Taste Test: 9 Brands of Commercially-Produced Chocolate Milk from Chuckie, Chocolait, Moo, and MoreOctober 8, 2017
Sweet, creamy, and with the no-fail flavor of chocolate awaiting as you stick a straw through their foil-lined holes, it’s no wonder we continue to crave chocolate milk to this day. While the real-deal stuff made with fresh dairy remains superior, the convenience and nostalgia of the UHT-treated, tetra-packed sort is one that has its place in our hearts and our stomachs. But with so many brands to choose from, which one best fits what your tastebuds prefer?
Note: we sampled all milk and as recommended on their package: chilled, shaken (ten seconds for each box, for complete uniformity), and sipped through a straw.
Chuckie is deliberately made to appeal to kids with a chocolate milk that’s on the sweet side. Though the chocolate flavor isn’t the strongest, Chuckie is more notable for its consistency: thick and viscous that it contributes a ‘round’ feel on the tongue, though also oddly oily and a tad heavy for daily drinking. A peek into the ingredients list does reveal the addition of vegetable oil—while you’ll also find it in the other brands, its presence on Chuckie stands out for coming fourth on the list (i.e., in high proportion relative to the rest of the ingredients).
Chocolait and Chuckie go way back but have a relationship with each other we can best describe as complicated: 90’s kids will remember how only Chocolait used to exist, which went under both Nestle and Magnolia brands and carried the “Chuckie” character as their mascot, until—likely due to the business separation of the two mother brands—a standalone ‘Chuckie’ brand of milk emerged that was solely under Nestle, leaving the Chocolait brand under Magnolia. We can’t recall the taste of the original to be able to compare which emerging brand comes closer, but we will say they taste totally different from each other. Chocolait is definitely on the darker end that it better quenches our need for chocolate. And with just a smidge of richness, it feels infinitely less overwhelming to drink by the carton.
Another one of the sweeter brands on the list, Moo’s flavor is less of the deep, chocolatey sort as it is more fruity and even berry-like. It oddly reminds us of Meiji’s Apolo candies, and we’d be far more sold if they’d labelled it a chocolate-strawberry flavored milk. Unlike Chuckie though, it’s just creamy enough without tasting too fatty.
Milo is more known for their chocolate malted milk powder and this ready-to-drink version is labelled as a “tonic food drink”—but we’re including it on the list as most people think of it as chocolate milk anyway (which it technically is, in the sense that you do find milk and cocoa powder in the ingredient list). The drink has a thin consistency but a creamy, sweet taste with the signature nutty umami undertone of malt beneath its light (but nevertheless present) note of cocoa. We’re dubious of its health claims, what with the 14.4 grams of sugar in a serving (do not underestimate the power of marketing), but we digress; you nevertheless get one totally tasty treat which is great in moderation.
As Milk Magic is first and foremost a milk brand, we had higher expectations for their take on chocolate milk. Unfortunately what you get is a thin beverage that tastes more watery than milky. Though not too sweet, there’s also little to no depth or bitterness aside from a general duskiness that at most suggests, but barely actually achieves, the essence of chocolate.
Knick Knacks X Blast
The Knick Knacks brand is best known for their chocolate-covered biscuits, so the addition of chocolate milk to their lineup had us intrigued. The resulting drink is plenty sweet, without much chocolatey depth, but with a richness that specifically brings powdered milk to mind. We can’t say it tastes like the biscuits themselves (a more deliberately buttery note would’ve helped achieve that)—but we will say it delivers the sweet-and-creamy profile in more natural way compared to Chuckie, with a fattiness that tastes like it actually came from milk and not oil.
Oishi Choco Chug
This relative newcomer differs from the others in that it contains finely ground oats, just like their also-relative new Oaties Milk. This makes for a slight nuttiness that adds depth to the just-bitter-enough intensity on their chocolate and just-right amount of sweetness. You also get a moderate thickness and a good amount of creaminess that makes it feel rich, but not to the point of feeling sickening to sip.
Consistency-wise, Choc-O is on the leaner side of the spectrum and can feel relatively thin, but this keeps it refreshing to drink from the first drop to the last. Moreover, the thinness hardly poses a problem as you get a clear cocoa note that’s just on the right side of dark—which is surprising considering Choc-O is also targeted towards kids as Chuckie and the others are.
One of our favorites on the list, Alaska’s milk might be the most chocolatey-tasting of the bunch. You get a good, dark dose of (natural) cocoa, plus a hint of salt that helps bring out the chocolate. There’s just enough body to support the bolder chocolate and to put it on the indulgent end (just a few sips can satisfy the need for a daily chocolate hit), but it remains deliciously drinkable. The potent flavor also makes it a good candidate for use in a DIY Mudshake.
Despite having similar ingredients, no two milks taste the same, which is great when you’re looking for options. Those in need of a good hit of chocolate would do well to go with—in decreasing degrees of darkness—Alaska, Oishi Choco Chug, Chocolait, or Choc-O, while those looking for more creaminess can go with Milo, Knick Knacks, Moo, or Chuckie. Thicker, richer sips can be had with Chuckie, Choco Chug, and Alaska, while more refreshing sips come via Choc-O and Milk Magic. Differences aside, the medley of bittersweet and creamy is one that we’ll always look back to; we’re glad satisfaction is just a sip away.