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I have a new love in my life. It's a sleek copper kettle with gentle curves designed solely to create "Barista-grade hot chocolate" at home. It tries to tempt me to ditch my old flame of a saucepan and whisk no less.
Hotel Chocolat believes I should join the 21st Century and enjoy a hot chocolate made with minimum effort on my part. To that end, boffins at Hotel Chocolat and Velvetiser manufacturer, Duallit, figured out what made the perfect cup of hot chocolate, and developed the Velvetiser.
It's certainly a looker, but is this a kitchen gadget that'll sooner or later gather dust at the back of your cupboard or is this piece of tech something you'll use as much as your kettle or coffee maker? I headed to a Hotel Chocolat store to found out.
Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser Specifications
Here's the facts and figures in a nut shell:
- Velvetiser is available in three colours - shiny copper (my favourite), matt charcoal grey, or gloss white.
- It measures 23cm x 22½cm x 12cm, so is not too dissimilar in size to an upright kettle.
- The device has a 220ml beverage capacity, which is enough to make one cup of hot chocolate in around 2½ minutes.
- It is compatible with plant-based or regular milk, and even just water. So if your thing is skimmed, semi-skimmed or full-fat moo juice, or you prefer almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, rice milk, hazelnut milk, soy milk, or just simple filtered water, you can use them all in Velvetiser.
- Velvetiser is mains-powered (it sits on a mains-powered base much like most electric kettles nowadays) and has a 13A UK plug. It is 420–500W and 220–240V, 50Hz. It also comes with 1 year full parts and labour guarantee through Hotel Chocolat.
Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser Instructions
Let's start with how to use Hotel Chocolat's Velvetiser. Making café-grade hot chocolate at home is a doddle:
- Pop the paddle into the machine first, then fill with milk to the line marked inside, then pour in the chocolate shavings.
- Click the plastic lid on top and press the button. Wait for around 2½ minutes and the machine will automatically stop.
- Lift off the electric base and pour into your favourite cup and voila, barista-style hot chocolate in a flash.
Prefer a smaller portion? Half both the liquid and chocolate flakes for a smaller drink.
Velvetiser is a fussy little devil and works best when the instructions are followed to the letter. You might fancy yourself as a maverick adding the chocolate first, but doing so will risk ruining your hot chocolate (and potentially the machine too). Don't do it kids.
Hotel Chocolat's David Demaison also imparts some handy tips in his YouTube demonstration video:
- Pre-warm the cups if you can. This helps the hot chocolate stay warmer for longer. Insulated cups like this double-walled glass cup from Kanuka potentially might help too.
- Rinse out the Velvetiser between cups. Not only does this ensure a uniform taste amongst all cups made in the same batch, it also lowers the temperature of the Velvetiser to avoid triggering the thermal cut-out switch inside.
- Wash the Velvetiser soon after with a soft cloth and some washing up liquid. Rinse and dry the Velvetiser with a soft cloth to avoid damaging the non-stick finish. Beware not to get the base of the Velvetiser wet as this can damage the gadget - electricity and water do not mix. Don't forget to wash both the plastic lid and whisk too.
My Velvetiser Review
Customer reviews on the Hotel Chocolat website are overwhelmingly positive, with nearly 97% rating the machine four or five stars out of five. So it was about time I checked out this latest kitchen gadget.
I trekked over to the new outlet store in Bridgend for a personal Velvetiser demonstration. I arrived pondering whether many people easily part with £100 for a hot chocolate maker kit and left begrudging the fact that I had to leave such beautiful piece of art behind.
What did I love?
- It looks gorgeous. This latest kitchen gadget is a beauty and will steal the limelight from both your kettle and coffee maker. I'm in love with the copper design most of all, but if that doesn't suit your kitchen, Hotel Chocolat offer the device in a trendy and sleek matt charcoal grey or a hip gloss white. There's bound to be a colour that matches your kitchen décor.
- It's a doddle to use. I'm pretty sure my five-year old could easily make his own hot chocolate in this machine with minimal instruction. Insert the paddle (which is magnetically held in place to stop it falling out when pouring), fill with milk to the line, add the flakes, pop the lid on and press the go button. When it comes to serving, both left- and right-handed folks can rejoice as it can be poured either way. In the same way that all Apple gadgets are intuitive and easy to use, so is the Velvetiser.
- It's fast. My saucepan takes what feels like an eternity to gently heat the milk ready to add in my chocolate flakes, pebbles, or buttons. At just 2½ minutes, Velvetiser makes hot chocolate in the blink of an eye. I reckon I could make a hot chocolate, drink it, and clean the gadget ready for next time in the same space of time I would otherwise spend attempting not to burn milk to the bottom of my saucepan.
