Hot chocolate brand Knoops has announced it will open in Manchester for the first time in 2023. The cafe will move into 68 Cross Street opposite Diesel, the site long since vacated by salad slingers Chop’d.
The luxury hot drinks chain has said it has ambitions to have a branch on every high street bringing quality hot chocolate to the masses in the same way that Starbucks made takeaway coffee a trend back in the day. It’s hot chocolate – but probably not as you know it.
Rather than the cheap, sweet powder you might associate with some hot chocolate, Knoops uses buttons or flakes of real chocolate with varying cocoa percentages from around the world.
There are a staggering 20 different chocolate types on the menu to choose from. They start at the milder end with a couple of white chocolates and milkier ones like a 39% single origin from Ecuador with notes of nougat, vanilla and almonds. Midway options include a 64% single origin from Peru with Xmassy dried fruit notes. The choices go all the way up to intense flavours like a floral and peppery 85% single origin from Colombia. There’s even a sugar-free 100% single origin from the Solomon Isles if you like your cocoa completely uncut.
If single origin chocolate isn’t enough to pique your interest. The bells and whistle continue. You can add all kinds of flavours to your hot chocolate, think spices like turmeric, pink peppercorns or chilli, herbs like rosemary, mint or lavender, and even citrus zest or Maldon salt.
Because much of the chocolate used is dark chocolate without milk, there are plenty of options for plant based diets. Over half their menu is suitable for vegans and they offer a wide choice of plant based milks including oat, almond, soya, coconut and hazelnut.
There are also iced chocolate, milkshakes, coffee, tea and the usual kinds of baked goods you’d find in a coffee shop on the menu.
Founder Jens Knoop was born in rural Germany and opened his first hot chocolate shop in Rye, Surrey in 2013. The brand has blossomed since and already has several branches in London and the South. The plan is to open around 100 more and Manchester is the obvious place to start building the brand up North.
Knoop says of the brand, “My obsession with chocolate stems from my childhood in Germany. Whenever I had been good, my grandmother would reward me with a piece of chocolate. It was so special and magical, and made me fall in love with chocolate”
The Cross Street venue will be the first Knoops north of London.