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First Impressions: Firetree’s Volcanic Hot Chocolate

Today, we’re veering off the beaten path to explore something truly extraordinary – Firetree’s volcanic hot chocolate. This isn’t your average cup of hot chocolate; it’s an experience that promises to tantalise your taste buds in ways you’ve never imagined.

Award Winning Chocolate

Firetree Chocolate, renowned for their luxurious, British, award-winning dark chocolate, has crafted a hot chocolate blend that’s as unique as it is indulgent. Sourced from the remote volcanic islands of the South Pacific and Oceania, known as the “Ring of Fire,” this hot chocolate boasts a flavour profile that’s as rich and mysterious as its origin.

As a seasoned hot chocolate connoisseur, I’ve had my fair share of cups from around the globe, but the allure of Firetree’s volcanic blend was something I couldn’t resist. 

The idea of sipping a hot chocolate derived from beans grown in nutrient-rich, volcanic soil was intriguing, to say the least.

I treated myself to two varieties:

  • Vanuatu Malekula Island 72% Hot Chocolate
  • Philippines Mindanao Island 73% Hot Chocolate

Both are priced at £12 for 245g.

So, join me as I share my initial impressions of this exotic offering, from the unboxing to the very last sip. 

Whether you’re a hot chocolate aficionado or a curious newbie, this journey through the senses is one you won’t want to miss. 

Let’s dive in and discover if Firetree’s drinking hot chocolate truly lives up to its eruptive promise!

The Allure of Volcanic Chocolate

The world of chocolate is vast and varied, but volcanic chocolate holds a special place in the hearts of many connoisseurs. 

What exactly is volcanic chocolate, and why does it captivate the palates of those who try it? The answer lies beneath the surface – quite literally.

Exploring the Richness of Volcanic Soil in Chocolate Making

Volcanic chocolate is sourced from cacao trees that thrive in the fertile soils of volcanic regions. 

These areas, often part of the “Ring of Fire” that encircles the Pacific Ocean, are home to soils enriched by volcanic ash. This ash, a by-product of volcanic activity, is packed with minerals and nutrients, creating an environment where cacao trees flourish uniquely.

The result? Cocoa beans imbued with a complexity of flavours that are as deep and rich as the soils they come from. 

These beans yield chocolate with a distinct profile – a tapestry of tastes that can range from subtly spicy to wonderfully woody, with hints of fruits and a lingering depth that is hard to find in beans grown in more conventional settings.

Capturing the Essence of the Volcanic Regions

Firetree Chocolate’s venture into this realm is not just about crafting a luxurious product; it’s about capturing the essence of these rare, volcanic regions. 

Each sip of their hot chocolate is not just a treat for the taste buds but a journey to these remote islands. The beans’ journey from these exotic locales to your cup is a story of nature’s prowess and human craftsmanship.

As I embarked on my tasting adventure with Firetree’s volcanic hot chocolate, I was eager to explore these unique flavour notes. The anticipation of experiencing a hot chocolate that encapsulates the essence of such rare and remote terroirs was exhilarating. 

It’s this allure – the promise of a chocolate experience unlike any other – that sets volcanic chocolate apart and makes it a must-try for any chocolate enthusiast.

Unboxing the Firetree Experience

Firetree volcanic hot chocolate

The moment the Firetree hot chocolate package arrived, it was clear that this was going to be an experience far removed from the ordinary. 

The unboxing of a product, especially one as indulgent as premium hot chocolate, is the first step in a sensory journey, and Firetree certainly set the stage for something special.

The packaging of Firetree’s hot chocolate was a testament to their attention to detail and commitment to quality. Encased in a sleek, elegantly designed box, the product exuded sophistication.

The packaging, although similar in form factor to the Knoops tubes, is more beautifully packaged and a testament to their branding department.

The colours and textures on the packaging seemed to whisper tales of distant volcanic islands and exotic adventures.

Inviting Aroma of Dark Chocolate

For my first experience with Firetree, I opted for the 72% Vanuatu Malekula Island and upon opening the box, I was greeted with the rich, inviting aroma of quality dark chocolate. 

It was a heady scent that promised depth and complexity. 