- It's very quiet. It kept near-on silent throughout the entire 2½ minutes, unlike my particularly noisy kettle and coffee maker. There was background noise during the demonstration, as you would expect in a busy shop, so I imagine it hums away at home, but quietly.
- It makes a scientifically precise hot chocolate. The Velvetiser serves hot chocolate at the optimum temperature for flavour, which is between 68°C and 70°C. Note that this is the optimum temperature for flavour and not for personal preference. I prefer mine to be much hotter - as do several like-minded individuals reviewing their purchases on the Hotel Chocolat website - but I can appreciate how that risks singeing the chocolate and tainting the flavours within.
- It can help make chocolate-based drinks. This gadget does one thing and one thing only - make hot chocolate. It's not really suited to anything else. But that hot chocolate base can be adapted. For instance, you could add a shot of espresso coffee to your cup of freshly prepared hot chocolate to make a caffè mocha. And when Summer comes knocking, Hotel Chocolat suggests making a hot chocolate with half the liquid but a full serving of chocolate flakes. Then, pour the hot chocolate over half a dozen ice cubes in a glass and add in the remaining cold liquid. Hey presto, iced hot chocolate (or should that be 'posh chocolate milkshake'?). Combine this with a shot of espresso coffee and you've got yourself an iced mocha. Tasty!
- It makes a great cup of hot chocolate. My host made a cup of 70% Classic Hot Chocolate which had a rich and robust flavour. It was smooth in taste with a playful bitterness, particularly toward the back of my throat. There was a slight dryness to the aftertaste along with that gentle bitter edge. I especially loved the luxuriously foamy texture of the milk - something I cannot recreate with a saucepan, no matter how vigorously I whisk (believe me, I've tried).
What do I hope to see in the next incarnation?
I'd like to see a handful of minor tweaks should a Second Edition be in the works. I realise there may be some technical hurdles to overcome to see these become a reality, but this is my wish list and I dare to dream big!
- Add a beep. Get distracted by your child or your phone and you'll not realise the Velvetiser has finished its work. A simple beep or other audible indication that it has finished would be a great addition. I was too busy taking photographs I didn't notice the machine had stopped, signified only by the LED light turning off and the paddle stopping spinning.
- Make Velvetiser dishwasher-safe. Cleaning the device isn't as easy as dunking it in the sink or popping it in dishwasher (don't do this - I read a review where somebody did exactly this and killed their Velvetiser instantly). I wish clean-up could be just as effortless as making the hot chocolate.
- Allow a variable temperature. I like my hot chocolate just a touch hotter. I'd like to see a means to do this without running the device several times, either by offering a setting to adjust the time it takes to make a drink, or to adjust the heating temperature itself.
- Make two cups at a time. The biggest drawback with version one is I can only make one cup at a time. It's a niggle that several others have pointed out too. In the Second Edition, I'd love to see a greater capacity, although I would hate to see this detrimentally affect the exquisite product design.
Should I buy a Velvetiser?
At just shy of £100 for the gadget, it initially felt a bit on the pricey side for a gadget that only makes one type of drink. But you'd spend £100 on a designer kettle. Many coffee makers come with price tags above £100. Therefore £100 on the latest kitchen gadget setup to create posh hot chocolate at home has to be a no-brainer, right?
Having seen the machine in action first-hand, I can better justify the cost. But I think the ultimate decision on whether you should buy a Velvetiser comes down to three questions:
- Do you have enough space on your worktop (and an available plug socket) for another kettle-sized object?
- Would you drink hot chocolate with the same frequency as you would a cup of tea or a coffee?
- Are the ongoing costs affordable?
If you have ample worktop space, this hot chocolate maker would live happily next to your kettle and coffee maker. In fact, it would steal the limelight big time.
It would be such a shame to banish this pretty looking gadget to the kitchen cupboard of doom.
Right now, I consider hot chocolate to be an indulgent treat, but the Velvetiser makes me question whether I should consider adding a cup of hot chocolate to my healthy balanced diet?
For this, Hotel Chocolat's calorie chart comes in handy.
Each to their own, but I'd probably enjoy a cup of hot chocolate using the Velvetiser far more frequently than I currently consume the beverage.
If you wished you could enjoy hot chocolate more often without the fuss of lugging out the saucepan each time, the Velvetiser is a very sensible choice. Velvetiser makes it easy to enjoy an effortless hot chocolate for breakfast, as an afternoon pick-me-up, or as an evening wind-down drink.
The price of chocolate for the Velvetiser sits around the £1.30 per portion mark, in the same ball park as other "posh" hot chocolates to make at home.
