweet, silky and the perfect level of chocolatey.
Others, like the Classic 70 per cent and Dark 85 per cent were just as impressive, offering a rich and intense flavour that packed a mighty chocolate punch.
I only tasted the Velvetiser's hot chocolate and not the lattes it can whip up, so I can't comment on them, but I've already added the coffee sachets to my rapidly-expanding shopping basket on Hotel Chocolat's website.
How many flavours are there?
There are currently 15 hot chocolate flavours on the Hotel Chocolat website that include: salted caramel, vanilla white, hazulnut praline, orange, classic 70 per cent, 80 per cent dark, ginger, dark with mint, milky 50 per cent, black forest gateau, peanut butter, salted caramel and clementine, 45 per cent nutmilk, chilli dark and 100 per cent dark.
There are four different flavours of latte, which are: plain latte, caramel, hazelnut and chocolate.
I received an Everything Hot Chocolate Sachet Selection, which retails at £14, and includes 10 different 35g single-serve flavour sachets. It's a great pack to include if you're buying the Velvetiser as a gift as it gives drinkers a taster of the most popular flavours.
I'm generally a hot chocolate purist and I wasn't overly interested in many of the flavours deviating from the classics, but my taste buds were won over by many of the flavours.
While the Milky 50 per cent and Classic 70 per cent remain my personal favourites, I enjoyed the tingle of the salted caramel, the fresh edge of the mint and the zesty orange.
The only flavour I didn't instantly love was vanilla white as it was intensely sweet, but it's all a matter of individual taste – if you're a white chocolate obsessive, this is it in liquid form.
Can you use other hot chocolate in the Velvetiser?
No, the Velvetiser is only compatible with the brand's own chocolate flake sachets. This is one of the downsides to the Velvetiser as the brand's chocolate sachets are priced at £13 for 10, making one hot chocolate come in at £1.30.
Some shoppers have tried experimenting with other brands of hot chocolate, but Hotel Chocolat warns that the machine is engineered to only work with the size and weight of its own flakes and larger chocolate can break and burn out the motor.
Is the Velvetiser easy to clean?
It's very simple to clean. After use, the instructions tell you to add water and a dash of washing up liquid, then turn on the Velvetiser and let it work.
We did this every time and the interior was left squeaky clean every time. If any residue does remain, the non-stick interior is quick to wipe and the removable whisk is dishwasher-safe.
The cleaning of the Velvetiser is truly one of the joys of it – it's quick and straightforward and ready to go again in no time.
Does it work with plant-based milk?
Yes, you can use any type of milk substitute in the Velvetiser. I only tested it with semi-skimmed milk, so can't comment on the taste or results with plant-based milk, but many shoppers report its excellent results with all dairy substitutes.
Hotel Chocolat has released a vegan-friendly 45 per cent nut milk hot chocolate sachet, which is a creamier, lighter option for vegans, who can also indulge in the brand's 100 per cent dark hot chocolate.
Velvetiser review: the verdict
It was love at first sight when I saw the shiny silhouette of the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser and my love for it only grew after sampling its sumptuous, rich, even hot chocolate.
It's easy to use, amazingly simple to clean and whips up some of the best hot chocolate we've tried in under three minutes.
Improvements can be made – the price is undeniably steep and it only produces one cup at a time. And if we could use it with other hot chocolate brands it would be near-perfect.
But for chocaholics on a lifetime-long quest for a regular hot chocolate high, the Velvetiser, while an investment, is a no-brainer.
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