The chocolate itself was held in a small plastic bag, sealed with tape, which took a little care to open for fear of ripping the bag and loss of freshness and quality.

The unboxing of Firetree’s hot chocolate set the tone for what I anticipated to be a remarkable tasting experience. 

The care and thought put into the packaging reflected the quality of what lay inside, building anticipation. 

At that moment, it was clear that Firetree understood that the enjoyment of a premium product begins well before the first taste.

Crafting the Perfect Cup

Firetree drinking chocolate

Challenges with the Velvetiser

Hotel Chocolat’s Velvetiser is pretty adept at making a very good cup of hot chocolate but my first discovery was that it couldn’t handle the Firetree chocolate.

The Velvetiser’s whisk element tried but failed to rotate and made a painful groaning sound as it strained – and failed – to turn.

I used my go-to amount of 35g of chocolate for the drink but the small chocolate pellets (for want of a better term) weren’t quite “flaky” enough for the Velvetiser.

This isn’t the first time the Velvetiser has struggled with something I’d thrown at it, so I wasn’t unduly concerned.

** Velvetiser Update **

I’ve now finished the first tube and have used it successfully with the Velvetiser on a few occasions.

The best results very definitely when using it in a pan but, if you want to use the Velvetiser, I found it best to start the Velvetiser off first and then gradually add the chocolate to the already swirling milk.

That way, the chocolate pieces didn’t get stuck in the rotating whisk and it did a much better job of blending the chocolate with the milk. There was still a small amount of chocolate stuck in the bottom of the Velvetiser, but that just gives you an excuse to get in there with a spoon (or finger) and enjoy it!

Return to the Milk Pan

I poured the milk into a saucepan, scraped what I could of the chocolate from the base of the Velvetiser and also added it to the milk pan.

There was a fair amount of chocolate left in the Velvetiser, so I warmed the chocolate through in the pan and when it was clearly blended and dissolved into the milk, returned it to the Velvetiser to incorporate all the chocolate at the base.

The delicious chocolatey aroma wafting up from the milk pan suggested I was already onto a winner but there was no way I was going to miss out on a single gram of this chocolate.

Whilst this wasn’t the smoothest operation, I got there in the end and the result – well, was it worth it…?

The First Sip: Tasting Notes

Firetree drinking chocolate

The moment had arrived to finally taste the Firetree volcanic hot chocolate, a culmination of anticipation and haphazard preparation. 

As I brought the cup to my lips, the warm aroma of the chocolate enveloped me, hinting at the depth and complexity of the flavours I was about to experience.

Initial Impressions

  • Texture: The first thing that struck me was the texture. Silky and velvety, it coated the tongue luxuriously, a testament to the fine quality of the chocolate and the Velvetiser.
  • Temperature: Perfectly warmed, it was hot enough to soothe but not scald, allowing the full range of flavours to shine through without being overshadowed by excessive heat.

Flavour Profile

  • First Notes: Upon the first sip, the rich intensity of the cocoa was immediately apparent. There was a robustness, a depth that I’d like to think spoke of the volcanic origins of the beans.
  • Complexity: As the chocolate settled on the palate, an array of flavours began to unfold. The Firetree website talks of soft lemon, cherry and white grape. Whether I got all of those, who knows – I might just need another cup or two.
  • Aftertaste: The finish was long and satisfying. Unlike many hot chocolates that leave a singular note of sweetness, Firetree’s blend left a complex tapestry of flavours that lingered, inviting contemplation and savouring.

Sweetness and Balance

  • Sweetness: The level of sweetness was perfectly judged. It enhanced the natural flavours of the chocolate without masking them, striking a harmonious balance between indulgence and the intrinsic taste of high-quality dark chocolate.
  • Bitterness: There was a hint of bitterness, characteristic of dark chocolate, but it was a refined bitterness that added to the depth of the drink rather than detracting from it.

Tasting: My Overall Experience

The first sip of Firetree’s volcanic hot chocolate was an exploration in itself. 

The complexity and richness of the chocolate, combined with the smooth texture and perfectly balanced sweetness, made for an indulgent, yet sophisticated experience. 

It was clear that this was no ordinary hot chocolate, but a carefully crafted drink that spoke of the quality of its ingredients and the skill of its makers.