Officially, you'll need to use Hotel Chocolat's own-brand hot chocolate products in the Velvetiser. My understanding is that any good quality flaked chocolate should produce good results, although I couldn't really test this in a branch of Hotel Chocolat, could I?
Hotel Chocolat warns against using large pieces of chocolate as they risk causing hot spots, potentially damaging your new toy. So I'd definitely veer away from chocolate buttons, pebbles, cubes, and blocks, but I'd personally like to play around with other brands of flaked chocolate to see how they fare.
If in doubt, stick with Hotel Chocolat's own-brand hot chocolate products.
If, like me, you find making hot chocolate with a saucepan tedious and laborious, the Velvetiser makes the whole experience so much more effortless.
I'd love to adopt one - did you know I am a fan of the copper design? -but I'm not sure I have the worktop space to house such a gadget. And it would be criminal relegating this beauty to the kitchen gadget cupboard of doom.
If I had a slightly bigger kitchen with some worktop space to spare, I'd give a Velvetiser a home in a heartbeat. Sure, I'd wrangle with the cost, and its slight drawbacks, but I can see myself enjoying a proper cup of hot chocolate daily, and it is one of very few gadgets in this world that is an absolute pleasure to gaze at all day long.
Is it a perfect creation? Not quite yet, but it's very close. It's an excellent first attempt by Hotel Chocolat. It does one job and one job truly well. If its intention is to encourage more people to consume high quality hot chocolate as they would tea or coffee, then it has succeeded as I am told these are selling like crazy.
Where to buy the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser
The Velvetiser is a Hotel Chocolat product available to buy directly online or in store°. Buy it online for delivery to your door, or reserve and collect it instore. At the time of writing, all models (copper, charcoal, and white) were priced at £99.95 for the machine. In the main box you get the Velvetiser and two ceramic cups (worth £20). There's also the option to add on a 20 sachet starter pack from £20.
It's also available on Amazon, so if you have a Prime account°, you could be sipping on a delicious hot chocolate in just a day or two (subject to availability). At the time of writing, the copper and charcoal machines were £110 and came with the Velvetiser gadget, two ceramic cups, and 10 sachets of hot chocolate.
Buy the Velvetiser from Amazon
Amazon also stocks a range of hot chocolate sachets and drums here°.
The Velvetiser was once also available at QVC but isn't now (although the sales video is still there).
It's not available outside of the UK yet. I believe an international version for the American and European markets is in the works.
Hotel Chocolat HC01 Velvetiser Hot Chocolate Machine Copper and two cups
£75.00 + £3.20 postage
Velvetiser Hot Chocolate Refills
Velvetiser is compatible with all Hotel Chocolat's hot chocolate products°.
The Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser sachets are pre-portioned servings of chocolate shavings of either 30 grams or 35 grams, depending on the type. A box of 10 retails for £13, so £1.30 a helping. You can order them direct° from Hotel Chocolat or head on over on Amazon, where you'll find 20 sachet boxes here°. Choose a Selection Box with 20 assorted flavour sachets or choose boxes full of either 70% Classic Hot Chocolate, 85% Dark, 50% Milky Hot Chocolate, Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, or Hazelnut Hot Chocolate.
My criticism of the sachets is that you'll need to deal with a lot of packaging using them. They arrive packaged in a cardboard box that can be recycled, but I'm unsure of the recyclability of the sachets. That's why I think the larger pots of hot chocolate shards are a better option. Sure, you lose the convenience of pre-portioned servings but you can feel better about the environment. Cost-wise, it works out at around £1.30 per cup, depending on the serving size.
Again, you can order them direct° from Hotel Chocolat or nip on over to Amazon where the Classic hot chocolate drum (here°) and the Milky Hot Chocolate drum (here°) are both priced at just under a tenner. Make sure you keep an eye out for the seasonal hot chocolate flavours, especially at Christmas.
Vegans take note: The Chilli Hot Chocolate, 45% Nutmilk Hot Chocolate, Classic 70% Dark Hot Chocolate, Hazelnut Praline Hot Chocolate, Dark Mint Hot Chocolate, Ginger Hot Chocolate, and 85% Dark Hot Chocolate are all suitable for vegans when made using water or plant-based milk. Hooray!
You can buy the Velvetiser from Amazon
Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser Review
RRP: £99.95 | Hotel Chocolat | Shop now°
A stunning piece of kitchen artistry - especially in copper - that makes a delicious velvety hot chocolate in two minutes. A lovely gift or indulgent purchase, this kitchen gadget will improve your hot chocolate experience at home.
This article was originally written in early 2019 and was last updated to reflect pricing and packaging changes implemented by Hotel Chocolat.
Do you own a Velvetiser? What colour did you choose, and what's your favourite thing about your machine? Let me know in the comments below.