My younger two were out of town when these arrived, but my oldest actually asked if she could try these out. She was off from school for spring break and I didn't have an excuse as to why she couldn't try them so I said sure.
She opened the box and popped it in the Keurig; the only thing I had to do was give her a little whipped cream on the top, since that is how she insists on drinking hot chocolate. After eating all of the whipped cream off the top, I noticed her going over to the cabinet and getting a small spoonful of sugar. When I asked what she was doing, she told me the hot chocolate tasted funny. I decided I would try a cup of my own since she had already added the sugar to her cup and I wanted to get a sense of what she was referring to.
As I drank my cup, I noticed she was right; it did have a funny taste to it. However, it was not a bad taste. It was just different. So why the different taste? Well, because the hot chocolate that we usually drink is full of artificial sweeteners. Black Bear Market contains only natural ingredients, including nonfat dry milk, pure sugar cane, and stevia. These are things that my kids and I aren't used to tasting so it was a bit of a shock to our taste buds. Do I think my daughter adding sugar to it was what it needed? Absolutely not! The hot chocolate was sweet enough without added sugar, but it just goes to show you what they are used to, right?
I wouldn't count these quality cups out, to be honest. If your family is used to sugary hot cocoa with artificial sweeteners, you may have to give them a couple of mugs full to get used to the flavor over time, but if you use natural ingredients like pure sugar cane or even stevia often, you are set. I am glad that there is a more natural alternative to the usual hot cocoa, plus the kids can make it without my help. I can't promise they will ever decide they like the flavor, but they have about 22 left in the pack to try.