The Firetree Difference: What Sets It Apart

Vanuatu Malekula Island 72% Hot Chocolate

In a world brimming with hot chocolate options, Firetree’s volcanic hot chocolate stands out as a beacon of uniqueness and quality. 

As I delved deeper into my tasting experience, it became increasingly clear what sets Firetree apart from its contemporaries. 

This isn’t just another hot chocolate; it’s a testament to the art of chocolate making and the distinctiveness of its source.

Single-Origin Cocoa

  • Unique Terroir: Firetree sources its cocoa from the volcanic soils of the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire.” This unique terroir imparts a distinct flavour profile that is hard to replicate.
  • Traceability: Each batch of chocolate can be traced back to its origin, ensuring not only quality but also authenticity in every cup.

Artisanal Craftsmanship

  • Bean-to-Cup Process: Firetree’s commitment to quality is evident in its bean-to-cup approach. They oversee every step of the process, from the careful selection of beans to the meticulous crafting of the final product.
  • Roasting and Conching: The roasting and conching processes are tailored to each batch, bringing out the nuanced flavours and ensuring a smooth texture in the hot chocolate.

Ethical and Sustainable Practices

  • Direct Trade: Firetree’s direct relationship with farmers ensures fair compensation and encourages sustainable farming practices.
  • Premium Quality: Paying above-market rates for their cocoa beans reflects Firetree’s commitment to quality and ethical sourcing.

Flavour Complexity

  • Depth and Nuance: The hot chocolate offers a symphony of flavours, from subtle fruity notes to rich, earthy undertones, making each sip a discovery.
  • Balance: Despite its complexity, there’s a harmony in the flavours, with no single note overpowering the others.

Packaging and Presentation

  • Elegant Design: The packaging reflects the premium nature of the product, enhancing the overall experience from the moment of unboxing.
  • Informative Labelling: The packaging provides not just aesthetic appeal but also valuable information about the origin and characteristics of the cocoa used.

The Overall Experience

  • More Than Just a Drink: Drinking Firetree’s hot chocolate is an experience that goes beyond mere taste. It’s about appreciating the journey of the cocoa, the skill of the chocolatiers, and the unique qualities of volcanic chocolate.
  • Educational Aspect: Firetree not only delivers a superior product but also educates its consumers about the world of fine chocolate and the importance of ethical sourcing.


In conclusion, the Firetree difference lies in its ability to blend exceptional quality, unique flavour profiles, ethical practices, and educational value into a cup of hot chocolate. 

It’s an experience that resonates not just on the palate but also with the values of the modern consumer, setting it apart in the crowded world of hot chocolate.

From the moment of unboxing to the last sip, every aspect of Firetree’s hot chocolate has been a revelation in flavour, quality, and craftsmanship.

This isn’t just a drink for cold evenings or a quick comfort fix; it’s a celebration of the art of chocolate making, a tribute to the unique terroir of the volcanic regions, and a nod to the ethical and sustainable practices that go into creating such a premium product. 

Firetree has managed to encapsulate the essence of its exotic origins and transform it into a hot chocolate that delights, surprises, and educates.

For those who seek more than just warmth from their cup, who yearn for a story and a connection to the wider world, Firetree’s volcanic hot chocolate is a perfect choice. 

It’s a reminder of how a simple pleasure can be a window to a world of complexity, ethics, and sustainability.

Ingredients & Nutritional Information

Cocoa mass, cocoa butter, unrefined sugar, emulsifier: sunflower lecithin.

Manufactured on equipment that also processes milk and nuts. Dairy Free. Suitable for vegans. Kosher certified.

Nutritional Informationper 35g serving
Energy197 (kcal)/819(kj)
Fat14.4g of which saturates 8.8g
Carbohydrates11.9g of which sugars 10.2g
Nutritional Information for Vanuatu Malekula Island 72% Hot Chocolate

Additional Resources

Hot Chocolate World author
Andrew Lowry

Hi, I’m Andrew and I like hot chocolate. Given the nature of this blog, that’s probably not surprising though.

I don’t drink coffee or tea (except a bit of green tea occasionally) so my hot drink options are limited.

I’m a champion of good-quality hot chocolate and want to see and learn more about it, so join me and let’s learn together.

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